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Las Clases

February 16, 2012

La Universidad de Salamanca

Sorry I’ve been gone for so long. I didn’t have internet access for over a week thanks to a wonderful tour around Italy followed by a weekend trip to Sevilla (blog posts soon to come).

Now that vacaciones are over, this week started the first of my clases con españoles. I am currently signed up for five, but will be dropping one once I figure out which one I don’t want to take. As of now I am enrolled in Hispanic-American Poetry, Spanish Poetry, Spanish Literature in the 18th and 19th centuries, Art History, and Spanish History from 1939-Present day.

So far the classes all seem interesting and the professors all seem nice. I feel most comfortable with my poetry classes because I took an intro poetry class last quarter at UCLA. History doesn’t seem too bad either considering my love of the subject. That leaves me with Art History and Spanish Lit. I keep thinking I will drop Spanish Lit because I’m afraid of not being able to keep up with the work (so many novels in español!) but part of me likes the challenge and the material seems really interesting. I don’t know. I have until next week to decide so I will take that time to make that decision.

I will confess though that I do feel way over my head. Even though the topics for the classes and the classes themselves sound really interesting, I am still worried about keeping up. The professors lecture the whole hour or two and we take notes — without powerpoint (duh…duhh… duhhhhhhh!). Normally this isn’t a problem for my classes in English but in another language it makes it a little bit more difficult with unfamiliar words or even just being able to remember what I heard to write down and then having to keep listening to the next part. It reminds me of dictation in Spanish class minus our teacher talking slowly and being able to ask “repíte por favor.” Hopefully this will improve with more and more practice — it better or else I’m in trouble.

One of the things that I think will be the greatest change in the Spanish system of uni is self-study. Not that I don’t study on my own at home, but I always have readings assigned and a date to do them by. Here they give you a list of twenty-thirty or so readings that you can use for reference. I am realizing quickly that I will need to take notes in class, get the main points, and then research them more on my own (mostly because of the language barrier, but also because of the teaching style.) It will take discipline, but I think I’m ready for the challenge.

Anyway, this is just a quick post to update you all on the less exciting but equally important part of the study abroad experience (note the bold? yeah… it sucks but it’s unfortunately reality.) Well, I’m off to start some of that self-studying and trying to figure out characteristics of poetry postvanguardian age… wish me luck!

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