My first few days in Barcelona have been very hectic. The plane ride on Monday was a long 10 hours. I arrived in Barcelona on Tuesday at 11:00 am. The WKU representative was waiting for us at the airport and she took us to meet our host families at the school. My family only lives two streets over from the school so my host mom helpd me take my luggage there. She speaks some English and it was pretty easy to communicate with her. We spent a few hours at the house so that I could eat and shower, then went to the school to meet my teacher and my host family's two children. Naora is 8 and Jordi is 11. Their English is pretty good too. Enough that I can carry on a conversation with them and we can understand each other. After meeting everyone we went back to the house and I gave them the gifts I had brought them.
Before leaving from Bowling Green I decided that I wanted to get my host kids and students some books in English. My host mom said they were hard to get in Spain. I went to Half Price Books and was able to go through WKU and get free books for them. I brought an entire suitcase full of books.
Anyway, enough about my day. So things in Barcelona are definitely very different from things in the United States. There were so many things that I had to learn and adjust to. For example, Barcelona is 7 hours ahead of Kentucky. So when I was going to bed, I couldn't sleep because my body thought it was 3:00 not 10:00. It makes your whole day backwards. Meal times are also very different here. The family eats dinner between 9:00 and 10:00 every night. They eat and go straight to bed. I guess this is because they eat 6 small meals a day instead of 3 big meals like we usually do. Interesting, right? I also had to get use to sitting in a room full of people, all talk at once ,and having no idea what they were saying. I realized this is probably why some people who choose to do this program get home sick. It does make you feel kind of uncomfortable but you get use to it pretty quickly. You have to because everyone speaks Spanish all the time. So much so, that it's a big relief when you finally get to talk to someone else who speaks English.
Today was my first full day in Barcelona. It was also my first day at the school. I finally got to meet my students and take a tour of the school. It is huge! I feel like it will take me the entire month to learn how to get around. The school houses pre-school (starting at 2 years old) all the way to 12th grade. The classes are grouped boys on one floor girls on the other. The school is a Catholic private/public school and the students are required to wear uniforms. The students are very different compared to American students. They are very loud and excited. The hallways and classrooms are filled with students trying to talk over each other all at the same time. I don't think it bothers the teachers though. It's definitely not what I am use to in schools in the US. The students at the school are required to learn three languages; English, Spanish, and Catalan. Some how they are able to read, write, and speak all three by around 2nd or 3rd grade. I have 2nd grade girls and my teacher teaches English and art. She also teaches one class or 1st grade boys but only 1 day a week. The students were absolutely ecstatic when they seen me come into the classroom. They knew that I was an American teacher and had all kinds of questions to ask me about where I came from.
The rest of my day was spent at the school. It doesn't get out until 5:00. I basically just watched what the teacher did and walked around to help the students with their work. Overall, I think that I'm going to like it here. I'm sure it will be very hard leave when the month is up.