Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

here comes the sun!

I saw my shadow today!  I was sitting on the grass in front of the cafeteria eating Leah´s avocado and then there it was, right next to me, right where it used to be all the time…until I came to study spanish in Lima.  It´s winter here now, which instead of meaning snow or rain or freezing temperatures just means GREY.  Since I got here about a month and a half ago (wow) I´ve seen the sun in the city for an hour or two at a time, on maybe four different days.  It should start to get better soon as we get closer to summer, and I can´t wait!

The kind of amazing thing is that it´s just Lima that´s like this;
when we went to Caral a few weeks ago the sun was beating down on us as we toured the ruins. As we rode the bus back into the city we could tell we´d made it back when we no longer had to squint our eyes to see out the windows.  Even in certain outer areas of the city there´s sun a lot of the time.  Unfortunately, where I hang out it tends to be pretty grey.

So today was exciting!  In an effort to take advantage of the weather, I decided to find a quiet space and read a bit on the grass after lunch.  Obviously that didn´t happen…how could I read when I was busy being deliriously happy with the feeling of the sun on my shoulders?  Leah and I ended up playing catch with a small orange for a good half an hour…and it was surprisingly amusing, especially when it bounced off my head or hit a building and split open and then squirted juice everywhere (don´t worry Whittemores: I´m not wasting fruit, it was already bruised and moldy when we started :] ).

Anyway, when I´m not experiencing sun-induced regression to childhood, what do I do with my life?

I spend a lot of it at La Católica, the university, and a lot of it on public transportation trying to get there or back.   The university is completely closed off from the street, and I have to show my ID card to get in every morning (I feel so official!).  The street outside is really busy and dirty, but inside is very nice and green and pretty.  It´s not like Brown or other traditional US universities with big brick buildins around a main green…it has lots of small buildings connected by paths and walkways through green lawn areas.  The buildings mostly are designated as belonging to a facultad, which is like a department (math, social sciences, etc), and tend to look pretty different from each other.  There are a bunch of cafeterias scattered around that are named after different areas of study, but since I don´t belong to a particular facultad I just eat at the one that I think is the best, which is right in the middle of campus.

Católica doesn´t have dorms on campus, since most students still live with their parents while they´re attending school.  In between classes the students either go to a library, a study room, a cafeteria, or hang out on the grass (my place of choice).  It´s great because there are always people around, and it´s not a huge campus so I can usually find someone I know if I want to wander around long enough. the bad part of it is that all the couples have nowhere to go to do their couple-y things, so sometimes my favorite reading nooks are occupied by people who…well, people who aren´t reading.  Less frequently I come across another interesting thing about la Católica–the deer that live and roam around freely on the campus.  It´s said that they escaped from the zoo nearby a few years ago and now they make their home on campus.  I don´t know how many there are, but I see them every day, and occasionally even see one of the two little fawns…so cute!

Students here take two years of classes in the school of general studies, and then three years of study in their major in a particular facultad.  Since most of the classes they take are required and in a certain order, a lot of people have their classes with a set group of people every semester.  For example in one of my classes there´s only one student in the class who is not in the facultad, and almost everyone in the class is in their second semester of the major.  So they all know each other, which is definitely different than a lot of my classes at Brown, where I wouldn´t know a single person.

I´m taking 2 courses that are required by the IFSA-Butler study spanish in Peru program: a writing/grammar class and a class called “Peruvian Social Reality.”  Other than that I am taking one class in the school of general studies (history) and one in the language arts type facultad (sociolinguistics).  I also am sitting in on a class in the comunication department, but I´m not officially taking that one.

My classes are mostly really interesting, but I don´t find myself having to do much work.  That surprised me, since I was expecting to have reading to do, and to spend a lot of time on it deciphering unfamiliar Spanish words.  But it turns out some of my classes don´t have any reading, and the sociolinguistics class has a lot–in English!  While that´s good for my comprehension and general sociolinguistics-learning, it´s a little disappointing too, since any Spanish practice disguised as something else is helpful.

Oh well, it just means more time to play catch with fruit or nap on the grass in the sun!


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