Today marks the one month anniversary of arriving to Spain. We said goodbye to those in the one month program with a despedida dinner and tapas. After this month, we split from the program and are no longer together for excursions and cultural activities. We spent much of the month of June doing planned cultural activities with the people in our program, and eliminating that changes the dynamic of our daily schedules and our weekends. This is also the week when we take our finals and start the second summer session of classes. The grades in Spanish Universities rely a lot more on final exams than in American Universities. In the U.S., it is common for a final exam to be worth 10% of your grade, while in Spain it is 50%. Finals also tend to stretch out for several weeks, but in the summer session it is just one day of exams. In June, I took an intermediate level language class, and in July I take integrated culture and literature classes. I have been taking class in Spain long enough to where I occasionally forget to spell English words the right way, as my written language is on automatic pilot for Spanish.
This week, I saw my first movie in Spanish, which was the latest Jurassic World movie. The American movies come to Spain, but much later. Incredibles 2, for example, opened 2 weeks ago in the states, but it opens about a month and a half later in Spain. Because Jurassic World is so action-packed and the concept is so well-known, it was a good movie to start with for the language barrier.
This past weekend, I celebrated the end of my month in Spain with a trip to Morocco. It was my first trip to Africa and my first trip outside of Spain. The main language Arabic, but many who live their speak good Spanish, because Morocco is so close to Spain. Because of the tourist cities, many can speak some English, but not a lot. One of the things that I was most impressed by was the architecture. Tétouan, for example, is a white city built into the mountainous regions of the landscape, and resembles Minus Tirith, a mystical land from the Tolkein fantasy series: Lord of the Rings.
Another city that we visited, Chefchaouen, is a large commercial city with several vendors in the blue-washed city, giving it a very one-of-a-kind essence. The city is famous for very active and enthusiastic vendors, and tourists have the opportunity to haggle for the best price for their chosen items. Some in the group claimed to be skilled hagglers, while others are shy about haggling with the vendors. Despite their pushy sales techniques, the vendors were very friendly, and we worked out good prices for some items to take home, given the small amount of spending money that I had with me. Throughout the day, the singing voices of the daily prayers echo in the mountains nearby.
Morocco was by no means an African safari, but it was a place with many animals. We rode camels on the beach, saw monkeys hanging out around the caves, and many tiny, stray cats around the city.
En conclusión al primer mes de mi experiencia: Extrañaré a mis amigos que conocí y los buenos tiempos del pasado. Espero llegar a conocer más. La vida es una aventura, y el juego está siempre cambiando.