I should probably start this off on a little more of a positive note than the title suggests. Being a student in Spain isn't terrible. In fact, in most ways it's very similar to being a student in the US. Assignments are similar, the professors are all helpful, and the classes are about the same length. However, at the same time there are a few small things that do plague my life as a student here in Spain, so I decided to tell you all about them
1. 1.5 spacing
This is absolutely the bane of my existence as a student in Spain. In the United States it is very rare to write a paper without it being double spaced. Ever since I started writing long essays in high school I thanked Jesus for the gift of double spacing. An eight page paper sounds intimidating, but when it's double spaced you know that in reality you only need to write about 8/9 strong paragraphs to make it the length required. But now I'm in Spain, and here it is completely absurd to write a double spaced paper (one of our professors actually laughed at us when we asked him if we could). In Spain every paper or assignment has to be 1.5 spaced. Now you would think that .5 would not make that much of a difference, but you'd be wrong. It makes a world of difference. Suddenly it's a billion times more daunting and difficult to write an eight page paper. I hate 1.5 spacing with every fiber of my being. However, I do have to give a lot of props to all the Spanish students who have been doing this their whole life. It makes me feel a little bit like American students have it too easy with the whole double spacing thing. But don't get me wrong, I'm more than happy to keep double spacing forever and ever. (AKA I can't wait to get back to my US college classes so I can leave 1.5 spacing in the dark memories of my past).
2. Reading academic articles in Spainish
Okay yes, I am indeed a Spanish minor studying in a full immersion Spanish language program in Spain, but admitedly, my Spanish isn't the best. I've studied the language for about seven years now so you'd think I'd be better at it, but Spanish has never been something that has come super easily to me. Because of this, I still at times struggle when reading in Spanish, especially when I'm reading scholarly essays for class. I mean, if I'm being honest, I'm sure everyone can agree that there have been times when you're reading a journal in English and you don't even understand what the author is trying to say. A lot of times these people are very well educated in their field and they will use words, phrasing, or topics that just aren't easy to understand as an average human. Now, take that same scenario and translate everything into Spanish and ask a non-native to read. understand, and interpret it.....yeah it sucks. The expectation to be reading at the level of a native Spanish college student is very intimidating and hard for me to live up to. I've spent a lot of time completely lost in the readings that my professors have given me. But I suppose that it's all a part of the experience. (And God bless my profs who give us the articles in both Spanish and English, you da best).
3. Not having a sufficient library for studying
Being in Spain has made me realize that American universities are OBSESSED with having gigantic libraries readily available to their students. The library is like the heart of academia on US campuses. American libraries have multiple floors with endless amounts of tables, desks, cubicles, couches, computers, outlets, books, databases, literally everythingggggg. My experience in Spain has not been nearly the same. There is one decent sized library in Salamanca, but it's like an actual library, not and American library. AKA it's filled with books, not working space. The library in Salamanca has only a few small tables and they're almost always full. So where does an American student do her hours and hours of studying???????? That was the exact question I had when I arrived in Spain. (Side note: I've learned that studying isn't actually a huge deal for Spanish students, they don't camp out in the library and cram for days and days leading up to their exams, they just don't really care that much, it's very different in comparison to how American students function). I suppose that this lack of intense studying is why they don't have gigantic study spaces like we do in the US, but that doesn't mean that it isn't very annoying and difficult to adjust to. Luckily, my friends and I found a decent sized cafe in town with wifi access and lots of tables to do homework at, but the lack of outlets and the fact that you need to buy something in order to camp out there all day is not convenient at all.
So that's my little rant about being a student in Spain. I mean on the bright side, at least here in Spain classes are only scheduled Monday through Thursday (three day weekends can never be a complaint). Overall it could definitely be worse, but even still I can't wait to get back to my US college classes ASAP.
With love from Spain,
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<p>I’m a 20 year old student attending Gettysburg College where I study English with a focus on writing and Spanish. I come from a big, close-knit Italian family, am in love with reading and writing, and am always open to new experiences. I hope to be as creative as possible in everything I do and can't wait to find influence from my semester in Salamanca!</p>