- Spring Semester in Spain 2020
Before I walk into the classroom, I can hear screaming and yelling down the hallway and the clashing of chairs and textbooks. For the first time in the past three weeks I arrived early, mostly because I did not get lost navigating the hallways. I walk into the room and am greeted with a hundred “Hellos” in English, while a swarm of fifteen-year-olds run rampant, unsupervised. To my right is a kid sitting in the trashcan. Another one is having his faced wrapped in masking tape by his friends; and in the back of the classroom, I hear a loud THUD. Before I can look up, I hear laughing and more kids yelling my name before I realize someone had ripped all of the paper and books out of a desk creating a huge mess. I cannot hold in my laughter and break down laughing, while trying to act as an adult. Gemi and Hermi, the English teachers, walk into the classroom, unphased by the chaos. Instead of sitting down in their desks, the students who are being taught by Gemi run out of the classroom to a different one down the hall. After ten minutes the chaos dies down, but the classroom looks like war zone with trash and paper everywhere.
For the past month I have had the incredible opportunity to volunteer at the local school to assist in the English classrooms. The experience was completely opposite of what I expected, but I cannot imagine it being any other way. Mondays and Wednesdays, I look forward to interacting with the kids in both Spanish and English. Some are more experienced than others, but all are trying their best to speak in English. At first, some of the students did not realize I spoke Spanish and would talk among themselves in their native language, but they quickly realized I was bilingual after I responded back to them in Spanish.
On Mondays, I take the kids out into the hallway and help them practice their oral presentations or have a conversation with them in English. The girls are always a little more timid but warm up quickly after I ask them a few questions. The guys are polar opposite. They approach me speaking all the English slang they can think of while boasting their huge personalities. One time a kid whipped out his fake ID and asked me if I thought it would work at the clubs, while his friend was asking about American girls. Each week is never the same, and their requests and questions get funnier. Their teachers are saints and are extremely helpful to both myself and their students.
Because of Dr. Palmer’s linguistics’ course, I understand why native Spanish speakers have a hard time pronouncing specific sounds and letters in English. I have been able to apply the knowledge gained from Dr. Palmer to help the next generation of English speakers. I break down each sound and explain to students in Spanish where their tongue should be placed when pronouncing the different English sounds.
I am lucky to have the opportunity to help out in the school. Each day I can see their joy and excitement when I walk into their classroom and nothing beats the feeling. Their goofy and innocent humor brings out the best in everyone and I look forward to working with them each week.
- Studying in Spain 2020
Barcelona, Spain 2020
I am in the middle of midterms as I write this and the ones I have taken so far have gone well. The classes I am taking have been fun and interactive and because all of them are architecture and art related we have been outside of the classroom and explored the city, numerous times. That has been the best part of the classes so far, taking what we have learned in the classroom and seeing it or in the case of my photography class put techniques we’ve learned into practice around the city. Also, while in these classes I have managed to meet a lot of great people and make friends to explore the city and try new restaurants with.
Most study abroader’s here in Barcelona, including myself, favorite food here is patatas bravas and paella. Patatas bravas is fried potatoes drizzled in a few different sauces which makes the patatas bravas our favorite. Paella is a traditional Spanish dish which can be made with seafood or chicken. It contains rice, onions, peppers, diced tomatoes, and a host of other ingredients that make the paella a flavorful dish.Another great thing about studying abroad is that you get a chance to travel to different places for the weekend because there are no classes on Fridays.
I have traveled to Seville, Spain, Milan, Italy, and will be traveling to Lisbon, Portugal this weekend along with a few more trips in the future. It has been great traveling Europe with newly made friends and experiencing new cultures while also trying to navigate these countries without knowing their native language, which is always interesting and funny. I am making progress with Spanish as I have been able to build on the vocabulary I already knew with the help of friends, my host family, and practicing while interacting with locals. I am at the midpoint of the program and so far have had an amazing time in Barcelona with many memories.
I look forward to the last two months and can’t wait to share my experiences in the next few blogs. Until next time!
- Studying in Spain 2020
Barcelona, Spain 2020
I’ve arrived in Barcelona and it has exceeded every expectation. The city is beautiful and very full of life. It is also very fast paced, with a lot of people walking, which was overwhelming the first few days. My main transportation for getting around the city and to class is the subway, of which I had to get familiar. The subway system was very confusing with many different routes and stops, in addition to the large amount of people using it. After the first week or so, it became much easier to navigate the subway with the help of the Barcelona subway app. My commute from home to class is usually around 20 minutes combining riding the subway and walking. Walking is a must, here in Barcelona, and virtually everyone does. I do not mind the walking, because you get to enjoy the scenery and the wonderful smells of the numerous restaurants, pastry shops, and bars around town. While walking, you may even stumble upon a restaurant you want to try out.
I have been here for about 3 weeks now and my homestay has been nothing short of amazing. My host family is a retired couple who are the kindest people. They speak no English, only Spanish, which I was afraid of when I first arrived, as my Spanish is not the best. The first few days it was hard to communicate and get past the language barrier between us. But, we never got frustrated and worked to communicate by gesturing and using google translate on my phone. Today it is so much easier to communicate, as I am building on the Spanish I already knew prior to the visit, plus learning from my host parents, friends and using the language around the city.
My host family stays in an apartment, which is not far from a metro stop for the subway, which is very convenient. My room is a good size with a desk, closet, and probably a XL twin-sized bed. I have a half-bath right outside of my room, which I use. To take a shower, I have to go to the full-bath, which is located next to their bedroom. My host mom does all the cooking and she is an excellent cook. Dinner is my favorite time of the day, because she makes amazing food. This is also the time I usually mingle with my host parents, as we watch soccer (my host dad’s favorite sport) or a Spanish food channel. Breakfast is not big here, as I usually eat toast with jam and orange juice. So far, my homestay has been great and I am glad I made the choice, because many of my friends who chose to stay in apartments complain about having to cook for themselves and are always eating out.
I will be traveling to other places with friends very soon, which will be exciting to blog about. See you soon!