As the days go on…

I have now been here for three days, but it feels like a lot longer. I have packed so many things into my days it feels like I’m always on the move. Yesterday was the orientation for my classes where I met two other american girls which I was pretty happy about. FINALLY someone who speaks English! Because the advanced class was canceled due to lack of students, I was placed in the intermediate class. It really surprised me how few students there are in the program. There are only two students in the beginner class and six in the intermediate class. Also after the orientation, two of the professors took me and three of the other american girls on a tour of the city. It was very nice of them to do and also really cool because they explained the history of all the sites to us. One of the professors told me to meet a group of the students at La Plaza de la Constitucion at five. I wasn’t quite sure where that was, but I had a map so I thought it would be relatively easy: I was wrong.

I left the apartment at about 4:30 to give myself half and hour to find the place we were meeting. From all parts of town the Cathedral is very easy to see. I tried to use it as a reference, but it was a bit hard when all the buildings were blocking my view.  I couldn’t use the data on my phone, so I had to rely on the old fashioned way: asking people. Every person that I asked knew where it was and how to get there, but their directions were confusing to me. Finally, with a little bit of luck, I made it. I found my professor and three of the girls from Japan that were in my class.

We were supposed to be waiting for more students, but they never showed. Instead of going inside the political building to learn about the politics and the elections, we went to a nearby restaurant. We sat and talked for about two hours and then we all parted ways. I went with the girls that were with us, and we pasted by El Museo de Bellas Artes. This is a museum of famous paintings. Surprisingly, it was free, and they even had paintings from Dali and Picasso! After the girls and I went to our separate homes, it was very difficult for me to get back. I tried to go straight from the cathedral because I knew it where straight down, but the streets in Spain are not like a grid as in New York. They go in all different directions so it is very difficult to go straight.

To make matters worse, the street signs did not exist. They were not on the corners like they are in America. Finally I figured out that they were actually on the sides of the buildings, but it was still hard to follow. Finally I made it home. What I like about Oviedo is that it is a very safe and clean city. There haven’t been any men looking at me or saying things to me while I walk down the street which is very different than I am used to. Overall it is pretty good so far, but my feet hurt from walking!

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My name is Ashely Sirna. I am a junior at SUNY New Paltz and am double majoring in Spanish and psychology with a minor in disaster studies. This summer I am studying abroad in Oviedo, Spain for two months. I am very excited to learn about the culture and improve my Spanish!

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