Every day I can see a visible difference in my ability to communicate! I’m by no means fluent but each day I become slightly more adept at understanding what my host, Angelita, is saying. And I pick up more of my professor’s lectures every day. I think attitude has everything to do with it. My friends who are frustrated and tired aren’t getting quite as much out of the program as I am. The goal isn’t just to pass; the goal is to learn as much as I possibly can about a new culture and language.
I have 4 classes. Grammar and Language with Miriam, who is a somewhat soft-spoken lady but the exact type of motivating teacher I need to take my verb/tense conjugation to the next level. Conversation and Reactions with Yolanda, who has so much energy and enthusiasm that I love and I really get into that class. Then Culture with Charo, where there are so many aspects to culture that one topic leads to the next and anything goes! And lastly, Art History. Although arguably my favorite subject, her accent (and the big, art specific words) make it difficult to follow. Although with her excitement, I now plan to go back to the Prado with more insight on Velazquez and Goya. Perhaps now I will be able to look at their creations with new appreciation!
The weekend trip to Segovia was phenomenal – I hope all of the semester kids go twice because everything about it was incredibly beautiful. We visited Alcazar (the palace that inspired Disney’s Cinderella’s Castle) and the Royal Gardens, where the royal family visits in the summer, and looks pristine year round.
The J Term kids spend time together almost every day and we’re really close now! I love hearing everyone’s stories. It’s really incredible the way people see the world so differently or talk in a unique way because although we’re all American, we come from very different states! Each individual has their own struggles and strengths and it’s amazing to get to know new people everywhere I go. It’s one of my favorite parts of traveling! This week I met someone from a different study abroad program but goes to Rutgers like I do and we ended up talking for 3 hours straight! It makes the world seem smaller when you find things in common with total strangers. Of course we were practicing our Spanish as well!