Raíces: Universidad Antonio de Nebrija

Hola mi gente,

I survived my first week of classes! I hadn’t talked much about Nebrija yet because I actually hadn’t started until this past Monday. It has been a very interesting week and I am already learning a lot. Even though I have spoken Spanish every day, listen mostly to music in Spanish and lived with Hispanic parents whom have spoken Spanish to me my entire life, being in a university where Spanish is spoken and taught is most definitely one of the boldest challenges I have accepted. Reading, writing and comprehending Spanish on a professional/academic level is a completely different ballgame than from my everyday experiences with the language. I’m going to give a background to the classes I am taking so that you can get a better idea of what I am learning:

  1. Communication Theory This is actually a bilingual course, which is great, so I’m not too worried about it. I chose bilingual because I knew that taking it solely in Spanish, which was an option, would be an unnecessary extra burden given the content. The professor has tons of experience. She’s a theatrical producer, co-found her own theater company, writes her own plays, hosts a radio talk show, speaks good English and a bunch of other things that you would expect from a communications professional.
  2. Advanced Spanish Language This course is for native speakers and/or those that have previous experience studying Spanish. It is everything you would expect from a language course: grammar, stylistics, vocab, etc. and is for “perfecting” one’s Spanish. Interesting fact: There are only three other students in this class!
  3. Contemporary Spanish Novel – This is, without a doubt, my favorite class. We read three novels: Niebla (Mist) by Miguel de Unamuno, La Plaza del Diamante (The Plaza of the Diamond) by Mercè Redoreda and ¿Qué me quieres, amor? (What Do You Want Me, Love?) by Manuel Rivas. It is not entirely difficult to actually read in Spanish, it’s more so just the comprehension and investigation of the novels that present the biggest challenges. I love to read though, even though I haven’t read a novel in a couple of years, so it fits in seamlessly with my interests.
  4. Study of the Spanish Language – This course is split up in two parts. The first half of the term will be a study of the history of the Spanish language, where it originates, etc. Very interesting because we inherently get a history lesson of Spain as well. The second half is about the actual composition of the Spanish language, especially syntactically. I don’t know much about this half yet, but it sounded less exciting.

My first class is 25 students, second is four students, third is 12 students and fourth is 8. Very small classes. This has its advantages and disadvantages, depending on your interests, but that’s just Nebrija. It is a very small, private university. There are only a couple of buildings in the campus I study at and they’re right next to each other. One building is el Centro de Estudios Hispánicos, which is where the Spanish language-related courses are held and the other building is basically for everything else. I haven’t taken any other pictures of it, but I will upload some soon! The university has a very cozy feel to it and an absolutely tremendous faculty. I love it here thus far.

P.S. – I went to the U.S. Embassy here in Madrid to mail my FPCA in order to get my absentee ballot. Even though we’re study abroad students, we can’t forget about what’s going on back at home in the U.S.! It was easy, just filled out the official application found online and took it over to the embassy. They mail it back to your home county’s election office, who then send you the absentee ballot by email or mail, whichever you prefer.

Hasta luego,

Steve

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