¡Vamos a Toledo! I have not been a proper ‘student’ since 2014, and upon learning that I would be attempting to attend FULL-TIME classes (when I NEVER even had to go to class on Fridays at Uni), I was a little worried. I felt immediately unprepared, after I hadn’t actually picked up a Spanish book in so long, hadn’t been in a classroom in even longer, and hadn’t made my yearly back to school trip to Officeworks to get some shiny folders and matching exercise books. The email that informed me that I would first be completing a Spanish Leveling Exam, both written and oral, freaked me out. So upon arriving in Toledo, did I open a few books and do some revision? NOPE. I hit the streets and did some exploring.
Firstly. Toledo is a beautifully quaint town built on seven hills. BUT, the public transport system is not so grand, especially at 4pm on a Saturday afternoon. So luckily I had loaded the address of the residence (or what I hoped was the address of the residence, as I had been given two different ones by two different people!), on my phone. I couldn’t find any buses that were meant to be at the station, couldn’t find a taxi and found out that Uber has not made its’ way to Toledo as yet. So, in the 38˚C heat, I made my way across these seven hills and walked forty minutes to the residence.
Apparently, the name ‘Georgia’ for a female simply does not exist in Spain. They have Jorge, but there is simply no female equivalent. As such, despite me checking FEMALE on my application forms, I had been placed in a shared room with a guy. I was the first to arrive at the residence, and luckily the amazing lady at reception sorted it all out, and I am yet to be allocated a roommate! How lucky! I unpacked my bags, which was such a nice feeling after being on the move every couple of days for a couple of weeks!
The day before the start of classes (and the dreaded exam), I hit the streets of Toledo and went on a walking tour, and explored a few of the monuments in town. I made my way through the Iglesia de El Salvador, Monasterio de San Juan de Los Reyes, the Puerta de San Martín, Plaza de Zocodover and generally got lost through the city! I met my fellow classmates on Sunday evening and went to dinner locally with a group of students from Tennessee.
On Monday morning, we were put into ‘provisional groups’ for the exam, which confused me muchly as I was placed in level 5 of 6, where I was to remain even after my awful performance in both the written and oral exams. I later found out that the class was Level B1.3, when I had only completed up to A2.3 in Sydney. That’s right, that’s me skipping two whole levels/twenty weeks/sixty hours of classes.
We had a little ‘opening ceremony’ for the course, where they welcomed and celebrated the 27 different countries of students enrolled in the course. I was separated from the group of students that I entered the hall ( *cough cough* cathedral inside the university), which had me thinking that they were simply separating us into independent students and others. That’s when the flags were brought out. I was given the Australian flag and asked if I had my phrase prepared. Um. WHAT? So, apparently they had forgotten to inform me, (as I was walking into my oral exam at the time), that I was the delegate from Australia who was to carry the Australian flag down the aisle in front of everyone, including the very fancy head honchos in charge of the University, say a phrase in Spanish about why I am here or about the city and then say the same thing in my mother tongue. While the ceremony was a little long for my liking, they did give us drinks and tapas while watching the World Cup afterwards, so they made up for it!
Estoy emocionada de mejorar mi Español, antes yo viviré aquí en España por un año. Adios amigos, hasta luego.