Thursday, September 26, 2013

Yes, We Actually Do Go To Class

Greetings to all of our faithful readers out there.

This morning (September 25), I have about four hours of free time, so I decided that this was the opportune moment to go ahead and write my blog entry. I am VERY busy all the time with my school work and studies, so this is a very rare moment for me. I will explain in a bit why I have so much free time this morning.

As you all have probably already read and seen in the pictures, we have gone on many excursions. However, one of our primary tasks here is to be a student. Yes, we actually do go to class.
So, I would like to take the time to talk about the classes that we are all taking at La Universidad Católica San Pablo.

All of us Calvin students are in a class called “Cultura Contemporánea Peruana,” and it is taught by our very own Professor Bierling. We meet once a week in the university, and the topics of the class touch many aspects of the Peruvian culture. For example, before every excursion two classmates give a detailed presentation about the location of the excursion, its history, what to expect, etc. 

In addition, we take the time to journal for this class. It is of course written in Spanish, and it allows us to express our thoughts and feelings; and at the same time we practice our writing in Spanish.
I really enjoy this class. Not only am I learning more about the Peruvian culture, but I am getting to know my classmates more intimately. And that is a beautiful thing.

Another Calvin class (taught by Peruvian Professor Talía Pareja Herrera de Krüger) is a Spanish linguistics class. I believe there are about 10 Calvin students, so the relationship between student and professor is strong and quite visible. The professor clearly loves her job and field of study, for I cannot wipe the smile off of my face when I look into her face as she teaches. She literally oozes joy and happiness.

One of my favorite things of the Spanish linguistics class is creating the “Bitácora.” When making the “Bitácora,” we students have to record our voices in a voice recorder recounting an account that has happened to us. It can cover any topic, so long as we speak in Spanish. In English, the word is “binnacle.” And according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a “binnacle” is “a housing for a ship’s compass and a lamp.” I wonder why the professor chose to name the task of recording our adventures “bitácora” or “binnacle.” Just as a ship needs to safe place to store its compass, so our adventures and feelings need a safe place to be stored as well.

Some of us Calvin students are enrolled in Peruvian classes taught by Peruvian professors. Some of those classes include the following: cine (cinema), la apreciación de la música (music appreciation), teología (theology), el análisis de la realidad peruana (Analysis of the Peruvian Reality), estudio etnográfico (ethnographic study), etc.

Out of the mentioned list of classes, I am currently taking theology, Analysis of the Peruvian Reality, and the ethnographic study.

I have taken a theology class at Calvin, and I am now extremely grateful that I have already taken the course. The theology class at the university is covering a lot of the material that I have previously studied. However, it is going to be a long and hard journey. I find myself struggling to understand the professor sometimes, and that is to be expected. The class is taught in Spanish, and Spanish is my second language. I am still in the process of dominating the language.

In addition, this particular theology class is going to cover the theology of the Catholic faith. I know only the basics of the Catholic faith, so perhaps this class will aid me in widening my horizons and understanding the faith of a different branch of Christianity. 

I have also made some good friends in my theology class. I don’t feel afraid or ashamed to ask them to explain a concept to me that I did not understand. They are understanding and accepting of me, and for that I am proud to call them my friends.

Another direct enrollment class is the Analysis of the Peruvian Reality. We are currently studying the aspects of the Incan empire such as their type of government, the governing techniques, their religion, etc. However, I will admit that this is the class that I struggle with the most. I do not always understand what the professor is saying, but I am will continue to try my best. 

Finally, I am participating in an ethnographic study. I believe that 6 students are participating in their own particular study. Since I am a Secondary K-12 Spanish Education major with an ESL minor, I elected to observe a Peruvian high school. Specifically, I am observing the English learning classroom. At the end of the semester, I would like to present the similarities and differences in the Peruvian language learning classroom in the high school setting verses that of the American language learning classroom in the high school setting.

Every Wednesday, from 9:00 am until 12:00 pm, I go to El Colegio Nacional Arequipa which is a high school for girls only. The experience so far has been positive, and I look forward to forming lasting relationships with the girls and the teacher.

And now, I return to my opening statement. Why did I have so much free time this morning? The answer has to do with the Peruvian culture. Here in Peru, things can happen slowly, spontaneously, without a plan, etc. I arrived at the high school promptly at 9:00 am, and to my surprise I saw many buses lined up along the side of the road and all the girls lined up at the front gate. I knew right away that this was a field trip. I didn’t even have to ask if there was class today, for I knew at that moment that there was no class. Instead of pouting and becoming frustrated, I took the opportunity to simply talk with the girls.

After all the girls left in the buses, I returned to the house at 10 am and found myself with spare time. I don’t have an appointment until 4:00 today. Obviously, this was the time for me to go ahead and write this blog. 

Yes, we are having a good time down here. But yes, I assure you we are always keeping busy being students.

I am quickly going to change the topic here, but while I was writing the ending to this blog post, I experienced my first earth tremor. My desk began to shake, and my bottle of water on my desk almost fell over. It only lasted for about 6 seconds, but I will never forget my first earth tremor!   

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