After a long seven hour flight, we arrived in Barcelona, Spain yesterday around 9:00 AM. Upon our arrival, we met up with T. Jenny who teaches English in AULA. We then had a short breakfast and set off for our first day in AULA. Needless to say, we were all quite tired due to the jet lag and we passed the majority of our bus ride in silence. Despite the fact that I was so tired, I was inevitably captured by the beauty of Barcelona. Along with the beautiful architecture, Barcelona is situated right next to the Mediterranean Sea and thus the view of the city is mesmerizing.
We arrived at AULA around 11 AM and were given a tour of the school by a few students. Immediately, we were immersed in Castilian Spanish. In Barcelona, most people actually speak a mix of French and Spanish which is known as Catalán. Because we have only been taught Castilian at Westtown, the AULA students speak Castilian with us so that we may better practice the language. At first, I had trouble communicating with the students because I was intimidated by the speed at which they talked. Today, however, it was much easier to understand the teachers and the students. I’m still a bit scared to talk, but the more time I spend in AULA the more my mindset shifts from English to Spanish.
In terms of the school, it was a bit strange arriving at AULA. As we stood in the patio waiting to meet our tour guides, all the students stared at us and I could see them whispering with each other. Our tour guides later clarified that these kids were staring because the majority of classes in AULA don’t change very often. Indeed, most students have been attending AULA since they were only three years old. Given our experience in Westtown where classes change almost every year, this idea was certainly surprising.
After the tour and classes, each one of us went home with our host families for the night. Right now, I am a staying with a student whose name is Juan. Juan’s family lives in an apartment more towards the center of the city. Although I am far away from home, I feel quite comfortable with Juan’s family. They are all incredibly generous and in many ways I almost feel embarrassed by how much they do for me. For example, when I arrived here, I realized that I had forgot to buy an adapter so that I could use my electrical devices overseas. When I told this to Juan’s father, he immediately went and bought me an adapter. I couldn’t be more grateful!
After a long day, I went to bed yesterday around 8 PM and I got a full eleven hours of sleep. I’m pretty sure I’m over the jet lag, but I guess I will truly know later tonight. Tomorrow, our group is going to take a break from classes at AULA and we are going to visit a museum and a few historical sites in Barcelona.
I will be writing again soon!