So here’s the thing, when I first thought to myself, “Hey, maybe it would be a good idea to get a Master’s in Spanish, in Spain no less,” I had a pretty good idea what I would be getting myself into, but I just got back from orientation and I think I’m gonna puke. Haha ok so maybe it isn’t quite that bad, but it does seem like its going to be rigorous. As it turns out, I am the only new student to the program this semester, which isn’t inherently good or bad but it’ll be kind of weird coming into a group that is already familiarized with each other. The meeting consisted of myself, the old department head (or maybe she’s the one that’s about to take over), and the new department head (perhaps vice versa). Anyway, it was encouraging in that I could pretty much understand what the one who mostly gave the presentation said, but the other one, who it turns out will be my phonetics professor, was nearly impossible. Not only that, but enduring an hour long talk reminded me of exactly how difficult it is to stay 100% focused the entire time; see you first have to concentrate on figuring out what they’re saying, then you have to worry about actually processing the information as you would in English. After my time spent in Costa Rica, not to mention my last four years at McKendree, I anticipated feeling like my head was going to explode after every class, so I’m not surprised, I’m just…exhausted haha. On top of that, she was talking about the symposium I’ll have to present and the exams I’ll have to take for my degree, and at one point I could have sworn she said it would take a minimum of four semesters, but I really hope not. Anyway, I’m just overwhelmed at the moment, which again I anticipated, so yeah I’m sure it’ll get better. Not to mention after this year I’m going to be SO FLUENT!
Today was good too though. I went through the general orientation with all the visiting undergrad students, and I know they won’t be in my program, but it was nice getting to socialize again. Everyone seems ready and open to meet new people so it was really easy initiating and carrying on conversation with like everyone I encountered. Tonight, we are going down town for drinks and Tapas, so I’m excited to do that. Before that point I have to sort out some rubbish with the registrar and start the application for my residency card. After that, I’m going to observe the Spanish tradition of a nice siesta, then go to the fiesta.
P.S. So this isn’t really funny, but in the general orientation we were going over the parameters of health insurance, and one of the caveats is that we won’t be covered for anything related to drugs or alcohol. One of the ambassadors shared a personal advisory anecdote. Apparently during his freshman year, he was extremely intoxicated while waiting for the metro and he fell face first onto the track! His imparting words of wisdom where to make sure you sit on the benches and wait, instead of near the platform, when you can hardly stand.
Ohh and one more. Haha so apparently there are undercover cops everywhere. One night a young male was out drinking on his first night in Madrid, and he happened to be urinating between two cars. There had been a lot of car jackings nearby so two of these officers approached him and he freaked out thinking they were trying to rob him. He started running from them, which we all know is never the best thing to do to police. He threw his wallet behind him as a means of detouring the muggers, but the police interpreted it as him wanted to discard evidence of theft. They eventually tackled him, so he naturally started fighting them…I guess its a good thing they weren’t the type of police around here that carry AK-47’s! Soon enough they realized he was from the U.S., and said “police” in English. After spending a night in jail he was able to put it all behind him (though I’m sure he tells the story often).
I can only imagine the stories I will have after this experience. I just hope they don’t involve hospitals or police 😉