Tuesday, February 7, 2012

First Day of UB Classes

UB stands for La Universitat de Barcelona, and today I had my first classes there. My first class is Spanish Poetry of the 20th century. The class consists of three exams (only two of which count for a grade), a ten-thirteen page essay, and an oral presentation. The class actually ends May 30, even though the original schedule said that it ends June 6th. This is good because I might be able to go home and start working earlier. The professor in that class was very nice and said that she would help me if I ever needed anything.

My second class was a little more intimidating. I have a friend named Brian from my program who is in my first class, but I don't know anyone in my second class. As I sat waiting for the professor to come in, I found myself extremely nervous to talk to anyone. I didn't want them to judge my Spanish or think I was different because I am from the United States. It really made me think about what it would be like to be an international student at IU. Let's face it, there is a big separation between Americans and people from other countries in Bloomington, and I feel like after today I understand a little more. It is really hard to talk to your classmates when you are afraid that they will judge you because of where you're from or what language you speak. After today, I really admire international students who are brave enough to come up and just ask for directions because even that can be extremely intimidating. In class, the professor asked the international students to raise their hands and say where they were from, and even that was pretty intimidating. I said I was from Chicago because a lot of people don't know where Indiana is. There were two girls from California and one girl from France in the class, but everyone else was Spanish. The girl that sat next to me introduced herself as Ines, and was very nice to me the entire class period. Even just smiling and asking people a little about themselves can go a long way in making people feel more accepted in a certain community. I was very grateful that she would talk to me and hope to make a new friend. This class was also stressful because there are no set dates for the exams which means I still don't know when I am coming home. I told my host mother that I might be leaving sooner than I originally expected and she told me that I was welcome to stay as long I need to. I am definitely starting to feel more like a part of the family and it makes me really happy.

My last class of the day was Don Quijote, and I know that it is going to be my favorite class of the semester. It is at CIEE and not UB, but it is taught by a UB professor. We are studying the history surrounding the novel and the novel itself for an entire semester. I am really looking forward to reading the book because it is such an important part of Spanish culture. I already have three pages of notes in that class, so I'm glad that I brought two big notebooks.

When I got home, my host siblings wanted to play a game of Monopoly. Instead American street names, the properties were named after streets in Barcelona. We had a good time playing, but we had to finish early so that we could eat dinner. I really enjoy spending time with my host family because it makes me feel less lonely. They are really great people, and they are teaching me a lot about myself. Sometimes the kids can be a little over the top and rambunctious, but they are teaching me to be patient and to love them regardless.

In other news, I won a trip to Greece. I had a choice between The Dalmation Coast, Croatia; The Amalfi Coast, Italy; and Crofu, Greece. I have wanted to see Greece forever, and because it was so expensive to buy plane tickets, I didn't think that I would be able to go. My friends and I decided to plan a Italy trip instead for spring break because it was the cheaper option. When I won the trip, I found out that they make you find transportation to Italy and then take you to Greece from there. Since I was already planning to go to Italy with my friends, I already had my transportation worked out. Also, I wasn't even planning on going out last night because I had class at 8:30, and I knew that I wouldn't get home until very late. If I hadn't gone, then I wouldn't have won a trip to a place I've always wanted to go to. It's just really, really ironic how all of this worked out. I am very excited. I will be there from April 5-9. We are going on a cruise ship, ATVing around the island, hiking, visiting a bat cave, spending time on the beach, and snorkeling. I couldn't ask for a better spring break, especially because of all the things I get to do for free.

This is a longer post because I haven't written in awhile, but I am going to bed because I didn't get very much sleep last night. Good night everyone!

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