Last week I started my class at Universidad de Sevilla. Through Spanish Studies Abroad, I am not only able to take classes at a local university, but I take those classes with other local students which forces me to be completely integrated into the study abroad experience.
This semester I will be taking classes at the Filología (Philology) department taking a class called “Cervantes”, which focuses on all the great works of the greatest Spanish writer, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. So I will be reading, writing and analyzing, A LOT…
Going into my first day of classes I was really, really nervous because I had no idea what to expect, I didn’t know how big my class would be, what the expectations would be, I didn’t know anyone in the class and honestly, I had no idea how the system worked here. After waking up nice and early for my class, I got to what was supposed to be my classroom 10 minutes before class started, and while I sat there and heard people’s conversations I realized I was in the wrong classroom… I turned to the girl sitting next to me and asked her if this was the Cervantes class, she said “no, our group has that at 7:30 tonight”… so that was a great start to my first day. I made my way to the department’s front desk and explained to them that my schedule had that classroom number, but that it was the wrong class. They looked up my class and sent me to the right classroom, just in time for class to start.
Once I finally got to the right classroom I found a seat and waited for my class to start. I realized that everyone in the class knew each other which was very intimidating. Here people are divided into different groups, and each group has to take the same classes at the same time for the length of their university career, so these people have taken every class for the past year and a half together and there I was, a random person sitting in the middle of the classroom… Everyone in my class is a philology major (Spanish literature) in their second year, they have studied all kinds of Spanish literature from pre-medieval lit to 20th-century lit, so being in the room with all of them, in an environment where our professor not only wants but expects participation from everyone was very scary.
As my professor started to speak and give an introduction of the class I started to feel more comfortable and at home in that classroom. When I was a little girl my favorite thing to do was read and write, I remember reading “Don Quijote” (the kids version, of course) and falling in love with the idea of being able to lose yourself in the magic of the written word. I read before going to bed, when I couldn’t sleep, I asked for books on my birthday and Christmas and it was all because of how much I had loved ‘Don Quijote’. Now as a smarter and more experienced person I will be able to share that love with people who love it as much as I do. As my professor started to speak about Cervantes, and how much he revolutionized literature I got goosebumps, the way he spoke and how much he seemed to care and know about these works of literature made me fall in love again with Don Quijote.
“Don Quijote is the Bible of humanity, every human emotion, every aspect of being human is in that book” – Professor Vasquez Medel (my professor)
I mean how cool is it to be able to read about society without even realizing it, thinking you’re reading about medieval adventures when in reality we’re reading about the issues of society(ok my sociology geek is coming out) all in one book. Every thought that’s ever crossed the human mind, every feeling that we are able to feel, every fear that floats our mind, everything told from the perspective of a “crazy man”, who in reality was probably saner than all of us right now.
After this first week, I know that this will probably be one of the most challenging classes I will have to take, but I am so excited to learn more about one, if not THE greatest writers in history. Also, many of the stories Cervantes writes were written in Sevilla, and how cool is it that I will walk around these places and learn not only about the magic of the written word that happened there, but also the history of this beautiful city.
Next week I’ll start my continuation classes at the Center for Cross Cultural studies…