Sunday, January 17, 2010

My First Week

Honestly, during my exhausting journey here, there were moments I doubted I would make it to Spain...but here I am! My first week is over; it is hard to believe! There are times I laugh out loud when I consider what I am doing-living in Spain, studying at one of the oldest European universities, spending time in buildings Christopher Columbus visited, praying in churches where kings and queens worshiped, or crossing a bridge built by the Romans near the time of Christ! Really, it is rather unbelievable, isn't it?

In case some of you are not aware, let me fill you in: I am spending this semester in Salamanca, Spain. The city is about 2.5 hours northwest of Madrid and boasts the oldest Spanish university. I arrived late on Saturday, January 9 and will be here until the end of June!

I am taking part in an immersion program for two weeks before classes begin for the semester. I am staying with a host family until the semester starts. For now, my days begin around 7:45, when I pull myself out of bed to get dressed and ready for the day. My "mother" (Augustina) has coffee (con leche-with milk) ready for me each morning at 8:00. I leave the apartment around 8:35; the walk to the university takes about 20 minutes. I have five hours of class each day, which end around 2:15. I walk home for lunch and siesta at 2:30. I usually spend the afternoons resting or walking around the city. I love to wander, taking new streets, not knowing what I will find. Sometimes, I get a little confused or lost, but I generally have a sense of the direction I should take and I end up finding something I recognize. I've wandered into many beautiful old churches, which are always comforting. Dinner is at 9:30; the different schedule is difficult for me to become accustomed to, but I do enjoy the siesta!

My host family does not speak English, and therefore communication is challenging. I get frustrated when I am unable to express myself easily, and I have to remind myself of the reason I am here-to learn to speak well! There is another tenant who is a student from Spain and he is usually able to understand what I am trying to convey in my broken Spanish. He has been very helpful. My language proficiency is improving, though slowly. I am very nervous about my semester classes, but my motto for this trip is: Be calm, carry on. And that is what I intend to do.

I will move into the dormitory on Saturday and will live there for the semester. I have a wonderful opportunity to serve as a teaching assistant in the English department here. I do not yet know what that will require, exactly, but I am expecting a rewarding experience! I am planning on taking three classes at the university: Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language, Introduction to Spanish Short Story, and Iconography. I am also taking a class online through my home institution, Bellarmine University.

Well, hopefully I have brought you up to date on my experiences. I am working on creating a Picassa account to share my pictures, and I will post that information as soon as possible.

Mucho amor,

1 comment:

  1. "Anyone who truly loves God travels securely."

    "Be gentle to all and stern with yourself."

    "For prayer is nothing else but being on terms of friendship with God."

    Saint Teresa of Avila

    "A proverb is a short sentence based on long experience."

    Miguel De Cervantes

    "Don't bother about being modern. Unfortunately, it is the one that, whatever you do, you cannot avoid."

    Salvador Dali

    "Tell me to what you pay attention and I will tell you who you are."

    Jose Ortega y Gasset