Reflexiones del semestre en MadridMadrid, Fall 2011

WOW!  These past three months have flown by!  It’s crazy to think that I only have three days left in this wonderful city.  I am once again finding myself filled with mixed emotions as my departure date nears: excited to return home to my family and friends and sad to leave behind the wonders of Madrid and all the great people I have met and the friendships I have formed.  Words cannot express how lucky I feel to have gotten this opportunity to study abroad here in Madrid this past semester. Looking back on everything I have done makes it feel like I’ve been here forever, though the past 3 months here have flown by….and before I know it I will be on a long flight(s) back home to Idaho.  Final exams have definitely made this last week here pass by much faster than usual.  Last Friday we were given our grammar final, where I found myself a bit sad as I waved goodbye to my grammar teacher Ana Martin, who was by far one of my favorite teachers I had in the program.  I learned a lot from this class, and my ability to write grammatically has improved greatly.  It’s been nice to see my improvement in my notebook full of graded compositions, where gradually Ana’s corrections became fewer and fewer until they disappeared in the most recent work.  I’m going to miss this class the most!   Monday started off with finals in two of my most challenging classes, thus my weekend was spent studying and re-studying my 30+ pages of typed notes and handouts of contemporary Spanish history and memorizing the names and dates of around 60 Spanish paintings that I figured could be on the exam.  Fortunately, the tests were not nearly as bad as I expected, and I left each one feeling confident that I did well.  On Tuesday I didn’t have any finals so it was a nice day to relax and study a little for my test that I took today for contemporary Spanish theater, which went equally as well. My favorite class, other than grammar, was my Spanish mythology class.  This class was one of the few I would get excited to attend each day due to the teacher’s spunky personality and his ability to make the classroom roar with laughter.  On the night before my trip to London, we attended a musical version of Persephone for the class.  At first I was a bit skeptical to attend because I figured I wouldn’t be able to understand, I still had three papers to attempt to tackle before my trip, and I hadn’t packed yet.  I was determined to leave in the middle of it to get back and get things done.  However, the musical hooked me in from the beginning and I ended up really enjoying the play and much to my surprise I understood the entire dialogue.  Not to mention it was very funny and the scenery and costumes were awesome.  My time as a student of IES Madrid will end tomorrow at approximately 1:20 when I finish the final exam for this class. As I sit in my room packing my suitcase and reflecting on this past semester it is still hard to believe that this semester has even happened, let alone that it is ending.  Before I got to Madrid I didn’t know what to expect and came here with the attitude to try new things and take advantage of every opportunity that came my way. Looking back, I don’t think I would change anything had I been given the choice.  I was told that I may take some time to adjust with my new surrounding and the difference of culture, but I didn’t have a problem.  The hardest part for me was managing my classes while fulfilling my travel goals. Most of students in my program did not have to worry about their grades transferring back to their schools, but in my case my grades earned abroad will follow me back to Redlands and factor into my G.P.A.  As of now, I feel pretty good about everything I have accomplished and the work I have put forth and I am optimistic about how I have done academically this semester… although I keep having to remind myself not to be too harsh a critic because none of my classes were in my native tongue!  It’s been great getting to see how well my Spanish has improved since I first arrived, and I have become more confident with my conversational skills.  Being abroad has definitely taught me valuable lessons I would not have learned in my Spanish courses back home, and has pushed me to pursue the Spanish major back at Redlands.  While my semester abroad has had its share of ups and downs I know for a fact that I will look back fondly on the memories I have made and will appreciate my adventures even more once I get home.  I plan on returning to Madrid in the future to show my family around the city that captured my heart in the three short months I was here.
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