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Journals from Spain - Center for Cross-Cultural Studies

2010-03-17 Classes begin again!

Hola! Classes started up again for us the second week of February. All the new students arrived on the 4th, and we had a chance to go to part of the Orientation with them to answer questions about Sevilla and about the previous semester. It was a bit overwhelming for me to see so many new faces (as the group is twice as big as last semesters group), but it was also neat to be able to share ideas, experiences, and advice with them. We also got to meet our roommates for the semester! Fatima was not there as she is studying now in a city called Alicante on the eastern coast. We miss her but hope she is having a great experience there! We first started out with another Intensive Period class, which is a three-week course that is about four hours a day, five days a week. I actually really enjoyed that class because I learned a lot of colloquial or everyday phrases that are very common to Sevilla or Andalusia in general. A few of my Spanish friends also enjoy teaching me typical phrases or words in Spanish and it is apparently funny to listen to with my American accent. I enjoy it, though, because I feel like I understand a bit more of the culture through that. In the middle of our Intensive Period, David, Katie, and I had to attend some of the classes in the University of Sevilla to see which ones we would like to take for this term. It was a bit confusing and stressful trying to choose classes because we had to try out several at a time, and they often conflicted with the Intensive course, but in the end it all worked out fine. It has been an interesting and challenging process adapting to the style of teaching in the U. of Sevilla. The professors there do not often interact with the students and they often just stand or sit in front and give lectures. The classes are quite large too, which I am not used to because generally in both Linfield and CC-CS the classes are small and I can participate and discuss in class. I love being able to share my thoughts or ask questions because I learn better that way, but it is a good experience for me to learn from a different teaching style. I know that I will be a better note-taker after this as well, because it is much more difficult to take notes in Spanish! The encouraging news is that I understand the professors quite well, which might not have happened last semester. That just shows that my Spanish is improving, which is why we are here! I have also been able to meet a few of the Spanish students in my class! At first I was a bit timid and kept to myself, but I finally broke out of that and started making conversations with a few of them before class. One of the girls was especially nice and even offered to let me borrow her notes if I ever needed them! It can be a bit intimidating to approach the students here, but it builds my confidence every time I step out of my comfort zone and start a conversation. Hasta luego! Sierra Stopper

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