Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mira, mi escuela-

File:Universidad de Sevilla (rectorado) 001.jpg

I go to school in this old Tobacco Factory.

I have three of my four classes at the Universidad de Sevilla. These are classes with other extranjeros or international students, but the Spaniards come to this Old Tobacco Factory as well for their studies.

Building's Brief History acc. to Wikipedia:
"Built in the 18th century, Seville's tobacco factory was the largest industrial building in the world at that time and it remained a tobacco factory until the 1950s. This beautiful building is also the setting for the very well-known opera by Bizet, Carmen. Carmen was a fictional worker in the tobacco factory, the original story being a novella by Prosper Mérimée Prosper Mérimée. This building houses two of the university's faculties: the School of Literature & Philology and the School of Geography & History."

This building is superguay.
Every time I go to class, I feel like I'm entering a museum or a castle of some sort. It's so odd to see students smoking in the courtyards, folders and notebooks in hand, or stopping at the espresso vending machines before class, because they just got back from a night of botellóning three hours ago.

I haven't ever stopped to take pictures yet.
I'm not sure I want to be that girl.
(Even though I stand out enough with my North Face backpack, light hair, and Target clothes...Oh, and mediocre language skills).

I only have a couple Spanish friends, and most of them don't have classes in the same facultades (Philology and History) as I. Last time we got together, they told me about the new changes in their University system. It's a lot different to be in college here. You take tests during high school and then enter into a facultad, kind of like a major. You then only have classes within that facultad and there is really no freedom to, for example, take a random drama class if you are in the History and Geography facultad. Then they complete their studies in about 5 years.

My friend Manú envied the fact that I can take whatever courses I choose and change my major if I want (if only). Manú also explained to me that the European Union is kind of making an international change to their countries' University systems, more or less nationalizing them, for lack of a better word. I'm skeptical. Their Universities are a lot cheaper than ours though. But so far, I have noticed a difference in...quality.
Side note: Manú also told me that in Spanish high schools, clubs, school-sponsored sports, and all other extracurriculars don't really exist. (Weird huh? What do kids do if they aren't skipping off to lacross practice then cello lessons then SAT training?)
Another side note: Manú is in the Philology facultad, studying English. He has to read Moby Dick this semester! (Pray for him...)

I think that they just kind of stick the foreign kids with the left-over classrooms and professors.
Maybe that sounds rude.
But there's a rock the shape of Oklahoma growing out the wall in my Advanced Grammar classroom.
To get to that aula, or classroom, I have to walk to the corner of this huge stone building, ascend a large marble staircase, walk down three corridors into the dimly lit bowels of the Factory, find the door marked "Aulas XIII & AIV", go through the door and up the rickety staircase on the right. I'm always surprised when I don't end up in some old Abuelita's attic, but instead in aula XIII for Grammar.

Like I said, the yellow-painted dry wall of the room is kind of built around the original stone, Factory walls. There is a blackboard smacked onto this wall as well, which my professors uses to over explain minute details of grammar (this class is somewhat like Studies of the English Language, at Concordia, except less organized and in Spanish). There are five or six foot-long spots on this yellow wall in which the stones have protruded out into the room.

During class, I try to memorize words like sintagma while really imagining that one of the rocks looks like a three-legged elefante.

Or dreaming about my future trips to Germany and Rome.


  1. A rock shaped like Oklahoma?! how exciting!
    glad to learn about your school, sounds like the building is a lot more interesting than TLEC, Jesse, or Weller!

  2. How beautiful! That used to be a factory? I wish I could see those dimly lit corridors, the marble staircase, and the rocks protruding out of the walls in your class. That's like when they say your true colors are showing, only in this case the universities true colors are of a superguay (heh) factory. Don't feel obligated to take pictures though. I don't like to be the one to take pictures in public either. I try to be very discreet so as to not appear touristy.

  3. Miss Marie was telling me about their education system over there. I was talking with Rebecca just yesterday about how I'm glad we live in the United States and can shape our own educations.