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TCU students next to a pile of of trash they picked up in one of their community-based events in Spain

Annelyse Macias, a nutrition major, recently visited Sevilla, Spain with Harris College as part of our summer study abroad course, “Global Perspectives on Health in Spain.” Learn in her own words how the exploration of food preparation and produce availability enhanced her learning and growth at TCU.

I chose Sevilla because was interested in the differences in food quality between the U.S. and Spain. I was curious to learn how its method of preparing food and the availability of produce throughout the year affects meals.

Most days, I’d wake up around 7:30 a.m. then meet my classmates in the lobby to go over the day’s itinerary. We’d then travel in a group to our destination by walking or public transportation.

Our activities were split between food and community-based events. One day we picked up trash along a highway as we learned the negative effects pollution has on the Andalucía region, a large autonomous region of hills, rivers and farmland bordering Spain’s southern coast.

We also visited local markets to take inventory of the various produce available. In Spain, in particular, food availability is based on the season, each one providing a different variety of food. These foods are produced in local farms and are fresh on day-to-day basis, unlike most food in the states, which is delivered via semi-trucks from different parts of the country.

During our downtime, we explored the cultural and social aspects of the city. Some of us even immersed ourselves ad took part in the “siesta,” a midday nap usually taking place between 3-5 p.m., if our schedule allowed it.

For dinner, we’d dress up, try a new restaurant each day and order something we never imagined ourselves eating. Dinner was usually at 9 p.m. and lasted about two or three hours as we ate and made conversation. Some days, we would “Tapas hop.” Tapas is toasted bread with toppings of your choosing. We’d go to multiple Tapas restaurants to try different kinds.

My favorite activity was the cooking class! I enjoyed learning the way of Spanish cuisine and about the key ingredients that contribute to their delicious food.

Experiencing a wildly different culture and living their way of life opened my perspective tremendously. This program managed to make strangers into lifelong friends with unforgettable memories. My summer study abroad was an experience of a lifetime.

students giving a presentation on transportation
students displaying the food they cooked
two young men cooking chicken on a large comal
Students are on bikes taking pictures of the city