And, now, I can breathe…. I’ve finished the first week of my year abroad and I still don’t miss England.
Where shall I start? I’m studying Political Science in Catalan and Spanish here at the Universitat de Barcelona‘s Facultat de Dret (law school). I’m living right opposite my department too, in a university-owned residency of 600 students right on Barcelona’s Avinguda Diagonal, next door to Pedralbes (a very posh part of Barcelona)
There’s no cosy lie-ins here, nor do I have late starts like in the UK. I’m up at 7am every day, like I used to do for school, as I’m in lectures at 0830; there’s no being even a minute late to a lecture here… Tardiness is seriously frowned upon.
The classes remind me more of school in England than English university lectures; they are sooooo fast-paced. Basically, the professor stands at the front of the class and recites a load of information (occasionally pausing to write on the blackboard) to a bunch of students who duly write down every word their lecturer espouses. There’s very few PowerPoints here.
The classes I’m really enjoying are constitutional theory (the professor reminds me a lot of Peter Kerr), comparative political systems (this professor is such a nice guy and I’m going to meet with him after classes regularly so that I can straighten out the bits of information that I have missed or need clarifying), and political theory (Go Machiavelli!). Next week, I’m starting a module on international politics (a fourth year module) which I hope will resemble my IR modules from Birmingham.
Now, on to my fantastic residency, the Col·legi Major Penyafort-Monserrat. This place is more like an Oxbridge college than a normal university residency back home. The people here are so friendly and the facilities are outstanding. We have the most awesome, friendly receptionists, who’ve been first-class and ever-so-friendly, speaking to me every time I go past their little office. I also have a wonderful cleaner (a Brazilian… We’re both foreigners and we’ve made common cause in that respect), who comes in and tidies up my room every day. In terms of facilities, I have a comparatively small room to the one I had in Birmingham (the fully accessible bathroom is at the other end of the corridor), but I love it sooo much. Further to this, we’ve got a awesome dinner hall downstairs (the vegetarian options here are incredible), five different study rooms (open all hours), and a decent-sized library.
All in all, I’m loving life and I’d be happy to just live/study here full-time!