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School is Here, Have no Fear!

As I’ve settled down in Barcelona, I’m now getting the swing of my surroundings, my school schedule, and how to get to class. At first, it felt like I was on vacation, but now that classes have started its settling in that Barcelona will be home for the next couple months.
 Ana Sans, my onsite helper who greets us everyday!

School abroad surprisingly has a lot more similarities to school in America. Upon arriving to class every day, the teacher takes attendance and then we begin our class discussion on the topic for that day and the class reading. One of the greatest things about class abroad is how interesting and relevant the subject matter feels (and that there is no class on Fridays). Coming into school, I thought that my "Culture of Food and Wine in Spain" class was going to be extremely simple. However, after a few lectures, I actually feel that I am enriching myself in Spanish culture and the history of cuisine and common practices within Spain. Every night we are given a reading—and it is always something that is thought provoking and relateable to what my life has been like in Spain.
 One of my teachers taking us through our class discussion

Similarly, I am taking a class called "Communication and Global Competence," which has been a big discussion of what culture is and how to embrace cultural differences. This has been useful in adapting to my surroundings and learning to suspend judgement about those of different cultures. This has helped me open my eyes and really push my boundaries. Our first assignment was to go to a café alone and order a coffee and observe our surroundings. This was the first time I was truly independent since being here, and it showed me that I am way more capable of being alone than I thought. This prompted me to want to explore Barcelona a little bit more on my own!
 Computer area at school

The largest difference I’ve noticed is the rules in the classroom. Although many of the rules are similar, there is an extremely strict no cell phone rule, usually no laptops are allowed, no coffee or food, and no bathroom breaks. In America, we are used to coming and going as we please, hiding our phones in class, and eating or drinking whenever we want. It is not like that at the CEA Center, but the teachers find a way to make it funny. In one of my classes, my teacher refers to our phones as dangerous weapons and he often reminds us how connected we are to them. His sarcasm helps us all take a step back and really listen to class.
 Study room at the CEA Center
 
 Cool hangout area at the CEA Center!

Overall, the transition into school in Barcelona has been a very easy and welcoming experience. The CEA staff are incredibly helpful and hands on, and they made it clear that they are here for whatever we may need.

Elizabeth C. is the Fall 2016 CEA MOJO in Barcelona, Spain. She is currently a junior studying American Studies and Marketing at Miami University.



Elizabeth Colwell is the Fall 2016 CEA MOJO Blogger in Barcelona, Spain, and is currently studying at Miami University.
 
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