January 25

I woke up to Joe telling me that I had fifteen minutes to be in the lobby before we left for class. I quickly showered, got dressed, and rushed down to the lobby to meet everyone else. Luckily, I didn’t miss anything and we left about two minutes after I got there. Aitor (I just recently found out that it is spelled with an A in front) started leading us through the historic district toward el Rio. It was spitting rain here and there but we didn’t care because we were so excited for our first day of classes.

The walk is a good twenty five to thirty minutes away from the dorm but Aitor didn’t really know where we were going because he has been the director for the Seville program in years past. It took a lot longer than it should have. The campus is in a more modern looking part of the city. While it is really cool, I’m so glad that we are actually living in the historic district!

When we got to the building, we waited in the lobby for about twenty minutes I think because the faculty was running a little behind. When most had assembled we were led to a room where each teacher stood up and gave an overview of the concepts and requirements for the course. All of our teachers our University of Valencia faculty and barely speak any English so we are required to speak only Spanish.

The weirdest part is that I understood what they were saying. None of them speak too fast and they pronounce everything very clearly for us to better understand. We got our schedules at about 10:30 and were told if we had class still that day we need to go. We were all pretty disappointed to see that all but two of us had class on Friday, preventing us from a three day weekend of traveling but nonetheless most people were excited to start learning. However I am one of the lucky two that has a three-day weekend. My schedule is as follows:

Monday and Wednesday: SPAN 4150 (Business Spainsh) 9-10:30

SPAN 4010 (Linguistics/Composition) 12:30-2:00

Tuesday and Thursday: SPAN 3030 (Intro to Literature) 9-10:30

SPAN 4120 (Spainsh Culture) 10:45- 12:15

Since I didn’t have class until 12:30 along with about six of us, we decided to walk back and kill some time at el Rio. We made the ten-minute trek and started exploring. It was so cool. There were rows of fountains everywhere lined with Valencian orange trees. We continued along and came across a huge rope jungle gym. Some people climbed but I just stayed on a park bench and watched, I was feeling pretty tired and only felt like sitting on one of the benches that lined the edges of the playground. After exploring for about forty-five minutes we started heading back to our building.

Maria Estellas is our teacher for our Composition class. It was hilarious because she is an older woman but still very good looking so all the guys fought for seats in the front of class and were mesmerized when she started teaching. I think she likes Diego. Our first class was awesome; she was so easy to understand and really captured everyone in the room. We just reviewed some basic differences between Spanish in Spain and Latin American Spanish, went around and introduced everyone, and got to leave.

We all left so excited about how cool our class/teacher was. We found our way back and went straight to lunch (my stomach had been making noises all class which was pretty embarrassing). I devoured lunch then came back to the room and hung out for a while in my room before our optional planned activity for the evening: a scavenger hunt.

Even though it was rainy and cold out, I decided to bite the bullet and go on the scavenger hunt anyway. There were about twenty of us in the lobby so Aitor split us up into groups of four to five people and gave us a sheet with a bunch of objectives on it. Of course the objectives were in complete Spanish and consisted of taking pictures at different random landmarks all over the city. We also had some tasks that included asking Spanish people what certain words meant and things a long those lines.

Our group (Me, Ashley, Caroline, Dave and David) started off pretty fast paced and finished the first objectives pretty quickly. Then it got colder and the rain picked up a little more. We continued on but definitely at a snails pace. After finishing all the objectives we headed back only to find that someone had beat us. While I wanted to win, I was glad that I got to experience the city more by walking around.

We got back at seven and almost immediately had a meeting where we discussed the rest of the optional activities for the week. They seem really cool. They include trips to museums, pick-up soccer games, etc. After the meeting dismissed we went to eat all together. We were all so starving and barely said a word but inhaled everything. I had a hamburger with French fries and a Spanish take on pizza bread that had bacon on it and was delicious.

Once we were finished with dinner a few of us hung out in our room for a while. We played some pool downstairs. It was so good to just have a low key night. A few of us went to a bar and just had a beer and talked about how crazy this whole experience had been and how much we had changed (I think for the better) in just 6 days of being away from home. I practiced my Spanish with a few people in the bar which is always a challenge but so fun. Some of the people with us got pretty hungry and we decided to check out all of the local’s favorite fast food restaurant Doner Kebab. They served two things that are out of this world: a Spanish meat lover’s pizza and a meat wrap with veggies and sauces on it. I went for the pizza since I had already had a bite of someone’s wrap. I don’t have a favorite between the two but I wish they would open one in the U.S.

After we chowed down, we walked all two hundred yards back to our dorm and headed to bed. My bed felt so good and had no trouble falling asleep.

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