The program officially started on September 22nd where we were invited to an orientation and general meeting of all the students in the program. It was held in a large stone room upstairs in Anaya, the main building for the School of Filology. The two directors from both Universities gave their presentations, a former Master student who is now here doing her Ph.D. program took us on a tour around the area, and then we had a lovely wine and hors d'ouevres reception afterwards. The Ph.D. student is from Portland, OR so it's nice to have a friendly American face to turn to for help if I should need it. I started my first day of classes two days later, American Poetry and Poetics, ack!!
My classes for the first semester run between 9:15am and 11:15am or 11:30am and 2pm. My class schedule changes every single week because the classes here are short and intense. A 3 credit class means we meet 6 times and a 6 credit class meets 12 times. And some of those classes might be run by two different professors so they break it up into two sections. One professor comes in and teaches 6 classes and gives you a final assignment and then the second professor comes in and does the same so you end up with two final projects for one class. It can be a little confusing coming into the program. So far, there are NO TEXTBOOKS! We have a platform where we can log in and find articles that have been uploaded for our class or our professors hand out copied packets during class. It is all so different! One month into the program and besides some readings from these packets, my homework on the horizon includes a 10 page paper on American poetry, a 6 page paper on discourse analysis in regards to a press release, and 3 exercises and a 10 page paper for Research paper class. Since there are only 10 class slots available each week, depending on which classes I'm taking, I may or may not have any classes during a particular week due to how they are scheduled. On average, I only have 4-5 classes a week so less than 15 hours in class.
My first semester classes are held here in Salamanca and the second semester classes will be held at the university in Valladolid, about an hour away via car. The powers that be are trying to consolidate our classes into 2-3 days a week so we won't have to commute as much. A round trip train ticket would be 16,70€ a day so that could add up pretty quickly. This first semester runs from September to February and I have 7 classes to finish. Next semester runs from February to April and I only have 3 classes. Then I will have roughly 6 weeks to finish up my Master's Thesis, approximately 30 pages. I will defend in sometime in June or July and then our family heads home after graduation. Let's hope it goes as smooth as it sounds!