So I got kinda busy and haven’t written in here in a really really long time, so this post could get a bit lengthy.
So far school is going pretty well. I’m taking all of my classes completely in Spanish, and two of my classes are direct enrollment, meaning in spanish with spanish students, for spanish students. My classes are:
1.) Advanced Spanish
2.) Spanish and European Institutions (We learn about the government and constitution in detail, the spanish monarchy, the european union, and more).
3.) Organization Behavior
4.) Management Control
5.) Internship with Camacho y Seijas ( Are working on setting up stores and exporting wines, olive oils and more to the U.S. and London. Additionally, do consulting for other businesses and teach english and phonetics. http://www.camachoyseijas.com/ )
My two direct enrollment classes have been very challenging and pushed me out of my comfort zone but now that I’ve been going a while I’m starting to get the hang of things. I have to work in groups for both of these classes, so I’ve had the opportunity to get to know some spanish students! I’ve found it interesting that both of these classes use text books and other sources that were originally in English, and American businesses are discussed frequently.
In my business organization class I’ve learned about some cultural differences that surprised me a bit. We were learning about personality types in Business Organization our professor was explaining what a type A personality is like it was some really weird bad thing that nobody in Spain would recognize. It’s strange to see that the type A personality (somebody who feels like they always need to be working and doing more no matter what they are already doing) which is considered to be a good thing in the U.S. can be looked at as some sort of insanity here. Also, that’s not to say that people don’t work hard in Spain. Some people here will have to work ridiculously long shifts, but it’s not normally because they want to like a somebody with a type A personality. My professor also explained to me why older people in the U.S. work when they could retire, which I thought was common sense. It’s strange to learn how much of what you think is common sense, is actually variable in different societies.
I’ve also gotten to travel to Segovia and Palma de Mallorca. It has been really cold so far and especially when I traveled to these to places, but they were beautiful and worth the weather. I just got back from Palma de Mallorca (one of the Belearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea) this weekend and it was absolutely gorgeous. It has one of the most beautiful chapels in Europe, a beautiful light blue ocean, some of the prettiest towns in spain, orange and lemon trees everywhere, and just overall gorgeous terrain and beaches. It’s somewhere that I would love to return to in the spring or summer when I could actually enjoy the beach a bit more, but it was more than worth seeing even if I didn’t get a tan. It was like a mixture of Spain and Italy, and I’m sorry friends and family, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to move there. ANyways, hopefully I’ll be able to write another blog in a week so I won’t have to try to jam so much info into one blog. ¡Hasta luego!
The Aqueducts in Segovia with part of my Business and Engineering group
In front of the Alcazar (fortress/ palace) in Segovia
Taking a break from our bike ride along the coast of Palma in the rain to climb some rocks.
The cathedral in Palma at night.
Valdemossa, a town in the mountains on Palma where I plan to move to once I figure out how I could possibly make a living there as an American Accountant. I’m still working out the details clearly.
The beautiful Mediterranean water.
It’s hard to believe how much has gone on just in this first week. We have had orientation everyday to learn about Madrid, navigating, safety, the University, and the different activities that will be going on this semester including volunteer opportunities. We’ve had a few chances to go out to eat with our hosts and our groups and it’s been great to taste the different foods of Spain, get to know everyone and start speaking Spanish again. I really like my host, Patricia, and all of the students in my program. I am very excited that they are the people I will be spending this semester with. Additionally there are spanish students from our programs in the university that signed up to help us out, and attend all of our functions which has been amazing. Meeting Spaniards is essential to being immersed in the culture, so these students have been an amazing resource for us.
We have had some great activities this week including a walking tour of the Chueca neighborhood where we got to see a building designed by Gaudi (Most of Gaudi’s buildings are in Barcelona not Madrid) and go to a tapas bar called El Tigre. Additionally we have had a short flamenco lesson followed by dinner and a show. Today I went with a group of people in our program to the Real Madrid v. Getafe soccer game. Madrid won 4 to 0 and one of the spanish students explained the rules of soccer to me, so all and all it was a fun game to watch. The crowd was very enthusiastic and actually started chanting things to taunt Barcelona even though this wasn’t the Barcelona game yet.
I’ve also been having a pretty good time with the “rebajas”. In Spain in January and July all of the stores go on sale at the same time for about a month, so right now is the time for me to buy whatever I need and pick up any souvenirs that I know I want. It’s very interesting how this system works because it is actually regulated by the government that this is when all of the sales happen. I feel like there is so much more to write about this week but then I would be stuck at my computer desk all week just typing instead of experiencing more of Madrid or going to class, so I think I’m going to try to keep my entries short, sweet and weekly.
I’ve made it to Madrid, and am staying in the Hilton until I meet up with my group and host tomorrow at 9:30 am back at the airport. All of my flights went incredibly smoothly and I’m so excited to meet my host. I will be staying in an apartment with a young business woman named Patricia. From what I understand it is very uncommon for people (especially young people) to be living on their own, particularly in the midst of the struggling economy. I am anticipating that Patricia must be very independent and successful in her career in order to be living in a nice apartment in a great part of the city, and I can’t wait to meet her. Maybe she can help me prepare and dress for my Spanish business internship interview if I am lucky enough to get called to an interview. Plus it doesn’t hurt that she has two chihuahuas named Sofia and Coco.
I am combating a 9 hour jet lag, and already miss my friends and boyfriend back at Wesleyan, but overall I am very excited to meet everyone here and learn about how I will be spending my time in Madrid. My orientation with CIEE will begin tomorrow, and hopefully many of my questions will be answered. I am also hoping to get some help ordering a study abroad cell phone.