Para empezar_by Naomi

Hola chicos! My name is Naomi, I am a senior at Skidmore College majoring in sociology with a minor in Spanish and yes! I am spending my last semester of college in Madrid, Spain. I was always interested in studying abroad but since I am a transfer student, that opportunity wound up aligning with my last semester. I am sure you will get to know me well over the course of these blogs but to get you started: I am from Albany, New York; I started college at 16; I play piano; and I will always claim to be 5’¾” as my height. More fun facts coming your way in the upcoming blogs!

Classes began last week. I am taking four classes at the Tufts-Skidmore Program Center: Identity and Intersectionality in Spain; Sex, Lies & Intrigue: Women & Patriarchy in Spanish Golden Age Drama; In Women’s Words: Feminist Literary Discourse in Spain & Latin America; and my Spanish language course. So far, my classes seem interesting and I like how trips around Madrid are included to complete certain assignments. For example, for Sex, Lies & Intrigue I will go to The Casa Museo Lope de Vega and/or The Corral de Comedias de Alcalá de Henares. Skidmore College is located in the small town of Saratoga Springs, New York so it is neat that my professors are utilizing the big city of Madrid as a teaching tool.

For my Sex, Lies & Intrigure class, we are reading parts of La Celestina, a play about a witch that helps a young nobleman, Calisto, win the love of Melibea. The play ends in tragedy (as many plays do), but is considered a tragicomedia. I won’t lie, I feel pretty challenged by this work as there are many words I am unfamiliar with and the language is a bit different from the Spanish we use today. In turn, I value class time all the more as my professor and peers help make sense of the text. I did not know a lot about Spanish literature coming to Spain, therefore, my experience feels strengthened by starting off with a classic.

Something really cool is that La Celestina is commonly read by students here. My host brother read it and so will my younger host brother when he gets older. It is nice to have something in common that is more academically based as opposed to our shared enjoyment of futbol.

We are now into the second week of school and I am feeling more comfortable in my classes. We still have a long way to go before the end of this program but I can already tell that having classes in Spanish about topics within Spain will allow me to grow in ways I could not have done without this study abroad experience. I anticipate improvement in my Spanish comprehension, speaking abilities, and knowledge about the history of Spain as well as its present day lifestyle. Guess we’ll have to wait until the end of the semester to see if I become a true madrileña.

Tu Amiga, Naomi

Naomi Roter, student blogger primavera 2020                                                

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