Okay, so the fun has begun this week.
Classes have started at the Universitat de Barcelona and the Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona. My schedule leaves me a little frazzled at the beginning of the week, but I have no class on Fridays. I have class Monday at 10am and then another class on another campus in another part of the city that begins at 11:30am. I have timed it to take me exactly 25 minutes to get from one class to another by metro.
It turns out that my psychology professor believes that 11:30 is more of a vague notion than an actual meeting time. The first day I walked in ten minutes early and he was done explaining the syllabus. I walked in on Wednesday 30 minutes early and class didn’t start until 12 pm.
Along with my class schedule I have started teaching English at an elementary school in the city. I love every minute of it. My mentors, Isaac and Maria Jose, have asked me not to speak any Spanish or Catalan to the kids. If only I hadn’t signed up to practice more Spanish that would be great. I teach 1st through 4th grades and may be adding 6th grade to my list. I’ve never been one for angsty adolescents though, so I might pass on that. I am teaching through a government-related program that places students as English teachers in schools that want to develop English programs.
The school I am working for, Escola Lavínia, has already had American students teaching there before so they pretty much have the program pre-set for me, but they give me the liberty to pick my own lessons. To be honest I never really saw myself as much of a teacher before this experience. In teaching, I have found that the more energy and excitement I put into my lessons, the more the kids want to learn. This sometimes leaves me drained at the end of the day.
It sounds serious, but it’s a good time. I got to explain what a “monkey” is to 8-year-olds. They didn’t understand when I said, “I live in the jungle and, stereotypically, humans say that I like bananas.” So instead I hopped on the table, scratched my armpits and made whatever sound it is that a monkey makes.
I’m not paid for teaching, but my parents want me to teach English, so hopefully soon I can start making bank off of my new-found ability to make animal sounds.
Between class and teaching I don’t have much time for relaxing, but I went with a friend this past weekend to ski in France. As much as I enjoy Barcelona, it’s nice to get away for a couple days and into the mountains. We ran around with his dog and enjoyed the snow. I also went crazy for French cheese. I’ve never been a huge cheese fan, but I ate at least four pounds of it this weekend.
Now I am back in Barcelona and up late working. I am preparing an essay, eating more cheese, working on internship applications and looking at pictures of cheese. Life studying abroad isn’t always so glamorous. Sometimes I just have to hunker down and be a boring Northwestern student for a while, but not for too long. Next weekend I am headed to Menorca on a class research trip.