Probably the biggest culture shock I experienced in Valencia was the school system. I attend the University of Valencia, Burjessot Campus, which is just a little outside the city. So it usually takes me about 40 minutes to get to class by walking + bus or walking + metro. The bus never comes on time though, but I’ve learned to deal. The first couple weeks in Valencia were chaos, between trying to find an apartment and figure out what to do about my classes. It took 2 weeks for me to enroll because I had no idea what to take, who to talk to, or where to go. While I was stressing out abit, all the Spanish people thought it was perfectly normal to be so uninformed and everything so disorganized. Picking my schedule was hard because the times for each class changed every single week – not one of my weeks here has had the same schedule! Sometimes a class will be at 9 30 am on a Tuesday and the next week Ill have it at 11 30 on Wednesday. On top of that, some of my classes overlap. The third week of school, I had to skip an entire week of 3 of my classes because I had mandatory “practicas” for my 4th class. And the 4th week of class I went to Morocco. Needless to say, I started off very far behind and am still trying to catch up.
Everything here runs a little bit late and it almost seems like University is taken way less seriously. Teachers will cancel class one hour before, or show up 10 minutes late. It is totally normal and not even frowned upon for about 3-5 kids to show up late everyday to class in a class of 30. I am so happy that my courses are only Pass/Fail, it alleviates alot of pressure and I can enjoy more of Spain. There is alot less homework here, but the finals are worth %60 of the grade. Yikes. There are 3 weeks of finals here, so my last one isn’t until January 24th. Another different thing here is that my classes are in the same classroom. Ill have 3 classes in a row, all in the same classroom which gets a lilttle old. The teachers here are actually really good, very knowleadgable and I generally like the way they teach. Keeping up in Spanish is sometimes difficult if they throw in too many technical terms. I have been to office hours before and they are super super helpful. Overall, love Valencia. Don’t love how school is that much here though.