Sunday, September 16, 2007

Semester Begins- February 14th

We then had a one week hiatus (although we still went to our grammar course twice a week) to begin choosing our regular courses for the semester. As a result of getting the history course out of the way during orientation, we only had to take two courses in addition to the grammar course to make a total of 12 credits for the semester. A lot of my friends took 3 more classes, but I only took 2 because I had extra credits and wanted as much free time as possible to explore Spain and other countries.
However, even choosing 2 courses was a bit daunting. A lot of the information online was not updated, and courses showed up from other semesters that I wanted to take but that weren't actually offered the semester that I was there. In addition, I was nervous about taking a course in which your only grade is the final exam, which is how most Spanish classes are set up. I finally settled on a "cushy" course taught in English (you were allowed to take one English course but no more than that) and a translation course which I thought was way beyond me but was convinced would teach me a lot. I'm not a translation major, and what we did was completely new to me. In addition, the entire grade is based on the final exam, so I had no way of measuring my progress until then.
After choosing classes, you have to go through a bureaucratic process in which you make an appointment to register with the university and then pay a 6 euro matriculation fee at a bank. Although it seems silly and a little irritating, I was enamored with the country by this point that even these tasks seemed fun.

As I got into the swing of things, I got more comfortable in my courses. My grammar class was a breeze because I've always kind of enjoyed grammar, I felt comfortable in my English course, and figured I'd work things out for my translation final. I was able to arrange my classes so that I had Mondays and Fridays off, and could do some traveling outside of Spain, which was a huge reason I went to Europe in the first place.

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