I want to dedicate this post to students considering study abroad at Nebrija. I will talk about the university, what it is like to study there and what my experience has been like thus far. I know almost all of my posts have been about my travels, so I hope to make this one more informative and provide some insight to you future study abroad students. As I said in my last post about Nebrija, the campus I study at, Campus Princesa, is practically not even a campus. It is conveniently located near the city center, however. Being so small also makes it easier to navigate. It is literally just two buildings next to one another. The classes at Centro de Estudios Hispanicos are mostly all international students and the classes average about 10-12 students per class. It makes it impossible to be distracted or do anything other than listen and participate. The classes in the other building average about 20 students and include mostly Spanish students. Nebrija also has two other campuses: Campus de la Dehesa de la Villa and Campus de la Berzosa. These campuses are much bigger and the former has impressive views. I think the Drexel in Spain exchange program is specifically for the Campus Princesa only.
The classes I am taking are very interesting, informative and fun. I have learned so much about Spain, its history and the Spanish language. For example, I have learned about the several autonomous regions of Spain, the different languages currently spoken in Spain (Castellano, Gallego, Euskera, Catalán), the history ranging from pre-Roman times to modern times and different customs of Spaniards. It is a different culture than America, and the professors understand that, so they try their best to make you feel comfortable. It obviously helps if you know Spanish, which I do in my case. Then again, you will have to take a placement exam to be placed into any classes in Spanish and/or in CEH, so it is fine either way.
The struggle to learn the language and assimilate is worth it. I had two midterms this week and I felt thoroughly prepared for each one, thanks mostly to my professors. Grades are 1-10, with a 5 considered to be the lowest passing grade. It can’t get much easier than that. You literally have to try to fail if you want to. As long as you come to class, do the work and contribute as best as you can, you’re good to go. Based on my experience, the emphasis imposed on students at Nebrija is to learn at your own pace in the classroom and receive all of the help you need to pass, in juxtaposition with many classes I have taken at Drexel, which is to cram as much material that 10 weeks could possibly allow and have several graded assignments to turn in, plus exams. I have not been required to turn in nearly as many assignments as a typical Drexel class. We get homework, “deberes” as they call them here, but most of the work is either went over in class or done in class. It is scarcely ever graded. I am not sure how it is in other classes, but I doubt it is very different.
The professors here have certain expectations for students just like they do in Drexel or any other university. Although they certainly try to encourage all students to contribute, the professors leave much of the responsibility on the student to get the experience that he/she desires. The students that study here, international but especially Spanish, are super cool. It is easy to make friends here. I honestly don’t really talk to the other Drexel students that are studying here in Madrid, besides one other person, but it was easy to make other friends. This is an amazing opportunity to meet students from all around the world, bond and make friendships that can last a lifetime. There is always something new to do in Madrid and there is a very lively nightlife scene here. Organizations like CityLife and BeMadrid make it extremely simple to travel and meet other students.
Overall, Nebrija is a great place to study and being in Madrid makes it that much better. It is a very unique experience that you share with other international students and others that may be studying abroad with you. So far so good! I will give one other update regarding Nebrija next month and then a final assessment at the end of the term. Stay tuned!