Monday, September 28, 2015

First week of school!

First Day!
It’s Thursday night and I’m coming to you from my bed. I’m headed out on a trip this weekend so I figured that I’d do a recap of my first week of school for you before I head out! I’ll start off by saying that I’d call my first week of classes a success if not a roller coaster. There are several types of classes that are available for me to take: JYS seminars, cursos concertados, and regular university classes. I’m taking 3 cursos concertados, which are university classes taught by university professors specifically for students from the United States, and one regular university class, which is just that, a regular old university class. The regular class is very overwhelming, but the topic is interesting (“Modern” European History) and the professor is great. He gave me a breakdown of what exactly I need to read/do (for the rest of the students it’s just recommended reading) because it’s very difficult to keep up with him in class. I’m looking forward to the challenge, though I’m very anxious to get going with outlining everything for the coming week. Since I’m traveling though I’m going to have to wait until Monday to go to the library. Studious Holly does not like that and wants to start now. My other classes are good, they have interesting topics but it’s hard because they are all 2 hours. My regular class is only 1 and I’m used to 50 minute/1 hour 20 minute classes. It is nice that the cursos concertados are small though, it reminds me of SBC! (Also the fact that they are all either all or overwhelmingly female) My regular class has over 70 people and there aren’t enough seats for everyone so people have to sit on the floor. I try to sit in the front but on Tuesdays/Thursdays when I have another class right before and most of the seats are taken before I get there. Also, today there were significantly less people, but the professor said that was normal.
It’s really interesting being in such a big school (and I’m only in one building, each “department” has their own building). There’s 70,000 students total! The atmosphere is definitely different than Sweet Briar’s. It’s good to have a new experience, but I’m thankful for what I have at home! There’s no shortage of people watching and I do love being able to run to the cafeteria during the breaks in class and grab a café con leche para llevar (to go).

Note: It is now Monday morning. A recap of my trip will come soon!
Other things I did last week besides school: On Sunday I went to a “Festival of the Nations” that they had in Parque de Maria Luisa. It was like a big flea market. I mostly did window shopping but then ended up buying gelato and this elephant shirt. The guy who sold it was really nice and we had a pretty good conversation. He’s from Peru so we talked about that and how I wanted to go there at some point. He said I’d get there someday and I said I’d be sure to wear the elephant shirt! I love how sometimes it’s just so easy to have conversations in Spanish! I was also really proud when one day last week my host mom was telling us all a joke at lunch and I got it before her kids! One of the struggles with Spanish (or any second language) is not being able to joke or be sarcastic. It’s just difficult in general to have your personality show through. Oh, it was also hilarious when my host mom was showing us the church bulletin and there was two announcements from the same family within days of each other, one for a baptism and one for a wedding :) 

Okay, that’s all for this week, Portugal trip report coming soon!

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