By Brittney Durbin
Picture this: You signed up to take the hardest level Spanish class offered at your school. It lasts from 10-10:50 a.m., and the course work is so difficult and challenging that by the time your clock hits that 50 minute mark, you’re ready to book it out of that classroom.
For me, that point never comes.
I’m taking the never-ending Spanish class.
Don’t get me wrong, when I applied to this program I knew that all my classes would be in Spanish, and that obviously the people here speak that language. I guess I just never pictured it to be spoken so fast or so different from the Spanish I am familiar with in class and also from the time I have spent in Puerto Rico with my family.
Also, this never-ending Spanish class is not only language-intensive, but culture-intensive as well.
Learning about the lifestyle and customs of the Spanish people is like cramming for a test the night before, and then having to pass that test each and every day. We were given information about the culture, and even had a session during our orientation, but each day we must take the culture test and attempt to live as the Spaniards live.
However, just like in any class, there are some questions I will always get wrong.
For example, it is not customary here in Spain to simile at people in public. It is deemed more flirtatious than friendly.
This is nearly impossible for me.
I find it challenging mostly because I consider myself a generally happy person, and also it’s very awkward to make eye contact with someone and not make any sort of facial expression whatsoever.
Plus, Alicante has more babies and puppies/dogs than I have ever seen in any one city. (This is saying a lot because I’ve been to New York). The babies are ADORABLE, and let’s just say the future population appears to be huge because I can’t walk five minutes without seeing an infant. As for the four-legged babies, it’s like the people of Spain treat their dogs as part of the family. They take them to eat with them, they bring the dogs in stores; anywhere the human goes, the dog follows.
All in all, this experience is teaching me so much. I’m very grateful for the opportunity, even if it means feeling like I’m always in Spanish class.
Until next time.