I’ve already managed to get behind on blogging so I’m going to combine two days to keep up and keep things fresh!
Exciting news: On Monday we took our placement test in the morning for the two weeks of intensive Spanish courses. I placed in intermediate, which is exactly what I was hoping to get. Then we had lots of orientation meetings and found out our schedules for when the actual semester starts (for those who are curious, we have two weeks of these intensive classes, one week of break, and then the real semester starts on September 24th). For the next two weeks, we have classes from 9:00 to 2:15 with no breaks, but lunch is usually served around 2:00-3:00 so it works out well. The classes are all in Spanish and so are the ones I’ll be taking when the actual semester starts. These are the classes I’m taking during the semester:
- Lengua española (Intermediate Spanish Grammar)
- Coversación y redacción (Spanish Conversation and Composition)
- Literatura española (Poetry, Theatre, and Novel in Spanish Literature of the 20th Century)
- Cultura española (Spanish Culture and Civilization)
That night I went out with a few friends to try and get into the rhythm of life here in Salamanca: stay up late, siesta after lunch, dinner around 9:00-10:00pm. It’s very different from what I’m used to but I honestly enjoy it a lot so far (also I’ve been out of the U.S. for less than a week and it already feels like it’s been a lifetime).
Today was the first day of classes! They are all in Spanish, but by the end of the school day it felt natural to only hear that, and my brain was already trying to be in more of a Spanish mode.
Side note: I really enjoy being in a country where Spanish is spoken before English in the airports and where a lot of people don’t even know English. It’s nice to get away from the beliefs that English or the United States are somehow better than other languages/cultures. I’m glad I feel uncomfortable ordering things at restaurants and trying to communicate with my host family, which might sound odd, but I just think it’s a good thing for me, or people in general, to experience.
My favorite moment of the trip so far was during my conversation class today. I was paired up to speak with a man from France who didn’t speak English, so the only way we could communicate was with Spanish. It was challenging, but it was nice not to be able to use English as a crutch and be forced to think of different ways of saying things. Plus, he was just a nice person to talk to!
Our program director took a group of students out for tapas and drinks at night. She showed us three different places to get them, and we tried two of them. The food was incredible, and I really enjoy the small portions eaten slowly over a longer period of time. I tried one with shrimp and another with caramelized onions and chicken on toast, and to drink I tried “caña limon,” which is draft beer with a lemon soda, and regular caña. Over dinner I had a great conversation with our program director about differences in typical United States and Spanish culture, and she said a lot of my thoughts/preferences are more accustomed to this culture than most students’ are when they come from the U.S. All I know is that I will definitely be trying more tapas in the near future!