Classes – Week 1
Well, it is definitely a transition. I think I prefer one hour classes to three to four hour classes. Here classes are between two and a half and four hours one day a week instead of one to two hours two to three days a week. This means to stay awake for the whole time you have to have gotten plenty of sleep and caffeine and be interested in the subject. If you are taking a class because you need it and not because you find the topic interesting you are in trouble. This can be hard as we register after everyone else and some classes are full.
Registration is definitely an interesting process. You don’t want classes on Fridays so you can extend your weekend for travel. For same that means no classes on Monday either. No such luck for me in that department. You also want to try and register for a few extra classes with the intention of dropping them after a week or two. This means if a classes is harder than you thought it would be, not as interesting as you had hoped, or the teacher speaks in Spanish you have no chance of understanding you aren’t left stuck.
This week I had three extra classes. And three classes I have yet to go to. I think I know which classes I will keep but we shall see after I go to the last few. My host sister took one of them her first year and she said it was a good class. The prof is friendly, you don’t get graded on attendance or tardiness, and everyone gets an A. It is also a class that sounds really interesting, Indigenous Ecology. But it is on Fridays.
The big thing this week has been missed communication. My first class was in a hidden classroom none of us could find and started two hours before we were told. My third class had a room change. My fourth class started an hour later than we were told, in the States everyone would have left, here we were all still waiting around when the prof showed up at ten til. I wasn’t going to leave if the Ticos weren’t! I will have to see how things go tomorrow with my last new classes. Then it is back to Jose the registration help to drop my extra classes.
It is interesting here though. They don’t have textbooks. If there is reading material you need for a class the professors take the originals to the copy shops and tell them what pages are needed for the class. You then go and pay anywhere from $3-10 bucks for the copied version with only the relevant pages. The readings could all be from one text or from many all compiled and they are all properly cited. I have had to do that for two classes and I have a literature class that has a few individual readings you have to buy that are going to cost less than a dollar and a few others on a CD that the class provides. The University is surrounded by copy centers, over twenty plus one actually on campus. Each prof has a different one that they go to for with the class readings so you have to find out which copy center they use on the first day when you get your syllabus. Then it is packed after class as half of the students go straight there.
It is nice to have my Mama Tica make me breakfast every morning and send me to school with lunch. It is pretty common to have a lunch from home here since most of the Ticos still live with their parents while they are in college. She just asks me every night if I am coming home for lunch or if I want her to pack me one. Then whenever I do get home she has an afternoon snack ready. Which is a good thing since my particular family tends not to eat dinner until about seven. Normally someone from the extended family or my host sister’s boyfriend comes and eats with us.
Now that the first week is almost over and I will be starting to go to classes for the second time soon it is time to start thinking about homework. I have readings and some research to do already. Better get to it.