18/10/2012

Learning, Teaching, and Accidental Insomnia

Hola!
As promised, I'm going to describe to you the exciting world of university, and by that I mean what I actually do with my day, when I'm not asleep or drinking PG Tips by the bucket.

FROM PINTEREST, OF COURSE


Learning
You probably already know I'm at the Universidad de Zaragoza (any excuse to pretend I know Spanish words...) and I'm studying English - just English - for a year. If you didn't, I'm going to assume you're new here, because that's literally all I've banged on about for the past eleven posts. Either way, I have to read lots of books, to which I think I've developed some sort of aversion, and just sit and listen to people talk in depth about them. This semester, I'm doing North American Lit, Old English, The English Novel, and Literature and Cinema, so it's not all bad, not a lot of subjects. Old English though, is an absolute killer - I'm not even joking. The class only started properly this week and I've truly never been more confused/interested in anything ever, suffice it to say, you can't blag a language. 

In other uni news, I finally finally enrolled yesterday, so I'm an actual student in Spain. Not that it means I understand how to log on to anything, or do anything actually useful to my degree, but they know I'm here now. If it weren't for my lack of Spanish, I'd be rocking about on moodle, or writing this in the library by now, but no.

Teaching
Oh God. I taught a poor, unsuspecting 12-year old English the other day. I hadn't a clue what I was doing at all. It was a right shambles. I just spent an hour going 'So... do you, er, play any instruments?', 'Do you like films?', 'Which films?', 'Oh, what's it about?'. It was absolutely shocking, but I'm going back next week, when I'm going to have an extra girl to teach, and then straight after, I'm going to teach their neighbours English too! I'm going to have to make lesson plans or something. I'd swear but I'm far too polite... 

Not Sleeping
I can only sleep for about two and a half hours - from 20:30 to about 23:00. Please send help.

06/10/2012

The Trials and Tribulations of an English Student in Spain

Hola! Long time no see, avid readers! 

Of course scheduled blogging will resume shortly, but the past few weeks have been a bit up in the air, so when everything settles down, I'll actually explain to you what I'm doing in uni, what the uni's like, etc., etc. But until then, it's been three weeks since I last blogged, and I feel I should at least explain to you my views of EspaƱa.

FROM HERE


Firstly, it's not England, and it's not similar to England. It might sound stupid, but no, it's not the same place and they don't have the same things. I've got used to the fact that pretty much everywhere's shut between 2pm and 4pm; I've accepted that nowhere sells cheddar or proper sausages; I've accepted that all milk is UHT. Unfortunately though, I lament these things every time I try to go shopping at about 2:30pm and all can thing about eating is a sausage sandwich with a cup of tea made with real milk. I know you'll probably already know this, but once you're out here, it becomes ever more real - partly because that's what most students from the UK and Ireland talk about whenever a conversation trails off, that, or the weather (we timed it the other day and it turns out we could hold a conversation about the weather for over 7 minutes, I'd say it's a different story for a different time, but that's literally the story - no, I don't know why it happened either). 

I'll bring up the issue of the language barrier too, and by that I mean, I can't speak Spanish. All my classes are in English, all the people I speak to regularly speak English as a first language, and all my flatmates speak Spanish to each other. Subsequently, I can blag conversations about cleaning, food, and going out, like, I'm starting to worry everyone I live with thinks I'm obsessed with food, never clean and always have a hangover because I'm constantly in the kitchen going 'Tengo una resaca... Necesito comida pero no tengo comida... Necesito limpiar mi habitacion...', which I feel well highlights the fact I only know three verbs: need, have, clean. But oh well! I also know useful words, like dustpan - recogedor - and kerb - bordillo. I don't know how I haven't caused some international incident with my clear lack of understanding of every situation I've been in.

Being an English student in Spain, every little bit of Spanish culture that you absorb makes you feel that tiny bit more 'cultured' (I was going to say European, but I'm aware there'll probably be a backlash of people going 'BUT ENGLAND'S IN EUROPE, WOULD YOU PREFER US TO BE AMERICAN?!', thus 'cultured'). One of the few things I've taken on board - in a big way - is a siesta. I truly don't know what I'm going to do when I go home. It'll get to about 3, and my body will start to shut down, and I have to have a sleep. But it's never just a cheeky nap, it's always a proper 2-hour sleep. I know that's not a proper siesta, but yeah... I like sleep.

There are other things I could tell you, but I have to actually do some work. But this has been lovely, and we should definitely do this again some time! 
Hasta luego!