FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Sevilla’s weather goes through phases like any other place. In the winter, it’s typically about 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit with the occasional cold days reaching the low 40s. In the spring, it warms up to the 70s and 80s and it does rain. The summer heat is usually in the 100s and can be extreme, so most people take precautions not to spend much time in the sun during the worst of the heat. But in the fall, it’ll cool back down to the 70s before winter comes back again.
We eat very well in Spain. Spanish people eat healthily following a traditional Mediterranean diet. The most common components of this type of diet are: bread, legumes, cereals, rice, a lot of fruit and vegetables, cheese, meat and plenty of fish. It is a healthy diet, which uses olive oil as the basic fat. Fried food and stews are common. It is not hot or spicy at all. The food is mild. Spain, after Japon, is the oldest society in the world. One of the best cultural experiences is to get to know Spanish food and to be willing to try new things.
Yes, it is perfectly fine to drink without any problem.
The Spanish meal times are very unique. Lunch is typically eaten here between 2:00-3:30. Dinner is quite late, at around 9:00-10:00. Some people choose to have a snack between the meals as well. Keep in mind that traditional/local restaurants (the ones that are not in touristic areas) will probably not start dinner service until around 8 at the earliest.
Spain uses euros. It’s good to have an idea of the exchange rate before you come.
It is recommended to have some Euros on hand before leaving.
You can take money out from ATMs. The best method is to take chunks out in decently big amounts (usually around 100-200 euros at a time) as needed during your program since you’ll be charged the commission fee every time you take money out.
Most Spaniards dress well. Sweatpants, sweatshirts and yoga pants are not very commonly worn. Most people tend to dress casual on a daily basis.
Sevillians are typically very friendly. Most Spaniards appreciate when students try to speak in Spanish and are very willing to help you out.
Most of the time, walking is the easiest way to get around the city. Another option is the public bike system and there are numerous bike lanes. Sevilla does have a public bus system, one metro line and a tram system in the center of the city. Public transportation costs are relatively cheap. Taxi stands can be found throughout the city and are reasonably priced. Other options like Cabbify and Uber are good as well, especially late at night when the public transportation system has stopped running.
In Spain there are many small stores of all kinds, clothing, or specialized in other things such as gifts, hardware, pharmacies, bookstores, beauty products, glasses, etc. There are also department stores where they sell everything, or shopping centers full of a variety of small stores. Local supermarkets are usually for food or cleaning products, so you will have to find the stores that meet your shopping needs. If you stay with a family, they will tell you where to find what you want.
Sevilla is a very safe city. Most people feel comfortable walking around at night. There is a very low crime rate, and most people don’t have problems. However, there is a concern for pick-pocketers. As long as you are aware of your surroundings and you don’t leave your belongings unattended, you shouldn’t have any problems here.
Wherever possible, it is better to bring only essential items. The electrical power in Spain is 220 Volts and it would be necessary to bring an adapter if you come from the United States, for example. The plugs and sockets are round, as in the rest of Europe.
Yes. Especially if you are staying for more than a month. In the Spanish Institute office there are computers that you can use, they are new and up-to-date. However, your computer will be very useful in your studies or internships because you will have it with you at your home in Spain, or you can take it to your classes.
All housing options include Wifi. There are also places in Sevilla with free Wi-Fi and you will be given information about this upon your arrival.
If you are from a country in the European Union it will be like being at home. If you are from a non-EU country it is very expensive to use your mobile abroad since all calls will be international. Most people in Sevilla use Whatsapp since it is a free application.
When travelling, it’s incredibly useful to have some sort of external battery to charge your phone.
WHAT TO PACK
It’s best to pack light. Everyone ends up buying some things when they’re here, and you don’t want to have to pay for an overweight suitcase.
Here are some useful things to bring with you:
- However long you are coming for, the first thing we would like to tell you is to travel light.
- The houses in Spain do not have large rooms for you to keep too many things and you will probably get more things during the stay. Traveling with a lot of luggage is not recommended nowadays and we would strongly advise you against it.
- Warm socks/slippers: if you’re going to be here in the winter, bring some socks or slippers to wear around the house. Every host mom will swear up and down that you’ll catch a cold if you walk around barefoot, and honestly the floors can be cold, so definitely pack some cozy footwear. In Spanish houses it is not the norm to walk around barefoot, as the floors are not wooden or carpeted.
- Winter jacket: To anyone from the north, Sevilla is not cold. However, if you have plans to travel, keep in mind that it will be colder in other places and it is very nice to have a warm coat.
- Umbrella: If you’ve got a small umbrella, bring it. Rain in Sevilla can be pretty fickle.
- Comfy shoes (preferably waterproof): I’ve already mentioned the walking and the rain, but it’s worth mentioning that since you will walk to a lot of places and you need shoes that won’t give you blisters and that will hold up against the rain. And if you go to the Cathedral (highly recommended) the climb to the tower with the best view of the city requires your best walking shoes.
- If you come when it is hot you must bring a bathing suit.
- You should bring one or two items which are dressier for special occasions, no need for more than that.
- In spring and autumn you will need light sweaters and in winter a winter coat or jacket and thick sweaters.
The most important thing is that you shouldn’t bring anything of great value, for example jewelry, expensive watches or anything which may be of sentimental value to you. Beach towels are cheap so it might be worthwhile buying one once you get to Spain, rather than bringing one with you from your country. Regarding personal hygiene products, do not bring large quantities of anything unless it is special to you. You can buy whatever you need in Spain and so avoid carrying heavy products, which take up room in the suitcase.
If you have the program's medical insurance, you can go to a private hospital in Sevilla, you will be covered immediately without having to pay anything. If you have other insurance, the services will depend of your policy.
The program has medical insurance as well as repatriation insurance. The insurance company has arranged the health care to be with the best private hospitals in Spain. Medicine is not covered in the health insurance plan.
The Spanish medical system is quite advanced and you will probably be able to find the specific medicine you need. However, we advise you to bring all the medicine you will need with you from your country to avoid any problems because there could be a difference in the components of the medication in different countries.
If you use glasses you should bring a spare pair.
Spain is traditionally a Catholic country and many religious festivals and traditions are still celebrated. However Spain has evolved a lot over the last 30 years, it has opened up and its population has grown and become more diverse. Spanish people are open and flexible and are used to living with people of different religions. We can provide you with information if you are looking for a place of worship for other religions as well.