Class Culture in Spain
It was definitely a big culture shock transitioning from taking classes in the Smith School and then coming over here and taking classes that are taught by Spanish professors in an urban city environment. The university we attend is called Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB) and there are 2 campuses that we switch off going to for classes. I got lucky in the sense that my Monday/Wednesday classes and Tuesday/Thursday classes are both on the same campus, so I don’t have to metro from one campus to the next in between classes.
On Monday and Wednesday’s I will usually wake up, make some breakfast then take the metro to my 9 am class and stay on campus for about 4 hours. That sounds like a lot of time in class but the school has a mini-version of their siesta time with a one hour lunch break in the middle of the day, separating the morning classes from the afternoon classes, so I stay on campus and either do work or hang out with friends during that break. Then, on Tuesdays and Thursdays I get to sleep in a little because my two classes are not until late in the afternoon.
Taking a metro to class is much different than walking like I was so used to back on Maryland’s campus. You have to allow more time to get to class, and sometimes you end up being a little late if it’s running behind schedule or it is really packed. Another aspect of school here that I had to get used to was hearing honking, sirens, and just normal city banter in the background while the teacher is talking. One of the two campuses is right next to a hospital to there is always hustle and bustle occurring outside the classroom. Not to say that any of these things took away from learning or being able to focus here versus in College Park, they were just small things that I had to get used to as a student during my four months abroad in a big city like Barcelona.