A New World of Academics

Being accustom to the same way of academics my whole life it was very shocking to adjust to a new way. I find that adjusting academically was the hardest thing i’ve have done while being here. I don’t mean it to be frightening because I learn to adjust, but the school system is very different in Barcelona.

I am currently taking five classes. Three of the five are at CIEE and two are with the University of Barcelona. My courses revolve around my Spanish major and my gen-ed requirements. I am currently taking the following:

  1. Spanish Heritage Learners
  2. Contemporary Spain
  3. Spain’s Literature and Cinema
  4. Sociology: Conflicts and Social Problems
  5. Theater: Spanish Theater in the Golden Age

Both Images are from the University of Barcelona historical building, which is the Philology department. I take my theater class here.

This building is the Economics and Business department. I take my sociology class here.

Like I previously mentioned the structure is very different. To beginning with, classes meet twice a week for an hour and a half to two hours. Also, instead of focusing on completing assignments and learning outside of class, most of the learning is done in class. This took time to get used. I felt the classes were so long and that I had too much free time in my hands outside of class.

Also, the student-professor relationship is different. It felt weird referring to the professor by their first name. The students treat the professor so causally. I couldn’t bring myself to do that. In class learning is centered on listening to the professor speak. I am used to interactive learning as a Spanish and Chemistry major so I struggled. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to do it, but the professors at the university were understanding and helpful.

The class size was different, but I already was aware of this. The classes felt so impersonal and I felt it was harder to connect with the professors like at Wofford. My university classes range from 40-90 people, so I understood that it couldn’t be as interactive as Wofford. Although, the college/university structure was very different, I was able to experience another atmosphere different from mine. In the beginning it seemed impossible to deal with a different “reality,” but it’s definitely manageable.