(Please be aware as this blog post may contain pictures that may cause distress)
Hola chicos y chicas,
Nonetheless, I came here to tell you about one of the most exciting weeks in Seville. Semana Santa (Holy week). Seville is known for its celebration of the Semana Santa because of the breath-taking processions and the streets filled with tourists and locals that came to see their “Virgen”. This is how it works, every church has its virgin and the older churches also have a brotherhood. So they come out and walk around Seville for hours with a statue of their virgin and one from Jesus’ path to crucifixion. They also have the ‘nazarenos’ which can be mistaken by Ku Klux Klan because of their outfits, however their outfits have a different meaning, like they are different (so calm down). In the past they used to wear the overall and the hats to hide their identity as they were ashamed of their sins and they did not want to be labelled as penitents. If you look closer you can see that the outfits are different.
(Please don’t ask me the same thing that my brother asked me, “Ana, OMG no one was arrested?”)
As you can see it is part of their tradition as even young children take part and get dressed as nazarenos. Some of them walk with no shoes or socks for long hours. They do that as a sign of respect and love for their church. I overheard a girl, tell her friend that she was there with her family supporting her sister that joined the procession at 11:30 am and will finish at 04:00 am. (That is love and commitment).
I know it can be scary and it can be misunderstood if you are not aware of the culture. Therefore, you should read about your host country’s culture before you move and have an open mind when you get there. Obviously, you are not going to find a culture similar to the British culture, it may be the total opposite.
You can find more pictures of the Semana Santa below, I only have pictures of the second day because I ran away on Wednesday. As you can imagine, there are a lot of people in the streets during the processions which made my life really difficult.
This are the men that carry the Virgen throughout the procession. They rehearse throughout the year.
You can see them under the Virgen when they stopped for a couple of seconds. They have a special sign that they use when they are about to get up.
Every procession had two bands. One in the front and one in the back.
Hola chicos y chicas,
I never thought I would say this but I miss the UK and the British food and I only realised it when I went to Gibraltar two weekends ago. Gibraltar is small but gorgeous, everyone speaks English (with a British accent, OMG) and they have British food like English breakfast, fish and chips, roast dinners, you name it. Some of you might be asking yourselves where is Gibraltar and why does it remind me of the UK, well if you don’t know google it because I have to talk to you about other things (btw I’m not judging because I did not know that Gibraltar existed until I moved to Seville). Before getting to Gibraltar, me and the girls went on a road trip to Ronda and Algeciras, followed by Gibraltar and Huelva. Our road trip was memorable and dramatic and it made me think about my life and what I want to do with it.
I know this may sound deep, however I think that is one of the things you should do during your placement. You should think about what you want to do in your future. You take a year out so that you can gain more experience and develop your skills on the desired field. For example, what if you always wanted to be a marketing director and you get a marketing assistant role in a top company. You do what you are assigned to do and then you realise that is not the career for you. You feel like you made a mistake and you are wasting your time, “what am I going to do with my life”. Don’t stress (stress kills your brain cells, at least that is what my Psychology teacher told me), because that happens and at least you tried and now you know you have to go and search for another career. The placement year gives you the opportunity to decide what you want to do with your future, for example me myself and I. I thought I wanted to work in HR but since moving to Seville I have realised that HR is not for me and I want to work in PR, so I went to talk with my manager and she said that I could do more PR tasks like go and annoy new interns arriving in Seville (obviously, I do not do that because they all love me ). So, if what you are doing now doesn’t flow your boat, give it another try and if the feeling doesn’t change then you should consider stopping for a moment and think about what flows your boat. Think about what do you want to achieve with this, what is your goal, what do you want and what can you do. SO START THINKING.
Now, for those of you that decide to do a study placement, travel as much as you can because when you travel and get to know other cultures you are developing your skills as well (don’t think you only develop your skills if you are doing a work placement). I think one of the benefits of doing my placement abroad is the fact that managers are more relaxed and let you do whatever you want (not everything, okay) , they encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity and travel as much as you can. So get your backpack, a map or your phone (technology nowadays) and go and explore the world (don’t forget to budget because the Erasmus grant is not that big).
Use your placement year as a break to find yourself, decide what you are going to do, to think about your future and act on it and mature.