Online classes started a little over a week ago and all things considered, I think they’re going well!
Initially when I learned that classes would be online, I was a little worried. All my life classes have been a physical space to engage with the teacher and other students. Working with other students has been made more difficult via Zoom but my teachers have been doing a really great job of facilitating classes with what we have.
In my class “En Boca de Mujer,” we had to read and watch the play La Casa de Bernarda Alba. Written by Federico Garcia Lorca, the story is that of a woman (Bernarda), her five daughters, and how Bernarda’s firm and harsh parenting represents the patriarchal system. Like any good play, love and death are key components. I had been struggling with understanding plays in my other class but what helped me with this play was watching a whole version online and reading an English translation alongside the original Spanish version. I don’t know if that is cheating but it helped me become more engaged in class and excited about the play so I think it’s okay.
For next week’s class I have to watch a movie on Frida Kahlo and research one of her paintings. I have studied Frida Kahlo a bit in other Spanish classes but after seeing some of her paintings last year at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts, I am eager to learn more about her life. In my “En Boca de Mujer” class I enjoy how diverse the content is from plays to art to movies. While I enjoy reading, I also am a visual learner so to see how different themes (such as gender inequality) are depicted in different ways allows for interesting discussions.
Generally, online classes have been a good compromise regarding the continuation of my study abroad experience at home. Sure, study abroad is about more than just classes but as someone who is still learning Spanish, sitting in class for an hour and twenty minutes Monday through Thursday and getting supplementary work beyond that time has been very helpful. I also appreciate how supportive the professors and Tufts-Skidmore staff are, available to help whenever possible. Even though we are an ocean apart now, I know I can always count on them.
I’ll admit though that I was not initially excited about online classes. What senior wants to finish college by clicking a button on a screen? While it was hard at first, I found comfort in knowing that it isn’t just me who would miss out on monumental occasions. Everyone is losing something and from that we gain each other. It is just the beginning of online learning but I think everything will go well. The world has adapted to the circumstances everyone is facing and all I can imagine is how much worse it would be if we did not have technology. It is nice to know that although the world is not currently functioning at full speed, we have not stopped moving forward.
Naomi Roter, student blogger primavera 2020