Thursday, August 20, 2009

September, in a nutshell

I suppose I'll begin posting while I still have spare time on my hands...

Firstly, kudos to Meeker for the blog title. Wish I could take the credit, but I can't. Nice work.

Here's a brief overview of what my first month will look like:

I fly out on August 31. Since I'm taking the optional group flight, a bus will pick us up from the airport in Madrid and take us straight to the building we need to be at. Orientation will start once we arrive, and continue for about three more days.

Our "Curso Intensivo" classes run from Sept. 7-25, with exams on Sept. 29-30. However, by Wednesday Sept. 16 at 9:00am, we must be moved out of the dorms. So during those first two weeks, I'll be apartment hunting in my spare time. Past students have told us that finding an apartment is frustrating, and one of the more challenging parts of their time abroad. So I'm expecting the worst, I guess.

At some point in September, we'll enroll in classes for the fall semester. We will need to take at least one course from the Complutense, and the other three are Reunidas courses. (Second semester we'll need to take at least two courses from the Complutense and the other three will be Reunidas.)

Explanation of Reunidas/Complutense from our handbook:
"Universidades Reunidas is a consortium of American universities that has been in operation for more than 40 years and offers about 30 special three-credit courses in the humanities and social sciences for American students only. All courses are taught in Spanish by University of Madrid professors in the Geography and History building, where teh WIP program office is located."

"The University of Madrid (also called La Universidad Complutense de Madrid) is the national university (practically all other Spanish universities are state institutions) and, like all other educational institutions in Spain, is ultimately under the control of the Ministry of Education. Complutense courses are regularly-scheduled University of Madrid classes with Spanish classmates. While Reunidas classes have the advantage of greater structure and a more familiar academic environment, it is also important for you to participate in the Spanish university system. Complutense offerings span a full range of depth and breadth in world geography and history, world literature, anthropology, philosophy, and economics."

So... that's what September looks like from afar. It's not so far away though - 11 days until I leave!