Mis clases del programa

Wonderful stuff happens within the walls of the program’s classrooms

With finals season in full swing, the plague has hit me like clockwork. Lack of sleep and lots of work are always a deadly combo, but add living in a city as exciting as Madrid, and a whole new level appears. I can honestly say it requires SO much self-control to spend a day at my desk at home instead of spending the day out and about exploring. And, with only ten days left in Spain, (?!!!) naturally, the only thing I want to do is explore, but that will just have to wait.
This semester I was fortunate enough to only enroll in three classes, thanks to some frontloading I did in high school and in my past years at Skidmore. Like the rest of my peers in the program, I took Lengua Española Avanzada, (shoutout to my fellow Horizonte’s) in which we learned much needed colloquial vocabulary and grammar to survive in Spain. Some of the most useful things I learned were colloquial words and slang that you hear at least a hundred times a day in Spain, from “me apetece” to “coger el metro” to “tiene mala leche.” This lingo helped me to at least pose as a “nativa,” as our professor Enrique always says. Aside from our rapidly approaching final exam, we had a final video assignment to give a tour of some part of Madrid. My friend Amaya and I explored and filmed the Jardín Botánico de Madrid. I was lucky enough to have a very small, close-knit grammar class, which made it very memorable.
I began my Monday’s and Wednesday’s with En Boca de Mujer, taught by the brilliant Bethania Guerra de Lemos, which was also a small class of all women. We studied feminism through literature, but what I loved most about the class was that we only briefly read what is considered to be the main gender studies repertoire (Virgina Woolf/ Betty Friedan) only to compare these texts to the clearly superior texts that we read later on. The focus of the course was reading texts by “mujeres racializadas,” getting the perspective on feminism that Virginia Woolf and Betty Friedan failed to include. I catch myself getting a bit political here, forgive me, but my final paper is all about Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own,” and figuring out who did and didn’t fit in that space. (Hint: “mujeres racializadas” sure didn’t!) I absolutely loved En Boca and couldn’t recommend it more.
Lastly, each Tuesday afternoon I settled in for the long weekly class of Memoria y Ausencia. We managed to get through the daunting task of learning all about the Franco era up to today in just a semester with one class a week, and my favorite part of the course was the multitude of guest speakers who contributed to our perception of Spanish culture. From songwriters to filmmakers, we were lucky to get to chat with many locals. This is the course that I took the trip to El Valle de los Caídos trip with, which I blogged about back in the day, and that was certainly one of the most valuable memories of my semester. I’m working on a piece of fiction for my final, a series of letters from a multi generational Spanish family trying to retain their familial bonds despite their drastically different political views. This might sound familiar to the average American, too, sort of like trying to survive any thanksgiving dinner, since we all have that one uncle…
Para concluir, I’ve certainly had an interdisciplinary semester, as my courses have continued outside of the classroom, with field trips and even trips to see plays. I feel lucky to have had two young and intimidatingly smart female professors– that made a world of difference to me. It is a daunting yet fulfilling task to finish up these finals to cumulate the semester. Good luck to everyone!

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