Primera semana de clases

Thanks to my fabulous schedule, it’s already the weekend for me (!), but more on that later. Although I went to one class last week (because some facultades, or schools, I guess, start earlier than others), this was my first full week of classes, and it went quite well.

The class I attended last week was Sociología de comunicación, or Sociology of Communication, which sounded a bit dull, but because it was the only class I found that would satisfy one of the interpersonal communication requirements for my Communications major, I decided to give it a try. I was surprised to see that there were only about twelve people in the class (surprising considering Complutense has 100,000 students), and the professor seemed pretty nice, but, gah, not a good class. The class requires six papers in addition to “optional” (read: not optional if you want to get a decent grade) papers, plus going to office hours as frequently as possible, and the topics covered were very abstract and not very interesting. It also seemed to be more of a mass communications class than an interpersonal communications class, and I’m planning to take all but one of those at UCLA, so, yeah, I wasn’t enthused. Actually, I was pretty overwhelmed and anxious about school after going to it, but, fortunately, when I got home, I found other classes that started this week that will count toward Comm, and, thank goodness, I liked those classes a lot better. So no Sociología de la comunicación for me.

For us UC students, we don’t actually have to enroll in classes until the end of the month, so the first few weeks are a trial period. Because of that, I went to six classes on Monday, but I’ve already narrowed it down to the four I’ll be taking, so yay. The first I went to was Psicolingüística (Psycholinguistics), which was also a small class (about ten people), and the majority of the students are exchange students (all from Europe), which means the professor has been really nice about making sure we all understand everything. I really liked the class, and I think it may be my favorite so far. Psycholinguistics basically means the anatomy/physiology of linguistics, as well as language development, which I love, so hurray for that one.

Then I went to Dialectología de español (Spanish Dialectology), where we study the different dialects/pronunciation of Spain from one region to another. It sounds a lot like the Spanish Phonology & Morphology class I took last year at UCLA (except focused on Spain rather than Latin America), and I really enjoyed that class, so I think this one will be good too. The professor started by saying the class might be difficult for foreign students, but there are a lot of us, and I think since I’ve had some experience with this stuff before, I’ll be okay. I need to learn the Spanish phonetic alphabet (in my class at UCLA, we kind of used a mix of IPA and the Spanish phonetic alphabet, so I only know some symbols), but that shouldn’t be too hard, so I’ll be sticking with this class too.

Theeen was Español coloquial (Coloquial Spanish), which is about the linguistics of coloquial Spanish. It sounded like it would be a really cool class, and it was decently interesting, but there were way too many people in it, and the professor was a bit dull. Plus, immediately after it, I have a class in a building about ten minutes away that always starts right on time, so I decided to drop this one.

After that was Comunicación interpersonal (Interpersonal Communication), the one Comm course I’m taking. It sounds fairly interesting, a lot like some of the Comm classes I’ve taken at UCLA. The thing I hate about this class, though, is that the students constantly talk during class, prompting the professor to stop every 5-10 minutes to wait for them to be quiet. Hello, we’re in college, not first grade. And when everyone talks, it’s really hard to hear the professor, so grr. I’ve already decided Philology (that’s the department my linguistics classes fall under) students are way cooler than Information Science (Communications, basically) students. I know I’m stereotyping, but Philology students seem much more serious and friendly. Plus, there are a lot more foreign students in Philology, which makes me feel less out-of-place.

I had a break after this class during which I went home, had lunch, and napped, and then I returned for Sintaxis histórica de español (Spanish Historical Syntax). The professor is really enthusiastic and passionate about the subject, and, as a linguistics nerd, it definitely seems like a really interesting course. I was going to give some examples of the super awesome stuff we’ve learned so far, but I realize SOV/SVO word order and category changes aren’t as fascinating to the rest of the world as they are to me, so I’ll keep that to myself. 🙂

The last class of the day was Morfología histórica de español (Spanish Historical Morphology), and, oh man, this class was so unintentionally hilarious. Apparently Spanish students (or at least linguistics students) all know Latin, so the whole class was the professor saying, “This is just review, but how does this Latin word translate into Spanish? This is just review!” and I quickly learned that this class was not for me. That’s okay, I needed another one to drop anyway.

So, I’m taking Psycholinguistics, Spanish Dialectology, Interpersonal Communication, and Spanish Historical Syntax, all of which I really like so far. Woohoo! And my schedule is amazing. Mondays and Tuesdays, I have class from 8:30 to 11:30, 1 to 1:50, and 6 to 7:30, but Wednesdays I only have class from 1 to 1:50, and Thursdays and Fridays, I have no class! I LOVE it, and it means lots of weekend traveling for me! I think it’s funny that I’m taking more units this semester than I have in any quarter at UCLA, yet I only have 12 hours a week of class. Man, college, especially college in Spain, is so awesome. Transitioning into the real world is going to be difficult.

So, yeah, definitely a good first week of class. I managed to find all my classrooms, despite how ginormous and unlabeled the Complutense campus is, I liked all my classes, my Spanish and Comm advisers said my classes should count toward my major and minor, I finally have my abono (monthly metro pass), it thunderstormed last night, I have a five and a half day weekend (Monday is a national holiday!), and Kate Tucci is flying to Madrid tomorrow to hang out for the weekend!

Oh, also, fun travel news! My program is offering a free (yes, free!) weekend trip to Córdoba and Granada next month. Gah, I’m so verklempt. I’ve been dying to return to Granada since I was there in 2006, and now I get to return for free! And Córdoba is pretty awesome too, plus I can visit Sara Hollar there. And then Sara and I are planning to take a trip to Paris the weekend before I come home for Christmas, and I can imagine Paris will be gorgeous at Christmastime. Hopefully there will be other trips in between too, now that I have such long weekends.

I’m still planning to post about Ireland, so I’ll get that done soon. I hope you’re all doing well too!

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