New academia

By: Amanda Reid, Columnist

I know, I know; why talk about school when I’ve been trekking all over Spain? This had to come eventually so I can talk about nothing but the fun stuff after this.

I am attending Universidad Antonio de Nebrija, about 50 minutes by metro from where I’m staying, which is about as long as my commute from my house to Towson.

For the past week and a half I have been taking what is called an intensive course.

I was placed in the intermediate language level, and I have had three classes every weekday. The total duration of these classes is four hours, so I have had an overwhelming amount of grammar and culture reviews. 

I had two professors, Mari Angeles and Paula. Mari Angeles focused much more on grammar and verb usage, while Paula taught us about culture.

There were about fifteen kids in my class, all college students, and four out of the fifteen being a part of my ISA program.

Two of the students were Chinese, one was Italian and the rest were from somewhere in the U.S. Paula had fun talking to all of us about our different cultures and what a culture shock Spain has been for us.

I wouldn’t say the class was hard. It was more of a review of everything I have learned in Spanish thus far crammed into 10 days.

I also received my class schedule at last! I have grammar, Spanish language and Spanish cinema and society on Mondays and Wednesdays and I have conversation and composition and a panoramic view of Spanish literature on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Notice how I didn’t say I have class on Friday, no one in my program does! Nebrija understands that we want to travel while we’re here so they try to give us Fridays off so we can do that.

Homework is actually quite laughable here compared to the states. I have had about fifteen minutes of homework every night. I’m sure by now you’re buying your ticket over here to save yourselves from the hours slaving away over your desk at home, but be warned, you have other homework besides the homework assigned.

As international students, our homework is to immerse ourselves in the culture.

This basically consists of going to museums, palaces, and other cities in Spain while speaking Spanish all the while.

Okay, I guess as far as homework goes I’m living in a fantasyland, but I’m learning new things every day about this culture.

For example, my shoe size here is a 41 (I’m an 11 in the states) and people eat ribs with a fork and knife. I went to the oldest restaurant in the world this week and was quickly labeled as a sloppy barbarian for using my hands to eat suckling pig ribs.

But yes, the oldest restaurant in the world is in Madrid, its name is Casa Botin and it was opened in 1725.

How did I dress for such a nice restaurant? Why in a T-shirt that says “Queen of Naps” and sports shorts since I had spent the afternoon exploring a park near my house. I stuck out like a giant American thumb, but I personally was far more focused on my food than my attire.

Next week, I’ll be telling you all about my birthday weekend which I will be spending in Portugal and France! Au revoir!

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