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:
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)
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 http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Festividad_de_San_Juan
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!