Actually this post should really be called, “How Not to Read a Course Catalog in Spanish,” because we definitely learned that the hard way.
So on Monday, we went to La Católica for orientation (where we got a whole bunch of free things HOLLA). We left the university with a fresh course catalog in hand, eager to get back to our houses to read it from cover to cover and figure out exactly what way we could integrate ourselves with los chilenos. So I think that religion classes are interesting and I thought that learning more about it (slash learning about it in Spanish) would be cool. So I narrowed down the possibilities to two classes: Matrimonio, Familia y Sexualidad and Religiones y Cristianismo. Martha, Brenna and I decided that we would visit these classes together, because we were all somewhat interested in them (and because we didn’t want to be the only gringos in the class haha).
Bright and early Wednesday morning, we were off to our first religion class: Matrimonio, Familia y Sexualidad. It started at 8:30 at a campus of Católica that we had never been to before… We were able to find the campus easily, but the classroom not so much. We tried asking a student if they knew where our classroom was but they had no idea. Fail. To our surprise, a janitor working in the courtyard overheard us and graciously gave us directions. We find the classroom…with only one girl in there. Everyone else trickles in and finally comes the professor, 15 minutes late. It’s totally obvious that we’re Americans, mostly because we’re sitting next to Brenna, who is blonde haha. After sitting in on the class, neither one of us three want to take it. It was just weird and so abstract and we just weren’t interested in it anymore.
So here we go on our way, leaving the beautiful garden-y Católica campus of Lo Contador to go to the much bigger Católica campus of San Joaquín on the other side of town. We bebop down the metro lines and arrive at the lovely campus with a little hesitation; we’re not sure if the class is in the religion building, or the building with the J classrooms (the class was in room J2). We decide to go with finding the J classrooms, and that we did! We arrived at about the same time that the class before us was supposed to get out: 11:20. However, we saw no one coming to or leaving from this classroom. We think, oh the teacher is just going over a bit so we’ll wait here. We even asked another kid if he knew where this class was supposed to be; he had no idea. Once he heard our broken Spanish, he immediately switched to English, which sounded so great! Then he went to find his actual class, leaving us standing in the hallway. Twenty minutes pass. It’s almost 12:00 and we saw one kid go in the classroom, so we’re like what the heck. We’re already going to stick out because we’re extranjeros. We’ll just go explain our situation to the teacher when class is over.
We sneak in and sit in the back, and about 10 minutes later, realize that the name written on the board is not our teacher’s. And the material was not about religion… This class was definitely The Philosophy of the Dead. We even found it in the course catalog underneath the philosophy section. And we discovered that it was a three hour class and did not get out for another hour and a half. No wonder no one came out of the classroom when everyone was supposed to change classes. By now we were so confused. Why would they overbook a room and not tell anyone?
We decide to venture over to the religion building to ask someone there about the class and figure it all out. They looked at the catalog with us and even agreed that it should be in J2. There was so much confusion why it wasn’t there. Then we realized the days. On the schedule it listed the class on L, M at 11:30, which means lunes and martes (Monday and Tuesday), not miércoles (Wednesday) which we totally thought it was… (Miércoles is assigned a W for Wednesday in the schedule for classes.)
Boy did we feel so dumb after that. We walked back to the metro, in disbelief of what we had just done. If we ever looked like extranjeros in Santiago, now would be the time. On the bright side, I know exactly where to go on Monday morning!
That, my friends, was a total rookie move. Hopefully we’ll be able to avoid those the rest of the semester. Until next time!