Good news: I have completed my first week of classes in Toledo and am well underway with week two. I only have classes on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, which means I have a 4 day weekend. Yet another reason to love Spain! I am taking 5 classes in total, and my advisor told me that I have “un horario muy equilibrado” – a very balanced schedule. Here are the classes I am taking:
- The Art of Reading Literary Texts in Spanish: This is an introduction to literature class taught by professor Ignacio Fernández, who goes by Nacho. Out of all of my professors, I think Nacho is my favorite. He is funny (in a way that I understand, because jokes are often one of the hardest things to understand in a different language) and he constantly reminds us that we are all learning and that it is okay to make mistakes. I was not looking forward to this literature class, but it is now one the most enjoyable parts of my school week!
- Spanish Phonetics: This is a class about the pronunciation of the Spanish language taught by professor Soledad Luque Delgado, who goes by Sol. We will talk a lot about sounds in the Spanish language that are difficult for native English speakers to produce, and will learn how to best pronounce these sounds. I might even learn how to roll my “r”s! I’m hoping that after this class, I speak a little bit less like an American and a little bit more like a Spaniard.
- Spain Since 1936: This is a Spanish history class taught by professor Eduardo Juárez Valero. Topics covered include The Second Republic, The Spanish Civil War, Francoism, and the transition to democracy. So far, though, we have just talked a lot about seafood! I’m not joking. Eduardo spent 20 minutes during the first day of class telling us about the most expensive seafood in Spain. (In case you are wondering, “angula”, or young eel, is the most expensive.) I’m sure there was a point to this lesson, but it just made me really hungry.
- Christian, Muslim, and Jewish Art in Toledo: This is a class about the art and architecture of the three cultures that have lived in Toledo over the years, taught by professor Ángel Aterido. I’m most excited for this class because half of the time, instead of being in the classroom, we will be walking around the city and seeing with our own eyes the art and architecture that we are learning about! I think it will be a great way to get to know Toledo better.
- Community Engagement and the Immigrant Experience in Spain: In this class, taught by professor Yukiko Okazaki who goes by Yuki*, I will learn about immigration in Spain and have the opportunity to volunteer with immigrants in the community. I don’t know yet where I will be volunteering, so stay tuned! Yuki is originally from Japan, and was a student at La Fundación when she was my age. Now, she is the director of the whole program!
*Fun fact: Yukiko goes by Yuki because, in Spanish, words that end in “o” are masculine, but Yuki is a woman! So, she dropped the “-ko” because too many people were referring to her as Mr. Yukiko Okazaki in emails. Smart!
One interesting thing to note is that, often, I meet for the same class twice in one day – once in the morning and once in the afternoon. I haven’t decided yet how I feel about this schedule, but regardless, I am truly excited about all of the classes that I am taking. I hope that at the end of the semester, I will have a more well rounded understanding of the Spanish language, the history and culture Spain as a whole, and the city of Toledo.