Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Exams:done Trip in 5 days

Thursday, June 25, 2009

So as of Monday I finished exams, and I am now on vacation. Well I am preparing for my trip that starts next Monday (the date got moved up to the 29th). The exam format here in Spain was quite the surprise so we´ll see how my grades turn out. Basically for all classes, I would enter the exam room and find a stack of blank computer paper, upon which I was given another sheet with the questions and 2 or 2.5 hours to complete. So, now I am super grateful for multiple choice again. Really the whole approach to education here is different and I guess that is kind of the point of a study abroad, but once again without friends in my classes, useful internet resources, and professors who give out syllabuses, I was left asking a lot of questions. I had to ask every professor where the exam was and when and sometimes they didn´t know. I had one tell me that it would be posted on a billboard in the chemistry building and I needed to look for it....

So I take for granted seriously the following:

a)multiple choice


c)professors who use the internet to communicate

d)regimented exam schedules determined before the semester starts

e)blackboard (although I hate to say it!)

(blackboard is an online resource for students that has all of the prof´s info and things the professor wants to put up to help students)

f)practice tests 

g)multiple tests/quizzes throughout the semester

h)textbooks (not common here)

i)study guides for tests (especially finals)

So maybe I have it easy at Virginia Tech or maybe I am just not used to the system here but either way I found that I do not like it and I am now a big a fan of the VT education system :)

Probably if I were to look into studying here long term I would have to force myself to go to the professor´s open tutorial hours just so I can practice and ask questions when I need to.

As far as exams my Physics exam was hard, and it was the first so I went in on a completely blank slate not knowing how to study, etc. I tried going to the professor´s office hours the week before but he wasn´t in and I couldn´t get him at any other time... So it wasn´t the material that was hard it was more the  format and actually there were a bunch of words on the test that I did not know which makes me sad after a semester learning spanish. But I justify it as being technical language so no worries. 4 pages of computer paper turned in as my test.

Then I took Population Geography which was long but I dominated it. 4 sheets of computer paper turned in as my test.

Then I turned in my term paper for Modern History of Asturias (modern being 17th and 18th century). 15 sheets of computer paper.

Then I took Organic Chem which was hard still with the language barrier. and long. 6 sheets of computer paper.

Lesson learned do not take sciences while studying abroad because then you actually have to study and it is no fun when you are enjoying your pretty much semester of vacation and tourism.

The term paper was easy although I procrastinated a bit on getting it done. I did learn how to BS pretty well in Spanish but at the same time I thought it was pretty well written for a foreigner (I´m not sure what the professor thinks yet!) haha

So that´s it for exams

Tuesday night at midnight was the beginning of... ANOTHER fiesta here in Spain. This time it was in celebration of San Juan and it was celebrated with a midnight bonfire complete with fireworks in front of the cathedral. It was a real cool event and traditional dancing, etc continued on wednesday which is the actual day. Not as well celebrated as the ascension because it was a wednesday and the spaniards have to work if not just a little on wednesdays. I got photos no worries. 

Here´s a link for a wiki although it´s in Spanish

For english wiki San Juan festival or Bonfire of San Juan or something like that. The photos I put up have good titles explaining the events.

Afterwards the cafes and bars were filled with people just enjoying the night so that was pretty nice to see. Once again people of all ages out and about at 1AM.

Oh yah I changed apartments again. I now live about 7 minutes from my old apartment. I had to change because the apartment is normally rented out to Med school students in a program called MIR (medicos internos residentes) and they´re moving in now. So I got a real cheap rate on the place because of the fact I had to be out on June 15th. Now I am staying with a guy from Peru named Cesar. He is also renting out another room to a girl from Salamanca, Veronica who brought her beagle, Ary. They´re both real nice and I do enjoy playing with the dog. He´s not very well mannered though and he´ll steal your food without thinking twice. But he stopped trying with me after I denied his first attempts with a smack to the nose :) Dog whisperer training. Photos of the new apartment!

I live real close to old town (about 2 minutes from my favorite bar), but a bit to the southeast so not as centrally located anymore. 

Tomorrow I am doing my souvenir shopping so leave any requests below :)

Also a couple friends and I are doing some Oviedo tourism that we have yet to do until now haha. Pictures to come.

So that´s it for now, possibly 1 more entry before we leave for our big trip on June 29th and then there will be regular entries as I find time/energy to put everything up live from the trip!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Hey it´s June!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

So this week is the last week of classes. Today was a holiday celebrating, nothing probably but everyone pretty much went out for a picnic with friends and family in the parks. So, like usual, everything closed down. 

Also, I have been sick (again) since last Thursday. Looks to be the same thing, tonsillitis, so I am getting some more free medicine from the doctors (yeah Socialism!) I am not sure how or why I got sick but I have a feeling it's stress related because I got several deadlines coming up for my classes, plus next week begins the month-long exam period. 

Anyway, some cool events did actually happen this week, The first one being last Wednesday night when FC Barcelona won the Champion's League Cup over Manchester United (from England). The Champion's League is a tournament where all the best teams in Europe compete throughout the year, and its considered the best Tournament in Europe. The final match took place in Rome, neutral ground (for soccer at least). So naturally Oviedo went wild at the end of the game, complete with people in the fountains, fireworks, cannon bangs, groups of friends roaming the streets screaming Barcelona fight songs, etc. Barcelona was considered a big time underdog because of how solidly Manchester United played all season, but somehow they managed to lose 3-0. owned

Also recently Oviedo held a fair call la Feria de la Ascencion. I believe it is to commemorate the ascension of Christ into heaven but I have no idea. Oviedo allowed a massive amount of artisans dressed in traditional Asturian-attire to set up shops in front of the Cathedral and other parts nearby. They then also had several parades of bagpiping groups from all over Asturias playing their traditional song from their area. There were maybe 3,000 bagpipers in Oviedo! And you thought one was annoying :) But it was nice to watch and I do have video and photos of that. The vendors sold traditional cheeses, meats, sweets, crafts, honey, art, etc. Right in front of the cathedral there was traditional dancing going on in traditional attire and you could get free carriage rides pulled cows haha. 

Also, this weekend Real Oviedo (the soccer team here) was admitted to the second division soccer league in Spain (from the 3rd). They hadn't lost a single game all year and qualified for the move in points scored. So naturally parties were thrown everywhere this weekend (yet another reason to party). Everyone was in the streets, kids, adults, elderly, etc. They soccer players had several mini parties in different parts of the city just to hype everyone up, kind of like pep-rallies after the fact, and yesterday they held one in front of City Hall. I got some good pictures of that. They chanted their teams fight songs over and over and over and over and everyone on the team got a chance at the mic like 5 times. It was rather ridiculous. But the plaza was packed with supporters and it was a good time.

Finally, since Saturday morning there have been cannon blasts three times a day everyday. 25 blasts, 3 times a day. During the initial blasts, I was still sleeping (it was 10am) and it scared me half to death. I didn't know what to think. I still don't know what to think. It's something to ask my tandem friend because I couldn't find it in the paper or anything.

That's it for now... still sick, so sorry if this post reads a bit funny I'm having a hard time concentrating haha. 

Upcoming events Toulouse June 10th-13th

Big trip through europe: begins June 30th.

Oh and it did get warmer here starting last Thursday or so. Actual summer weather! Today´s high was 80.

New photos here from la Fería and the big Real Oviedo party. 

I don´t have too many from the Oviedo party but I´m going to get some from my friends.