Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Classes at the CLM in Granada

This past month has gone by so quickly, mostly thanks to my classes... I can't believe October is nearly over already!

Here is my schedule...

Monday/Wednesday
8:30AM - 10:30AM - - Writing and Speaking Practice
4:00PM - 6:00PM - - Spanish Grammar

Tuesday/Thursday
8:30AM - 10:30AM - - Spanish Literature (up to the 18th century)
10:30AM - 12:30PM - - History of Art in Spain
4:00PM - 6:00PM - - Spanish Civilization and Culture

(No class on Fridays!)

Overall my classes haven't been too bad. I really like my grammar class, but so far my favorite is the literature one. Unfortunately we're only reading excerpts of books and poems and such... I still have yet to read a book in Spanish!

I was super disappointed to find out that there are practically no international students at the school here. There might be some in the highest levels (I made it into upper advanced/level 6, out of 9)... but I'm not sure. Basically everyone is from the US though and there are tons of girls. In Aix and Málaga there were plenty of international students... I really miss that aspect of being in school in another country.

Everything's been pretty smooth though and I'm still learning a lot.
This Thursday my history of art class is even going on a trip to la Alhambra to check out its architecture!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Initiation


Upon our arrival to Granada, everyone was finally divided up to go and be with their host families.
This time studying abroad, however, I decided to live in a residencia, which has basically turned out to be somewhat of a return to dorm life.

Because there have been multiple groups of ISA kids who seem to never stop arriving here in Granada, I'm not sure how many of us are in the residence, but it seems like it's around 15-20. There are tons of Spanish students here, and it's hard to tell (because some people here speak Spanish really well) but the number of international students seems to be pretty small in comparison. (I'll post some pictures and such of the residencia later on.)

On our first night were taken out by the Spanish students who have already been living at the residencia. They told us to wear pajamas, and when we all met up they drew N's on our foreheads (N for novato, the equivalent of Loser, basically), and then marched us around town. We had to sing songs as we walked, and if we were caught not singing, they drew on our faces more. Some of the guys also sprayed wine on the new students and it was a little bit traumatizing, haha.

The picture here is us ISA students who decided to attend! Although the girl in the middle is actually a Spanish student and a new arrival too... she wasn't very happy about all that was happening to us. (Luckily we at least avoided getting soaked with wine.)

The Spanish students dragged us across town to a popular place where university students like to hang out and drink before heading out to bars and clubs. When they were done with us they left us there to find our way back to the residencia... and of course we got a bit lost. It was an experience to say the least! In a way, I think those Spanish students probably considered it to be more humiliating to us than we felt it was... it was more silly than anything. Apparently this is standard Spanish initiation that students go through when they begin university life though! And indeed there have been plenty more groups that I've seen around town since then doing the same thing.

Pre-Granada: Madrid & Toledo

My semester here in Granda is finally getting underway, but before I even got here with my new ISA group, we stopped in Madrid and Toledo together for a few days to go sight-seeing.

I'd like to say that my flights went smoothly, and for the most part they did, however when flying from New York to Madrid, our flight was delayed two hours because one of the plane's wings was missing a part. It wouldn't have been so bad if it was a simple delay, but they didn't tell us this until after we had already boarded the plane... so we were forced to sit there until someone went and bought the part, brought it back and installed it. Our time sitting on that plane went from seven hours to nine hours... talk about uncomfortable.

This made me a bit late getting to Madrid and meeting up with ISA, but eventually I made it and together we all went to our hotel.

Madrid itself was super cool and it was a little disappointing that we only got to spend two days there. It felt like there was so much to see and do, but not nearly enough time. We took a quick bus tour around the center of the city, and went to the Prado and Reina Sofía museums, which are pretty well known.


I got to know some of the girls in our program and we walked around the city a little bit, got drinks and tapas one night, got lost finding our way back to the hotel another night... it was somewhat overwhelming. Although I wanted to spend more time there, I'm also glad I didn't choose to study in Madrid, especially now that I've seen Granada.



After our stay in Madrid we hopped right over to Toledo, which is a super beautiful town that used to be the capital of Spain. (But again, total bummer that we weren't able to spend more time there or see more sights...)


We spent the day hiking through town together, visiting old churches and learning about King Fernando and Queen Isabel, and then were later turned loose to explore a bit on our own.



We spent the rest of the night at our hotel, and a small group of us went out to get dinner together. The hotels we stayed at were really nice, although it was difficult getting an Internet connection, or else I would have updated on all of this sooner. So much has been happening, and I don't want to get too behind in keeping up with my blog!

We only stayed the night in Toledo, and the following morning we finally set out for Granada.... by this time all of us were ready to see where we would be studying and living and unpack and get settled in at last...

There wasn't much in the way of scenery when we first set out on our bus trip from Toledo, but there were certainly endless rows of olive trees all over Spain... and as we got further south, there began to be a lot more mountains... it's not easy to describe just how lovely the south of Spain is.