School? In Spain?

I have officially been abroad for a month! Although I have been here for a month now, I can’t believe that I have not lost my initial awe. The huge component of this experience is STUDYING abroad, so I will mention my experience at la Universidad de Pablo Olavide (UPO). It has been a little hard to remember to do my homework since there’s always something to do, but it’s essential since that is what I came to do.

Having tapas at Universidad de Pablo Olavide (UPO)

For starters I have classes from Monday to Thursdays and I begin at 10:30 a.m.; there are no classes on Fridays. I’m currently taking 5 classes: Pragmatics and Communication, History of Flamenco, Contemporary Spanish Politics, Relations between the US and Latin America, and Intercultural Communications. All these classes are only an hour and twenty minutes, which is great to me and different from classes at home that are two hours long or sometimes longer. I really enjoy all my professors and classes, and don’t have any complaints. My favorite professor and is Enrique or Harry, since he likes Country music and is relatable to the students. He is also really funny.

Some things I have noticed that are different from home is that I have to take the metro, whereas at home I could leave my dorm 5 minutes before class began. It seems that there are no such things as review sheets. Why do I say this? Well, in my Contemporary Spanish Politics class, when we asked the professor if we would have a review he did not know what we meant and wanted to know if anyone had an example for him. This doesn’t surprise me much because I was told this in high school French teacher, who is from France (not everyone is).  Another difference is that there is not much writing, but reading and partial and final exams are generally the large determinants of your grade.

Overall classes here are just structured differently from back in the US. Something I really like about UPO is that they have intercambios. Meaning the international students office sets you up with a Spaniard so that you can practice your Spanish and they can practice their English. This is also a great way to meet native speakers since you won’t have classes with them, but other international students. Still, the experience is really enriched if you attend events that are held by the office and participate in the intercambio program.

Xochitl Cruz
Sevilla, Spain
Spring 2012

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