Academic Adjustment

So far classes are pretty different than what I’m used to at New Paltz, which is what I was expecting. I’m taking 5 classes in Spanish: one grammar class, one oral production and writing class, and 3 electives in culture and language.

The style of the classes all vary, as they do in New Paltz, but one thing that is different is at New Paltz you are explicitly told what is expected of you. Here, the first few days of classes we were assigned group projects and dates, and the topic and everything else is up to us. There’s a lot less structure and we are encouraged to be more independent, which I really like, it just took some getting used to.

In some of my classes we got syllabi, but not as detailed and thorough as the syllabi at New Paltz. We have the dates of midterms and finals, but other deadlines and outline of the class aren’t explicitly laid out. Which is fine, it just means I have to be more aware of what’s happening in class and be more independent.

The class size is small, comparable to size of the classes I was taking at New Paltz, but I find that the classes are more focused on group work rather than note taking. Sometimes I like to work in groups, but other times I wish we could work alone or have some lectures.

My favorite class is Civilización y Cultura hispanoamericanas (Civilization and Culture of Hispanic America). For this class we got to do a group project on any topic, so my group choice banned literature from four countries- El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. I love being able to do a project and present about what I’m interested in; it makes the learning experience more enjoyable. This class is really interesting and I love going in-depth about a part of the world I’ve only learned about briefly in the past.

So far classes are going really well, there are some differences which I expected, but in the end it’s not a huge drastic change. I’m really enjoying the content of my class and learning about Spain, the world, and the Spanish language. I know that this semester is going to be difficult, but all the work and effort I put in will be worth it.


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