The First Week of the Year Abroad

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.

Also, a big shout out to my friends at Satan’s Coffee Corner and Feeld Organic for fuelling my coffee and organic food addiction respectively.

All in all, I’m loving life and I’d be happy to just live/study here full-time!