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Saturday, 21 September 2013

School in Spain

Day 15: 18/09/13 

So I decided to leave writing for a whole so that I would have more to talk about (I know some of you already think this is waay too long :p) but I don't have that much really. Mostly, all I have to talk about is school. Where do I start with school?? 

Well first of all, it feels like a cage or a prison. Hahaha I know, a bit drastic, but compared to mountainview high school back in Timaru, it really does feel that way. The first things you see are a big, brick  building, surrounded by a big brick wall and a locked, black gate that is the only entrance, and exit. To add to the beauty of the school, the brick fence has graffiti as a nice decoration. 

When school begins (at 8.10am)  the gates are unlocked and a huge mob of students cram inside the doors. To get to my classes I have to push my way up some stairs and down a long, rather narrow, corridor. The classrooms aren't much to describe, a medium sized room with desks for the students (around 30), a desk for the teacher, a couple of rubbish bins, and a smart board/chalkboard. The windows in the school are placed high on the walls, when we arrive in the morning there a thick, metal blinds pulled down over them. I don't know whether this is for security or what - possibly, they do not want the students to get distracted by the outside world (the brick fence). I must say that I took mountainview and it's mountain views for granted! Even though I always did appreciate the gorgeous rose garden in summer and the neatly trimmed hedges. I think I miss waiting outside in the fresh air for a teacher to let us into class. 

Another...interesting, perhaps, thing about the school is the toilets. They are in a very narrow room, and you have to grab a few pieces of toilet paper before you enter the cubicle. Most of the toilets did not have toilet seats, just a toilet bowl? I believe that you are not allowed to go to the toilet during class time but I don't know about during breaks, because when I attempted to go to the toilet, they were locked. 

The subjects that I am apparently taking are: history, art history, maths, geography, psychology and sociology, Catalan, Spanish, English and philosophy. 
In New Zealand I only took Spanish, photography, English, history and physical education. 

The schedule here is:
Begin 8.10pm
2 hours of classes.
A 25 minute break.
2 hours of classes.
A 15 minute break.
2 hours if classes.
Finish 2.50pm

This means we have an extra hour of school compared to nz and I have to get up at 6.30am to walk to school. Boy does it drag on! 7 hours of barely understanding a word. I do nothing in class except listen, and I feel utterly exhausted by the time school finishes. 

Something strange I discovered was that the teachers did not know who I was or what I was doing at the school. They would talk to me very fast in Catalan or Spanish and I would not understand a word. When I told them I didn't understand they were very confused as to why I was at their school. There were a few embarrassing moments where they would ask me a question and I would just nod and agree and the class would all laugh at me...awkward!

I can honestly say that this is the most challenging situation I have ever experienced! My brain works over time, having to wake up at 6.30am , trying to work in 2 languages all day and only getting to sleep at 11pm because dinner is around 9pm and my family are night owls. 

I would say that my main escape here is listening to music. Although, thanks to my friend Katie they are mainly super intense remixs and my sisters body jam songs. The people here are nice. I feel as though I am a bit of a fly, following them around rather than being part of the group at this stage, but isn't that what you would expect? The language barrier of course is against me, but some students do speak a little English. I hope I pick this language thing up sooner rather than later as it sure is hard to join in these girls fast talking, giggly conversations. Ahhh, time for sleep before my head explodes ! :p

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