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How To: Study (while) Abroad

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Whether you’re first researching cities and countries or already packing your suitcase, it’s almost impossible to keep yourself from imagining what your new life abroad will look like. I found myself picturing my city, my host family, the friends I would meet, and the trips I would take. But with all of those exciting things also comes the “study” part of study abroad. After almost a whole semester (where has the time gone?) in Granada, here are my thoughts on the academic side of study abroad!
 Walking up the CLM (to the left is the Potemkin cafe, I recommend the tostadas)

CEA hosts its classes through the University of Granada in one of two locations: the Kenya Building or the Centro de Lenguas Modernas. Classes meet twice per week for 1.5-2 hours, and you have freedom in selecting classes that interest you and work with your degree! You can also gear your classes towards mornings or afternoons, depending on your preference.
 Views from the second floor of the CLM (the roof is solid skylights that actually open!)
 
 The central patio of the CLM

In my opinion, the in-class dynamic here is a similar, slightly more relaxed version of my home university. Classes at the CLM are relatively small, are based on a lecture or activities, and heavily weight attendance and participation. In some, such as grammar, we learn a new concept and then work through different exercises to practice; in other classes, the class is more centered around a lecture. I’ve had a mix between the two styles this semester, and I've loved all of my classes.
 Examples of some exercise packets from my Grammar class

The biggest difference that I have noticed in school in Spain is the amount of homework assigned. Like every college student in the US, I often feel like there are insufficient hours in a day to finish my assignments, sleep, exercise, and maintain a social life. That has not been the case here at all. Teachers usually assign less homework but expect you to take the initiative to ask for extra practice if needed. This gives you more freedom to focus on areas in which you need to improve, and cuts down on wasted time. That being said, staying on top of your lessons is essential, as you're expected to retain what you learn throughout the semester. Be sure to study regularly what you learn in class and don't hesitate to keep reviewing old material!
 At the Prado Museum in Madrid viewing the same pieces I learned about in class!

All in all, if I had the opportunity to stay here for the rest of my college experience, I would take it in a heartbeat. I have learned more in one semester than I thought possible, my Spanish has drastically improved, and there's a balance here between school and regular life that I absolutely love.

Megan V. is the Fall 2017 CEA MOJO Blogger in Granada, Spain. She is currently a Junior studying Political Science and Spanish at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. 



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