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Settling In, Part Deux or Dos or Zwei if You Prefer

Anxiety Rating: 2

sunny 74 °F

Why hello there,

Although this isn't another flashy and exciting blog entry about sleeping on airport chairs, this week I thought I would mix it up and delve into the "study" half of study abroad to give you a little sneak peek into life as a student in Spain. As the title suggests, I am finally setting in to the new groove here in Granada. That may sound surprising considering that I have been here for a month and a half (What more could there be to settle into!?) but about two weeks ago, my language intensive month ended, meaning the training wheels are off and we are now being thrust into the exciting and slightly intimidating world of college courses.

I passed my final exam for the language month therefore I was eligible to take the Hispanic Studies courses. Way back in May or June, I selected my classes for each possible level I could test into, each with different requirements and electives; for Hispanic Studies, I got to choose four electives and I was assigned one mandatory course. I don't remember if I ever filled you all in on what classes I selected, but I am taking "Teaching Spanish in Bilingual Schools," "Contemporary Spanish Literature," "History of Spanish Music," "Image of Women in Spanish Literature," and a required writing/speaking intensive class. All taught in Spanish, of course. I will be taking these five classes from now through the end of December. (Which is weird because that means we only have ten weeks left! What?!)

As of this weekend, I have officially survived my first full week of school! EEP! The first week was immediately followed by a four day weekend, so I don't have a whole lot to be stressed about. Overall, I am definitely enjoying my classes. They work a little differently here than they do at home as one would imagine. First, there are the basics: At Lawrence, I take three classes for an hour each if they are on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, or for two hours each if they are on Tuesday and Thursday. Here though, I am taking five classes that are two hours each, but I only take each class twice a week. We also have most Fridays off. One major change as a result of this new schedule is my commute. Since I started my five classes, it has doubled from about 40 minutes (walking) to and from class to closer to 80. Every day. Very foreign for someone who was used to griping about walking the five minutes across campus to the cafeteria. (Though, to be fair, when I complain, it is usually below zero outside) And what's more, I like it! The insanity! I think the "Europe" is getting to me!

The two hour classes, though, have taken some adjustment, mostly just to train my ears to listen for that long in a completely different language. It can be overwhelming at times! Especially when most of the class seems to have caught the joke your professor muttered offhandedly in Spanish and I totally didn't, leaving me to frantically mutter to the person next to me, "What did she say about socks?" Fortunately, this hasn't been too much of a problem, I think, in part because I have been in Spain for long enough now that my proficiency has improved somewhat. Also, classes are currently in the exposition stage, getting us all grounded in the various histories, theories, and terminology that we will need as a base before we are off to the races, so that can be a bit boring and make the two hours drag more than usual. I shouldn't complain, though, because it is infinitely more interesting than sitting in one class for four hours, five days a week learning about grammar like we did in the intensive month.

Another bonus is that I have significantly less homework and major projects for my five classes than I usually have for my three at Lawrence. Two of my five professors don't even give finals, and in all of my classes, I only have one major project or paper each for the whole term. Very different from what I am used to!

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I am going to truncate this post here, mostly because I can't think of what else to write about regarding school, but also because I gave you that mammoth of a post last week. If you guys have any questions about study abroad classes that I didn't answer, feel free to ask me in the comments! Thanks for reading and happy Monday!

Afectuosamente,

Alison

Thank you to the Helen Barr Rudin Grant for making this blog and my adventures abroad possible*

Posted by TrixiStella 01:58 Archived in Spain

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