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Student Stories: Studying Abroad During COVID-19
(Vol. 3)

7. Ivana Martinez Spring 2020 View Of Sevilla From La Giralda

Photo credit: Ivana Martinez

Student Stories: Studying Abroad During COVID-19
(Vol. 3)

Spanish Studies Abroad appreciates the feedback we have received from students who have remained onsite during their study abroad experiences this spring. We thank them for sharing these honest words of encouragement and positivity for others during this difficult period. We also want to commend our dedicated host families, onsite staff, faculty and partners who have helped ensure the safety and wellbeing of our students who remain abroad.  

In this series “Student Stories: Studying Abroad During COVID-19,” we’ll be sharing Q&As from students and how the quarantine affected their study abroad experience. If you studied abroad this spring with SSA and would like to share your experience, please email us at

Ivana Martinez | Hollins University 

2020 Seville Integrated Studies Spring Semester

Where are you currently quarantining and with whom?

In the neighborhood of Triana, Sevilla with my host-mom.

6. Ivana Martinez Spring 2020 El Paseo De Cristobal Colon

Photo credit: Ivana Martinez

How are you spending your time most days and how have your study habits been impacted?

Most of my days are spent following my direct enrollment classes at the University of Sevilla online and then doing the readings and requisite studying that goes along with those classes. Now with the beginning of the first phase of de-escalation (here it’s called phase zero) I’ve been going out to take a walk around the river every morning as a great way to get some sunlight and fresh air before online classes begin since my first class is at 9am.

Lunch-time is “Merlosdrama” time. My host-mom has me hooked on all things periodismo de corazón and its officially my media-guilty pleasure. After lunch I continue my readings in preparation for final exams in June.

In the evenings I do an online workout and then during dinner my host-mom and I continue to obsess over Netflix’s La Casa de Papel. Whenever my intercambio and I can, we like to continue practicing our Spanish/English so we talk over video chat. 

5. Ivana Martinez Spring 2020 Photo Of Ivana Crossing El Puente Romano De Córdoba

Photo credit: Ivana Martinez

What has been the most challenging aspect of this experience?

Planning in the middle of a pandemic and still maintaining some sense of control over my time and scheduling has been challenging. Additionally, I’m currently trying to find new ways to improve my concentration.

Being online and sitting all day isn’t natural so it’s been a challenge figuring out how to mitigate those negative effects of sitting and staring at a screen for hours but then getting up and feeling like I haven’t actually processed or understood what I’ve been reading or working on.

2. Ivana Martinez Spring 2020 Inside The Alhambra De Granada

Photo credit: Ivana Martinez

What has been the most rewarding?

Being able to still study in Spain and continuing my linguistic immersion even from confinement. I love that for the first time in my life I can open a window and hear Spanish being spoken outside beyond my own family home.

I can go up to the rooftop terrace and hear neighbors speaking in Spanish. When I turn on the TV, regardless of the channel everything is still Spanish. Still being in the same time-zone as my intercambio has also been a plus.

1. Ivana Martinez Spring 2020 View Of Sevilla From Metropol Parasol (las Setas)

Photo credit: Ivana Martinez

What new things have you learned?

I recently learned how to make a tortilla de patata!

4. Ivana Martinez Spring 2020 Salad From Mango Con Sal Located Near The Ssa Center
3. Ivana Martinez Spring 2020 Hot Chocolate With A Heaping Scoop Of Vanilla From Heladería Villar

Photo credit: Ivana Martinez

Any advice for other students finishing their spring semester in quarantine right now? (at home or abroad)

Be kind to yourself. We are all being asked to continue as normally as possible in an atypical situation. The best we can do is try but not every day will be a productive one and that’s ok. Also know that social distancing need not be equated with emotional distancing. Take this time to experiment with different ways to express your care for family and friends given the unique circumstances we’re all in.

7. Ivana Martinez Spring 2020 View Of Sevilla From La Giralda

Photo credit: Ivana Martinez

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Beth is your go-to contact for navigating the complex process of study abroad. 

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