Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Shannon B - Granada, Spain - Spring 2015

Hola de España!! Everything still feels a bit surreal as I sit at my desk in my new home in Granada! It has been a crazy couple of days with very little sleep but I am so excited to finally be here. I had an 8 hour flight to Madrid which was very nice and not crowded; however, I managed to sleep for roughly ten minutes of it. (gracias para NADA zzquil). Luckily, there was a large group of girls from the IES program on my flight, so we were all able to navigate the Madrid airport much more smoothly than anticipated. The flight to Malaga was only 45 minutes. I met Gabriella, a fellow IES student from Hawaii, at the airport and she agreed to be my roommate for the night. After paella on the beach we took a walking tour of the city, which was beautiful. We then got to explore the city on our own, so we picked a restaurant called ‘el pimpi’ where I got to try gazpacho. Four of us then stopped at a tapas bar and managed to end up getting lost on our very first night. After a good 45 minute walk around the city and an interesting bathroom experience in Burger King (yes BK) we made it back alive.
Today we (roughly 80 students in my program) spent the morning in orientation meetings until we finally were en route to GRANADA! Stepping off the bus with my name- tag I was met by Mercedes, my host mom, with many hugs and kisses. I learned very quickly she speaks no English whatsoever. None. A bit overwhelming, yes, but I am excited to see how much I will learn by the end of the semester. We finally made it ‘home’, and I am very excited that she lives so close to the Alhambra. We walked (arm in arm—she is precious) through the city center so I could get a feel for where I was relative to the IES center, though I’ll admit I am still pretty confused. Dinner was a little salad, cured ham, and lots of quickly spoken Spanish (on her part). Awkward Shannon moment numero uno- telling my host mom’s husband I love you instead of nice to meet you…oops. 
Week one is nearing the end and I can already see why everyone has been telling me to enjoy every minute—the days fly! I went through two more days of orientation, where we were learned more about Spain’s culture, geography, and economy. These classes last from about 9am to 2pm and are taught entirely in Spanish. After a breakfast of cafe con leche (new favorite of mine) and toast with olive oil, I have about a 15 minute walk to the IES center. After class we all head home for the main meal of the day: el almuerzo. So far I have LOVED everything Mercedes has made for Juan and me. Paella, tortilla española, and croquetas are a few of my favorites. This main dish is accompanied with a salad of some sort and then typically fruit for dessert. After lunch comes the siesta for many, but my host parents typically read or watch TV. Mercedes has been taking me on walks around the neighborhood, which I love. I am already wondering how I am going to have to leave her in four months, she is one of the sweetest women I have ever met. She loves to make me tea before sitting down to talk about our families; she is very proud of the success of her two children who are both college professors in Spain. This is quite the feat considering the unemployment rate of this age group. She also is very patient with me and my Spanish and is always saying ‘poco a poco’ : little by little. Overall, so far so good in España!


Blogger Hannah Lipman said...

Hey Shannon! Just started CPP250 and was checking out current students' experiences. Sounds like you're having a great time so far! I loved you're awkward Shannon moment. It sounds like you are learning a lot of Spanish--you'll be a pro in no time. Hope you're learning a lot and having fun!
Hannah L

8:44 PM  
Blogger Hannah Lipman said...

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8:45 PM  
Blogger Hannah Lipman said...

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Shannon!
I am currently in the CPP250 class and am going abroad this summer. Reading your blog makes me so much excited! Sounds like you are having a great time there already. Typical Shannon moment! I would be so intimidated staying with someone who spoke no English, but it will definitely make you learn Spanish a lot faster. Hope you have fun and take advantage of every day you have there.

Stephanie H

3:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Shannon!

It is so awesome to read about your experience so far in Granada and I gotta say it sounds amazing! I am in CPP250 and was wondering if you could give a girl some tips on adjusting to the academic differences overseas? How are classes different and do you like it?

Kayla S.

12:40 PM  
Anonymous Shannon said...

Hi Kayla!! The biggest difference so far has definitely been the language. It took me a bit to really get acclimated with each of my teacher's Spanish accents and listening/understanding in general. Also, the classes can be pretty long. I have about 4 hours of class everyday (Mon-Thur)
, and only about 5 minutes between each of them in most cases. It feels a bit like high school in that sense. With that being said the material has been VERY interesting, but the classes in general are a bit tougher than I anticipated. There is definitely a bigger emphasis on how well you do on the tests, and less points for homework. I had two midterms this week and actually did a lot of studying for them both. They both have to do with Islam/ Islamic Art, a concept in which I have no prior knowledge whatsoever! (I study Bio @ EC). So this combined with the fact that they are in Spanish proves to be a bit tricky. But once again I have learned so much, and I think both exams went well!! Hope this helped :)

5:12 PM  

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