JIYOUNG SIM- In the last post I wrote about the classes at the Spanish universities. In addition to the classes at the universities, you can also take courses at the program center to earn credits. Unlike the universities that are located outside of Madrid, our Madrid program center is located in the city. All the program courses take place at the program center in Madrid except some grammar courses given at the program center in Alcala. All the courses given at the program center are in Spanish. I am taking two courses at the program center. One is Spanish Grammar, which is a requirement, and the other is Sketchbook, which is a drawing class.
All students except full-year students who have already taken it in the fall semester must take a grammar course. Before you leave for Spain, you will have a short level test online and also have a short ten-minute interview to get assigned to a class. If the class does not fit your schedule, however, you can move to another class. I moved to another class because like I wrote in my previous post, I had to change my course schedule.
In class, we mostly learn grammar, vocabulary, and expressions. This class is different from any other Spanish grammar class I have taken and I find it very helpful. The grammar classes I have taken before were largely based on memorization, which made application of grammar in real conversation difficult. For example, I learned that I should use subjunctive form in certain situations like when I express emotions, for instance, and memorized a list of verbs. However, in the grammar class here, I learned why subjunctive forms are used and how they function in a sentence, which really helped me finally understand what subjunctive form does.
The other class I take here is Sketchbook. I really like this class because for this class we meet up in different location every week. We go to exhibitions, museums, gardens, and many other places to draw. I have always wanted to take an art class at Skidmore but did not have time to take one. So I thought this semester would be a perfect chance for me to take an art class and I am loving it so far.
I am taking two classes at University of Alcala and two at the program center, but you can also choose not to take any classes at the universities or just to take the grammar and nothing more at the program center based on your academic plans and preferences. The university classes and the program classes are quite different in many ways. Although the program classes are in Spanish as well, I personally think university classes are harder because they are designed for Spanish students while you take program classes with other students from the program. Program classes are much stricter with attendance. For every class, you can have up to one unjustified absence without affecting your grade. Also university classes are based much more on exams. In both of the university classes I take, the exams take up to 40 percent of the final grade. The evaluation in program classes are much more continual. You have homework and papers to submit, and you might also have a final project or a presentation depending on which class you take.