The Trials and Tribulations of Samantha, in her Quest to Actually Study Something

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The course process at Alcalá has been even longer than that title, and unfortunately is still not over!

Original and Definitely Foolproof Academic Plans

I originally planned, back in May or something, to do the ‘Spanish Language and Culture’ course offered by Alcalá’s language centre, Alcalingua. It held 24 credits (of which I only needed 15), didn’t start ‘til 3rd October and ended early, just before Christmas. This was signed off by Edinburgh, and I rocked up to my two-week preparatory language course at Alcalingua at the end of August.

New Plans, New Courses, New Kerfuffle

So next on my To Do list was to confirm my Learning Agreement, which is a list of courses I plan to take that gets signed off by Edinburgh and Alcalá. I went in to Alcalá’s Erasmus office on September 15th, to get my piece of paper signed, something I expected would take about ten minutes. Hehe, no such luck.

I was told that the courses at Alcalingua carried no credit in the university proper (despite being advertised as such on the website…) and I would have to choose modules from the regular roster at the university. Most modules were 6 credits, and they wanted me to do 24+. I was sat at that poor woman’s desk for an hour and a half trying to find five courses that came under the umbrella of ‘Hispanic Studies’ AND didn’t clash. Eventually she dismissed me and told me to carry on trying at home.

I had more success at home, having a dozen or so pdfs to riffle through and iCal to see what would clash and what wouldn’t, and came up with three 6 credit courses and one 8, and went to hand those in, where I was told all was in order and if I didn’t hear anything, then I had nothing to worry about.

Actual Courses, You Say?

I attended French I for the first time ever (two weeks after classes actually began) and found it was far too difficult. The teacher asked me a number of times to give examples of French sentences, when I know literally no French other than that garnered from cultural osmosis (Je suis une fiancée, où est deja vu?, etc etc). I ran out halfway through class, and headed to my next one, which was gloriously understandable and quite interesting (Literary Language: Poetry).

I turned up to Poetry and Theatre of the Golden Age, only to find (after an awkward 15 minutes) that it was Linguistics. I ran away again, and found that PTGA had been moved, to clash with my next class. So, with PTGA and French gone, I had some major timetable problems.

To Matriculate or not to Matriculate?

Matriculation was arranged for last Thursday. Unfortunately, thinking my course didn’t begin ‘til October, I had booked a lovely holiday back to Edinburgh to catch up with regular life. I promptly emailed the Erasmus office to give them my new Learning Agreement (two 6 credit courses and one new 8 credit one). This was just enough credits for Edinburgh, but at least five credits less than Alcalá requires, but I explained my situation and hoped for the best, but as yet have no reply.

So that’s where I am now. I have three courses, which have not been signed off by either university, that I missed most of the first three weeks of. If this gets sorted and I actually matriculate, manage to attend courses and pass, it’s going to be a miracle…

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