So as you would have already realised from previous posts, university life in Spain was not all it was cracked up to be. In fact, aside from having a decent café with Alhambra beer on tap, I do not have many positive things to say about my time spent in la facultad de filosofía y letras, University of Granada.
Teachers seemed to be either condescending or just plain mean. I know what this sounds like. Stupid English girl thinks studying is difficult, *omg lyf is sooooo hard!*. Fact is, you’re on your own, and sometimes it can get to you.
“Do you understand?”
“You need to tell me if you don’t understand”
I’ll just keep my hand up for the whole lesson then.
“So is there somewhere I can find notes for this lesson online? I tried to understand, but I’m finding it a bit difficult to keep up with this class.”
“I don’t like using the internet, [F.Y.I THIS INCLUDES EMAIL – I’m not joking.] but you can ask your classmates for their notes”
Yes Miss, I will go up to one of the Spanish classmates I’ve never spoken to before and: “HIYA LOVE, MIND IF I COPY YOUR NOTES? GRASSY ARSE”
Italian class was the absolute worst. Picture the scene. I’m sat in the front row, with three other English Erasmus students (or la colonia Britanica/The British Colony as Miss so endearingly named us). The prof talks specifically to the other side of the class (Spaniards): “Samantha is the only one going to Italy next semester”. She then turns to face me, with a glare that screams ‘What are you even doing here?’, before delivering a line so pretentious, and laced with what I would have interpreted as sly bitterness: “Please, don’t tell them you studied it here… I’ll deny it.”
Just the motivation one needs. I’m not being funny but was that really necessary?
Sad as it is to admit, it gave me a tougher skin, because the one thing used to mark me out as the dumb English girl became my strongest form of defence.
I will always be native English, and although ‘everyone speaks English’, not everyone actually does or actually can.
So right after Ms Jumped-Up Italian Prof had sassed me out in Spanish, I broke into my London accent and openly ranted about her attitude problem to a friend. Try understanding that Signora. On yer bike.
It’s silly, it’s childish and I should probably get over some old lady humiliating me in front of people I’ll most likely never see again. But at the time it was all I had to go on, and it led me to become unfazed by the notion of being misunderstood. Going to class became a lot easier when I stopped caring so much about what other people thought and whether or not I was saying the right thing. I also came to learn that I was not the only one struggling. Aside from us Pompey lot, most Erasmus students (not just from the UK) were finding it challenging, or at the very least frustrating, to study in the faculty.
November left me feeling stupid, poor and fat (frustration had been taken out on the tapas). University attendance pretty much matched my mood. Needless to say, when first semester was done, I was SO. DONE.