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International School: A Day of Class in Granada

People say love is an international language. Well so is school. Sure, different countries speak in different languages in different classroom settings but it’s basically the same at the core. Heading into my third week of classes in Granada I’ve settled into a pattern.

The following is my typical schedule:

7:55 a.m. – Alarm goes off. Hit snooze.

8:04 a.m. – Alarm goes off. Get up, get dressed and head to the bathroom to get ready for the day.

8:19 a.m. – Meander through the kitchen while my host parents start making breakfast. Wonder if I should finish getting ready or sit and watch their well-practiced morning routine of preparing breakfast.

8:22 a.m. – Eat a delicious Spanish breakfast of tostada and Cola Cao. Instead of the usual toaster in America, my host parents make toast by putting the bread in a George Forman-like grill. We each have two pieces of toast each morning, the first with a generous serving of olive oil, crushed tomato and a piece of meat that I’m 95% sure is ham but I always forget to ask, and the second with butter and homemade jam. Cola Cao is similar to hot chocolate but better.

8:35 a.m. – Clean up from breakfast while my host parents quiz me on my kitchen vocabulary.

8:40 a.m. – Finish getting ready for class.

8:45 a.m. – Tell myself I need to leave for class.

8:52 a.m. – Leave for class. Grab an apple for later on the way out.

9:00 a.m. – Arrive to class*.

*This is one aspect of class I am sure is universal: we all arrive at the last possible moment before class starts. I get to class right at 9 and am not the last to enter the classroom.

9:00-10:45 a.m. – Attend first class of the day. With a class of 14, we arrange our desks in a circle and we go over Spanish grammar and vocabulary. During class we go over our homework, learn new grammar and work on exercises from our textbooks. Right now I am in an intensive Spanish language course and all of my classes are with other international students, most of whom are also from the United States. It feels just like my Spanish classes in America, except we actually speak Spanish most of the time*.

*Even in Spain we don’t always remember to speak Spanish in Spanish class.

 The typical setup of my classroom. My professor likes to create an atmosphere open to conversation.

10:45-11:15 a.m. – Pausa. We get a break in the middle of classes so we can get coffee, eat our second breakfast (or the apple from home) and socialize or a little bit.

 Several classes have a break at the same time each day so we all mingle and eat our snacks (usually apples) from home.

11:15 a.m.-1 p.m. – Second half of class. We switch teachers and learn more grammar.

1:15 p.m. – Head home for lunch and my afternoon siesta. Yes, I am basically forced to take a nap every day, the whole city of Granada closes down from 2-5:30 every afternoon. Woe is me.

 Once I get home it's time to do homework and relax a little before any possible evening activities.

The rest of my day is spent working on homework, hanging out with my host family and exploring Granada with my classmates. Dinner is usually smaller and much later than in the U.S. We usually eat around 9:30 or 10 p.m. Some nights I will go on a walk through the city with my host family. I might be settled into my routine here but I still can’t believe I am so blessed to live in a place filled with as much culture as Granada, where no matter where you walk you are bound to see street performers, fountains, statues and ancient cathedrals. My time has just begun and I can’t wait to see more of this amazing city!

Amber Johnson is the Fall 2014 CEA MOJO in Granada, Spain. She is currently a junior at Colorado State University.

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