Sevilla Life Updates

This is going to be so exciting you guys.

So as I rarely post anything travel-related or Margarita-related on facebook, I thought I’d take a minute to give an update on how normal life is going here.

University classes started about a month ago now. Since we’re super special and thus in the “Advanced Liberal Arts” program (HAHA no we just like torturing ourselves with more works in exchange for perks), we have to get to take direct enrollment courses at the Universidad de Sevilla/EUSA (the private school here).

So because I’m crazy, I’m taking one class through CIEE, two at US, and one at EUSA.

This=lots of walking=losing weight=haha not really because Margarita is an excellent cook.

But I digress.

My classes were chosen mostly to try to knock this Spanish major out of the way once and for all and I will not bore you with the sorrowfully tragic and frustrating tale of what it took to get permission to transfer these credits back to IUPUI.

I like 3 of my 4 classes so I feel like it could definitely be worse. Plus, it’s a gorgeous building, which helps (more pictures coming eventually. Probably during Semana Santa when it clears out and I can be a shameful tourist without judgment).

1. Comparative Syntax. This is quickly fighting for position as my favourite class. This is my CIEE class so I’m with all other Americans. Our professor is hilarious and has a pronounced British accent when he uses English. I’m learning so much about the mechanics of the English language in addition to Spanish and learning so many fun Spanish words and phrases and the rules for how to put sentences together (I’m a rules person. Thus it has been 10+ years of frustration constantly being told by professors, “I don’t know why they do it like that, they just do.” Well. Now I’m finally getting answers and it’s glorious).

2. History of Modern Europe (US). This class can go die in a hole. I chose it (even after going to one test class and hating it) because the professor has given 99% “9s” (Spanish equivalent of As) to CIEE students who have taken the class in past semesters and I will take just about anything for an almost-guaranteed A. Mistake. Huge mistake. So now I’m suffering and shall soon begin tutoring so that I don’t completely fail and screw up the CIEE average grade list. For reference, once we had a lecture on infant mortality rates in medieval Europe for the entire hour class period. No joke.

3. History of Propaganda (EUSA). While I do not appreciate the sprint to get from modern europe to this campus on time twice a week, I do love this class. This is my completely “for fun” class (E.g. I’m pretty sure that I will get no credit for taking this for either of my majors or minor). Our professor is amazing, the subject is fascinating, and we watch a lot of youtube videos. What’s not to love?

4. History of Modern Spain (US). Favorite. Class. Ever. Most of you know of Dr. Robbins at IUPUI through my long and harrowing tales from history class with him the last three semesters (four if you count summer session). You also know that Dr. Robbins is my all-time favourite professor who has given me priceless life advice, historical information, new music options, travel recommendations, letters of recommendation etc etc etc. The professor for this class in Spain is basically a Spanish version of Robbins and I could not be more thrilled. Huge history nerd so this class also fascinates me as all these things I’ve only ever learned about from an American or South American perspective (e.g. Columbus or the Inquisition), are being brought to life and given new contexts and interpretations and opinions by someone who has that history as their cultural heritage. Love it.

Because this post is getting text-heavy, here's a picture of Robbins syllabus (bottom row). Keep in mind this is without the 5-page list of classroom rules.
Because this post is getting text-heavy, here’s a picture of Robbins syllabus (bottom row). Keep in mind this is without the 5-page list of classroom rules.

One of the coolest things about the university system here is that most classes are solely exam-based. That is, at the US, I could skip class every single day and as long as I passed my final exam, I’d pass the class (obviously a difficult feat, but a possible one). Even at EUSA, where we have a group project and mandatory attendance, our two exams count for 60% of our grade.

This also means that this is one of the most terrifying things about the university system. I rely on my automatic 10% participation/attendance/teacher’s pet points at IUPUI quite heavily for some classes so without my security blanket, I’m a little lost here. However, I’m starting to adapt and getting ever better at taking notes during lectures. (Professors here don’t use PowerPoints. almost ever. You never know what you have till it’s gone).

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I’ve found my favourite pasteleria (so far. It may change) and discovered that their butter-based croissants and mini apple napoleons are the reason to live. I also had churros con chocolate for the first time this last week and discovered that those, too, are the reason to live.

I still haven’t done much tourist-ing in Sevilla itself. I finally made it to Las Setas (see the blog post from a while back) and we popped into the Cathedral for a few minutes, but I haven’t gone on a deliberate visit yet. I haven’t even wandered through the historic Triana neighborhood (the one right next to mine, Los Remedios) yet.

I will soon, however, as I’m excited to announce that on Monday I will start volunteering with ALEF (located in Triana). ALEF is an after-school program for at-risk kids in Sevilla (think: South American immigrant children, children of single parents, children of parents who are out of work, etc.). I’ll be there two hours a week to help serve an evening snack/meal (often the last meal of the day these kids get according to CIEE’s ALA asst. director Cristina) and help the kids with their English homework. I love kids and have missed babysitting and such so I’m excited for the chance to give back to the Sevilla community and get my “kid fix” (as my mom creepily called it).

I’m hoping to finalise my Semana Santa and Feria travel plans soon so stay tuned for updates 🙂


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