Monday, June 9, 2014

Melvin and Pablo El Dragon in Spain

This semester has been a great ride. I have grown immensely and come into myself in ways that I did not imagine prior to coming abroad. I have learned a lot about myself and gained a great deal of wisdom from my time here in Spain. During my semester here I have set goals to learn the Spanish language so my course load was light, but language focused. I took Translation I, Spanish Language, Spanish for International Students and a French course for a little variety. In these courses I have gained a greater understanding of how to use Spanish and also how it varies from Spanish spoken in other regions. Here is a picture of my faculty where I attend school.   
At the Universidad de Extremadura in Caceres

The registration system here is really hectic and frustrating and even at exam time I was not registered for two courses even though I had visited my registrar 3 times during the semester. Most classes here didn’t start on time due to the culture of the country and the loose way time is viewed here. I had one professor who consistently arrived to an hour-long class more than 15 minutes late, but this was not a problem for the students.

One of the things I had to become accustomed to here is the infamous siesta (daily nap time). I completed a summer program in Spain in 2012 and since Madrid is so industrial the siesta is not observed there. However, once I arrived here it took me a couple days to learn that the siesta is observed here and most businesses are closed from 2pm to 5pm. Coming from the Unites States where hard work is a pervasive ideology I could not grasp why anyone would not want to continue working during 3 of the most important hours of the day. But shortly after becoming accustomed to the siesta I soon began to nap as well with the rest of the population in my small town. 

Pablo taking in Caceres

This is a picture of Pablo el dragón on the balcony of my building where I often go to look at my part of the city and clear my head. This view is what really sold me on choosing this apartment. I am very pensive and a view of the city from up high really helps me gain perspective.
Pablo looking over Plaza Mayor
Plaza Mayor is located in the oldest part of the city of Caceres. It is here where many celebrations take place and people come to spend time with their friends and families. I can appreciate the glimpse into the past that these castle-like buildings offer because it is reminiscent of a slower more quiet time. It is also here in this plaza where many festivals and shows take place such as the festival of San Jorge where a play is shown and afterward they burn a large wooden dragon that they’ve constructed for that purpose.

My time here in Spain has been incredible and I have gained a lot that will prepare me for life once I return to the States. It has also been great having Pablo my little piece of home with me. Now we must enjoy this time we have left before I return home on August 4th.

Melvin Clark and Pablo
Universidad del Extremadura
Caceres, Spain