After a wonderful and relaxing weekend of exploring Coruña, reality hit Monday when I picked my classes. I was annoyed when I realized that one of the classes (Social Structure and Change) I wanted to takes was in Gallego. Gallego is the language of Galicia (the autonomous region where Coruña is located) and while similar to Spanish, it is unique in many ways. The university offers classes in this language in order to promote local pride, tradition, and uniqueness. Our coordinator Felix urged me to try this class. At first I just laughed, “I am just starting to understand Spanish, now you want me to learn a different language?” However, the more I thought about it, I convinced myself to try the class for a few days. I attended the class today, and understood more than I thought I would, but obviously could not understand everything. I told the professor after class that I was an exchange student and spoke no Gallego. He was very understanding, and told me to attend his class a few more times. I am still not 100% sure if I’ll stay in this class, but I will definitely give it a few more days because the content is interesting and fills a credit in my concentration. My other classes are Social and Culture Anthropology, Social Psychology and Comparative Politics, which start next week.
Aside from classes, we HC students have been exploring Coruña, discovering that there is a lot to do such as: biking, sailing, running, walking, swimming, shopping, eating and attending soccer games and cultural events. Almost every night, I watch TV with my host mom as a way of improving my listening skills, and to just relax and bond with her. In last night’s movie, one of the main characters temporarily lost her eye sight and was losing faith that she would be able to see again. Her doctor said, “I advise you not to live your life with your eyes closed.” While this may seem like a simple quote, it meant a lot to me at the moment. While I have loved my first week in Coruña, there are moments when I have been overwhelmed and wish I could hide in my room or hop on the next plane back to Holy Cross. However, after hearing this quote I realized that I, just like the girl in the movie, cannot live with my eyes closed. I need to tackle the language and culture barrier, and not be afraid to explore more of Coruña, Spain and the world.
Date Divertido: In light of trying out a class in Gallego, I was interested to see how many other languages exist in Spain. Officially, there are four languages in Spain: Castillian (the “traditional” Spainish), Catalan (Catalunya –northeast region), Euskera (Basque and Navarra in the north region) and Gallego (Galicia – here in the northwest region). Additionally, there are many other dialects that exist throughout the different autonomous regions of Spain.