Studying abroad is an incredible opportunity to meet new people, see new places, and learn new things about how the world works. It’s also still a semester of college classes.
This week was my first week of classes and it was similar to any other first week of school. Each of my classes loosely followed the same format: Professor introduced him/herself, students introduced ourselves, and we were given many informational papers (syllabi, lists of dates, etc.). Once I felt sufficiently overwhelmed by all of the details I have to remember, the professor went on to give us a partial lecture. First week chaos.
Despite the typical information overload of a first week of school, I’m excited because I’m interested in the classes I’m taking. Students who study through IES have the option of taking classes at one of the two universities in town in addition to IES classes, but because of the complexities of scheduling I’m only taking IES classes. The first class I’m taking is a Spanish Language class that everyone takes where we are placed based on our level of Spanish, which is my favorite class so far. Advanced grammar and in-depth culture lessons sound boring, but the class and the professor make it fun. I’m also taking literature, religion, photography, and film classes. I’m most excited about the content of my religion class because of Spain’s complex religious history. I hope to better understand the history of Spain and how that has affected its modern-day culture, and it will be interesting to learn about religion from a non-Christian college perspective. A key part of the study abroad experience is increasing empathetic skills and becoming more open-minded to the rest of the world, and looking at the world through a new perspective is a great (and challenging) way to do this.
Now that classes have officially started, I know the rest of the semester is going to fly by, but I feel ready for the studying part of spending time abroad (as long as I have lots of coffee and pastries to keep me going)!