Yes, I still have a full schedule of classes while studying abroad, and there isn’t much of a difference between the classes I have in Spain and my classes back in Oklahoma. Actually, the classes are very different, as I am an accounting major, but the atmosphere and coursework are essentially the same. One class Monday and Wednesday, three classes Tuesday and Thursday, but the classes are all 2 hours each. This kinda drags, but the little break in the middle eases our pain.
However, back in Oklahoma, I don’t go to school in a 15th century palace. Yes, a palace. It has been renovated to accommodate students and faculty, but sometimes I find myself awestruck by the sheer idea of it. Also, back in Oklahoma, there isn’t a cacophony of cars, people, and construction that I find in this new urban environment. Sometimes I can’t hear my professor over the sound of a jackhammer or electric saw.
Furthermore, the most frustrating difference I have encountered is the language barrier between the students and professors; even the classes taught in English. I can tell the professors are extremely intelligent and passionate about their subjects, but since English is their second, or third, language they do not seen as if they are able to get their point across exactly how they want. A good portion of the class is spent among “um” and “uh”. It is even worse during discussions. The professor will ask a question and we, the students, will respond with vocabulary that they aren’t familiar with. They usually dismiss the answer as incorrect, but go on to explain exactly what the student said, but using different terms. one of the most interesting things is that the language barrier is eroded when non-native english speaking students, such as the Chinese or Brazilians, interact with the professor. They seem to know what the professor wants to hear.
All in all the experience is great, and I am learning more than I could have asked for; inside and outside the classroom.