Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Autumn term is finally here!

Actual classes started last week but it hasn't really made a difference in what we do. The most classes any one is taking here is four classes including me. The difference between Uni. Sussex and SBU being that for 4 classes I only have class 7 hours a week. When I saw my timetable I thought maybe they had left off a class but nope. They just encourage more outside of class activity. Also none of my classes have tests for the semester just a final paper or composition for one of my music classes. Class are smaller here and they encourage discussion and input. In most of my classes is seems like they don't believe in wrong answers they just truly want to hear your input. For the American Pluralism DEC I'm taking a class called America Inside and Out and it been very funny to hear some things people around the world believe we do in America. The number one example is that people believe we say the pledge of allegiance all of the time, like every American wakes up and says it. Being here has also taught me how luck we are in America with our upper education system. A much smaller percentage of students go to University after the graduate college(what we call high school).
This Saturday I'm hopefully going to see a musical in London's West End and maybe even making it to Abby Road and the London Beatles Museum. I'm excited to travel more and I'm hopefully going to Paris and Dublin in November. This is a one time chance and my biggest fear is that I'll waste it.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Break Sept 24- Oct 1

Since normal term in England doesn't start til October 4th and our Sussex in September classes ended on September 23rd we had the week off to do what ever we want. On campus the freshman move in on the 25th for a week long party with clubs, fairs and festivals called Freshers week. While it would have been amazing to see freshers week me and 4 other friends I met from the September program went to Spain for six days. We spent Saturday, Sunday, and Monday morning in Madrid and then Monday night, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in Barcelona.

Both cities were amazing. Madrid reminded me of a big city in America but if you made the architecture much older and much prettier. We went on a cable car ride, saw the palace, cathedral, and rose garden, took a row boat out on a pond in the center of a huge park, ate delicious food, and saw a 7 story club. We ended up staying in a apartment that you could rent for individual nights. It was really clean and nice and looked almost like it was right out of a ikea catalogue.

Barcelona was much more Mediterranean and was amazing. We saw a lot in Barcelona but were forced to walk almost everywhere due to a Vaga General (general strike) that left the metro, buses and 90% of stores closed on Wednesday. We saw the 1992 Olympic stadium, the ancient fort on the top of Monjuic mountain, went to a flamenco show, shopped in a huge open air market and street called Las Ramblas, and spent a day on the beach. We stayed in a Hostel but had our own room so it was very nice, it was like a hotel with a shared bathroom. My favorite moment of the whole trip was sitting on the beach with 5 of my friends and realizing I was sitting on a beach in Barcelona, Spain. It was surreal to think that I could be studying for some crazy science test at Stony Brook but I was sitting on a Mediterranean beach.

What I learned from my trip:
-I really want to learn more Spanish.
-Flights can be really cheap if you know where to look making travel easy.
-More people speak English in Barcelona then Madrid.
-You can adjust to a different time table and routine very quickly (the Spanish eat dinner around 9 at night and clubs do not open until about 12:30 and most don't go out til 1 or 2)
-I'm not as quick at coming up with the proper response to a question in Spanish as I thought I was.