Today is the one-month anniversary of our arrival in Avila, Spain, which means that this time 30 days ago we were severely jet-lagged, wondering why dinner wasn’t going to be served until 9:00pm, and dreading the fact that we needed to walk to school in the cold at 8:45 the next morning.
In honor of this auspicious occasion, I figured it was time that I show you around our school, El Instituto Espanol Murallas de Avila, or IEMA, as it is often called. The name translates to Spanish Institute of Avila’s Walls.
It is not a typical college building, or even a typical school of any kind. In Spain’s early days, the building that is now IEMA served as an inn and restaurant in the Jewish neighborhood of Avila. I’m not trying to be bigoted–that’s actually what the neighborhood is called! Barrio Judio.
Now, it’s a humble concrete building with warmly painted walls and lots of fascinating knick-knacks–until, of course, you enter a classroom. Then the walls are all white and the room is full of nothing but a table, chairs, and a chalkboard. Blech. And we have to stay in there from 9 to 1:30 every day . . . The things I’ll do for an education. 😉
|Fireplace in the downstairs sitting room|
While travel, going out, and other fun and exciting experiences in the Spanish culture are great, sometimes its easy to forget in all of the excitement that we are here to learn.
On the plus side, just being out and about and trying to communicate with the people around us is an amazing learning experience; but when I’m hunched over an old Latin-American text about the life of a nun or a stack of papers full of sentences whose verbs all need conjugation, I quickly remember that I am still a college student.
I just happen to be a college student in Spain ❤