la curva de aprendizaje (the learning curve)

Michelle Saylor
March 5, 2019

What’s been happening here, you may ask? As we wrap up the second week of classes, I have learned much more than I expected (naturally with study abroad, both in and out of the classroom). What I am quickly coming to realize is that this is going to be a semester of learning, and all great knowledge understanding starts with a learning curve.

The Walking Curve:

Let me start by saying this is the most exercise I’ve ever gotten in my life. Since there’s only one train in Granada (and it goes from a station in el centro to the mall), everyone walks everywhere. I average five miles a day walking here which is a huge improvement from the 0.64 miles I was averaging when I was home for winter break. I thought the biggest learning curve was going to be my Spanish language ability (I’ll get into that later) but I stand corrected: the biggest learning curve is for my BODY to get used to all walking!

The Independence Curve:

So I actually opted to live in an apartment with two other girls in a sweet neighborhood instead of living in a homestay. For me, this was the best option, but, as with any living situation, it comes with its own set of challenges. I am currently struggling to find the joy in cooking that everyone speaks so highly about. Before coming here, I consulted many friends and family about easy dishes to cook and everyone just kept reinforcing how easy it is and not to worry. This has gotten me nowhere. I’ve cooked black beans three times now and managed to mess them up every time. I can cook chicken and eggs and pasta so that’s been my diet since being here. I am learning, just very, VERY slowly. Youtube tutorials have been a good friend of mine since being here.

The Sociocultural Curve:

To calm everyone’s fears, yes, I am making friends. Everyone on this program is interesting and excited and ready for an adventure (my kind of people). Since Granada is a little off-the-beaten-path, the group here is self-selecting. There is so much fun to have here and I have been learning and doing with the people on this program! As for the culture of the city itself, free tapas are truly a dream and a two-hour siesta (country-wide nap time) every day makes me feel like I’m living in a fairy tale. This country is doing something very right.

The Language Curve:

Now, to the question of the hour: how’s my Spanish? No esta mala! If you’ve been following my blogs, you know I came here with little to no Spanish language skills. Everyone (truly everyone) told me that within a month my Spanish will have improved dramatically…well…it’s been a month…and yet Google translate is still my homepage! Don’t get me wrong, I am learning a ton and my comprehension skills are improving noticeably. However, my speaking and vocabulary are getting better, just not NEARLY as quickly as everyone said it would! I came in thinking if I live in this city then I would just become a Spaniard fluent in Spanish, and yet here I am, still American and now confused where I got that idea from. I still believe that in three months it will come to me (“it” meaning transforming into a Spaniard). Hablo pronto!

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Michelle Saylor

<p>I love to laugh and think that's sometimes the best medicine. I spent this past summer dissecting human brains in a lab and the summer before that being an over-night counselor for eighteen twelve-year-old girls. I love to produce music and foster dogs. I took psychophysics class my very first semester by mistake (the pre-requists were calculus and physics: neither of which I had taken so it's still unclear who let<br>me into that class) which was truly the hardest class of my life but I stayed in it the whole semester and worked harder than I ever previously had and wound up doing well - still proud of that one! There are a lot of parts to me, and I'm happy to keep figuring them all out!</p>

2019 Spring
Home University:
Brandeis University
Needham, MA
Health Studies
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