A Small Step and a Giant Leap
The only word I have to describe these past two weeks: WOW. My life quickly changed from having nothing to do and knowing almost no one to having everything to do (at once) and meeting countless new faces. The first two weeks of classes were quite different to what I am used to in the United States. More than half of my classes were cancelled the first week for various reasons: sick professors, zonda winds, no-show professors, and no-show students. Classroom numbers were changed without prior notice, too (I learned this the hard way…no need to elaborate!). Finally, this past week seemed as though everything was settling down into a somewhat ‘normal’ routine. I don’t have nearly as many things to do as I would if I were at Shenandoah right now, but the things that I do have here take up much more time. For example, I am taking less than half of the number of classes here that I took last semester, but since the music classes here are annual and this is their Spring semester, I am having to learn a semester’s worth of previous material in order to understand what we are talking about now.
Another time consumer is the language barrier. Everyone has always told me that music is an international language. Perhaps the music part is, but the terminology needed in order to play music with others and/or learn about music in a classroom is far from international, and I haven’t learned much music terminology in my Spanish classes in the US.
Between attempting to learn a semester’s worth of previous information on my own (without last semester’s materials, might I add!), at the same time as learning new information in class, and trying to learn all of the music terminology in Spanish, my “Análisis y Morfología Musical” class is especially challenging. On the first day of class, the professor looked at me as though I was absolutely crazy to even attempt to start this class at semester, especially with my lack of fluency in Spanish. It was clear to me that she did not want me in the class. After learning that IFSA-Butler only has tutors available for language and literature classes, the IFSA office suggested that I maybe choose a different course. At this point, I began to wonder myself if I should choose something else. My host mom agreed as well after telling her about the first few classes. For those of you who know me, you know that I have always been somewhat stubborn, and I tend to do the opposite of what people tell me. More importantly, this is a class that I need to take to graduate, and I didn’t want to wait until my senior year to take it. With these factors combined, I decided to bite the bullet and take the class. Since then, the professor has been surprisingly helpful and understanding of my situation, and the other students in the class have offered their help to me in countless ways. Last week, we had our first “trabajo práctico” which is similar to a quiz or small exam in the States. I have included a picture of the exam below, which was handed back yesterday. I have never been so excited to see the word “aprobado” (passed) on an assignment! Although I still have a lot of material to learn before I see “aprobado” on my transcript, this seemingly small success was a huge realization that I can be successful at anything, if I am willing to put forth the effort.