Obligatory “First Day of School” picture!
I love Spain and exploring but the title of this trip is not called “Gallivanting Throughout Europe” (though they really should consider changing it), it’s called STUDY abroad. So I’m obligated to post about school too. This past week was the first week of classes for the semester, both in Spain and also in the USA. I’m taking a normal course load of 15 credits and the way everything shakes out, I am taking 3 classes at the AU Center and 1 at the Spanish business school. My class at the business school, ICADE, is Operations Management. And it’s taught in English. No one is trying to take a business class in Spanish — I’m not advanced enough for that nonsense. At Mosaic [the AU Center], I take public speaking and it’s taught in Spanish. I figure if I can public speak in Spanish, I will have no problem public speaking in English. I also take “Spain Seminar”, a 6 credit class that discusses the political, economic and social history of Spain. And we also go on weekly local field trips. And the third class counts for my Sports and Entertainment specialization and it is going to be one of the greatest classes I will ever be able to take: Spain’s Soccer Obsession – the Marketing (and Magic) behind Real Madrid. It is a REQUIREMENT to go to a game…. no complaints there 😉 Bonus: the class is in English.
My classes are all awesome but there are definitely differences in the way school occurs. First of all, I will NEVER complain about a block class at AU ever again. Classes at AU are 1 hour and 15 minutes twice a week or 2 and a half hours once a week. Classes here that are two times a week last between 2 – 2.5 hours. Block classes once per week last between 3.5-4.5 hours. For those of you who know how restless I am, let me reiterate that block classes are ON AVERAGE 4 HOURS LONG. So basically those 2 block classes I am taking, though SO interesting and wonderful, are my penance for all of my sins. Ever. Secondly, both schools are not a hop, skip and a sprint out the door. There is no such thing as “rolling out of bed” here, which was obviously a habit that died hard [and quickly]. Commuting is not a fun time. Although I will shout out the Spanish metro system here for being very clear with it’s signs and directions to get to different platforms as well as its rule of 6 minutes maximum wait. DC Metro, please observe and do better.
Warning to all of my family that may be reading this: I will be studying, going to class and actively paying attention. However, there will not be many posts about school because….who wants to read about the study in study ABROAD?
For all of my loyal followers, I am sorry I haven’t posted in a while but Spain has been distracting me! Thursday and Friday of this week have been orientation days, both for school and for the city of Madrid. On Thursday, we started off by going to ICADE for our international student orientation and address. ICADE is beautiful with it’s classic Spanish architecture of big towers and a fence to make the building look like a castle instead of a school. ICADE is a Jesuit school and has a gorgeous church inside. As a Fordham graduate, my dad’s dream of one of us going Jesuit has finally been achieved 😛 The presentations were boring and we Americans stuck together, giving all the other European students to gawk at us because real live Americans are apparently zoo attractions. [Other than us speaking English, they noticed my North Face. They don’t wear brand here. Oops.]
After orientation, we went home for lunch and had a wonderful meal. I thought I was going to have to be rolled out the door. Shout out to my host mom, Magda, for informing us on day 1 that she was a wonderful cook and then living up to those promises every day with her creative and always delicious meals. Then we went to the Prado museum to look at some Spanish art. Paco, the deputy director of our program, is also an art history professor. I would literally minor in art history right now if I could only study under him. He is so passionate about the subject and made the tour so interactive that I wanted to stay longer and visit every piece. The Prado was built for the royal family’s art collection and now is comprised of famous pieces from the Renaissance and Gothic periods leading all the way up to the beginning of the early 20th century. [The contemporary art is in the Reina Sofia museum…it’s on my list of places to visit]. At the Prado, we studied 3 main artists: El Greco, Velasquez and Goya. Paco asked us to pick 1 piece from each artist that we liked best and I knew hands down which were my favorites, The Annunciation by El Greco is an amazing piece and my favorite of his in the museum because of his use of length in body frame and his overall adoration for the Virgin Mary that can be felt when looking at the work. Las Meninas, one of the most famous by Velasquez and an obvious choice because it has been seen many times before. However, the way Paco explained the meaning and moment behind the picture, showing how the King and Queen are in the reflection of the mirror because they are out of frame and are supposed to be standing among the viewers gave an awesome lesson on perspective and details. And finally, Goya. Goya, after this exhibit, may be my favorite artist of all time. He was innovative and edgy and a little headstrong [he kind of reminds me of me haha] My favorite Goya painting was so difficult to choose but at the end, I was absolutely entranced by his dark period. The painting of Saturn [Chrono] eating his children is what I deemed my favorite but this can change at any given moment. Paco told the story of Saturn and the significance behind the painting and its relation to Goya, making it most memorable and intriguing to me. Fun Fact: I adore mythology!
On Friday, we went back to ICADE and toured the school. ICADE has a wonderful tradition that I will definitely partake in when the semester ends. The school has blue and white tile lining the walls of the building and once you complete your time at ICADE, you can purchase your own tile to take home with you to remember the school. I’ve been thinking about that tile ever since! The only downside to ICADE is that well….we don’t get to be on that campus. We get to be on the Tenley campus of ICADE because we are all taking classes in English. Not cute. But I’m excited for ICADE anyway because the actual campus is gorgeous and I want to spend time there.
After ICADE we toured Madrid! We walked around Sol and we saw the Royal Palace. It’s gorgeous and also my new house because I’m a princess. Obviously. There is so much history in Madrid and it would take me an entire year to learn it all. I have 4 months…I can make it happen! 🙂