Week two in Oviedo was filled with many new experiences, and as per usual, these new experiences came with a bit of anxiety and uncertainty. This week’s biggest change: we began attending our intensive Spanish courses at La Casa de las Lenguas! The excitement of beginning my courses, meeting my professors and practicing Spanish everyday also came with many questions and unknowns, so I definitely noticed an increase in my anxiety as the week began.
As I laid in bed on Sunday night before our first day, question after question floated around in my mind, preventing me from falling asleep: How will I do on my placement test? Will my oral exam be really difficult? How much homework will be assigned? Will I be placed in the course that’s best for my level of Spanish? What if I can’t find the campus and get lost on the way from the dorms?
Stressful, right? Yes, and normal. To calm myself down, I chatted with the other students on the program. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that many of the questions I was thinking about were also being asked by others. More than that, the other students on my program were great at reassuring me about many of the worries I had about class. It was so comforting. I was reminded of what I learned during my first week here: although studying abroad can feel isolating at times, if you seek out the other students who are in the same situation, you can feel much more equipped to handle the challenges that come with studying abroad. I ended my night by journaling, which I’ve found extremely helpful while here in Oviedo, not only to reflect on my everyday experiences, but also to think through some of the more anxious and isolated thoughts and feelings I have at any given moment. I highly recommend journaling for anyone studying abroad for both of those reasons!
On Monday, I woke up bright and early with the rest of the Temple students, and we met Jaime and a few other professors outside of our dorm, El Colegio Mayor América, to walk over to campus. This helped check off one of my worries: can’t get lost walking to campus if your professors are showing you where to go on day one! Once there, we each took speaking exams and then attended a short presentation about our courses and the general operations of the University of Oviedo. The short presentation helped to calm my nerves and answer many questions, as the administrators went over the procedures & expectations, class schedules, and introduced students from all programs to one another (this summer, Temple students are taking courses with students from Virginia Tech, University of Missouri, University of Oregon and international students from Russia!!).
The speaking exam and placement test process went much more smoothly than I had anticipated. I had worried about failing the placement test, forgetting all my Spanish during my speaking test, and being placed in a level of Spanish that didn’t suit my needs. As soon as I started to feel this way, I decided to approach Jaime and ask him what he thought.
Talking with Jaime was a great decision because I immediately felt better. He reassured other students and I that we would all be placed in the appropriate level for our skills to improve, and he gave us some insider info about the placement and speaking exams. After taking my speaking exam I knew Jaime was right; it was nothing to worry about and it went very smoothly! The following day I found out that I had been placed in the correct level, and all the stress from the previous day dissipated.
This past week I’ve not only learned a bunch of new vocabulary and grammar, but also to trust those around me and not hesitate to ask questions. Both the students on the program and Jaime have been great sounding boards when I have worries or doubts, and I’ve realized most of my questions have either been asked before or are a shared concern. So moral of the story, communicate when you’re feeling anxious; chances are someone else is thinking the same thing, or all-knowing Jaime has a reassuring answer for you!
Again, thanks for following my journey in Oviedo; I’m excited to keep sharing my experiences with you all. Stay tuned for my next post- nos vemos!