My first few weeks of courses in Costa Rica pretty much went without a hitch. I began an intensive Spanish class. In case you were interested in my Spanish competence, it more or less (mas o menus) does not exist. I am actually in Spanish 101, but everyone has to start somewhere. So I spend a lot of time in my Spanish course, as in 20 hours a week for four weeks. Which comes out to 80 hours of pure Spanish. Intensive. But we learn a lot and somehow it doesn’t feel overwhelming. In fact, it happens to be my favorite course.
The amount that we retain compared to Spanish courses in the states is insane. I now know the proper way to introduce myself and have fully accepted that you ‘tiene’ (have) years rather than ‘you are ___ years old’. But that is just the beginning of what I have learned and how much I’ve improved. I’s strange to think that I’ve taken years of Spanish in high school and still could not talk or understand Spanish to save my life, but here I learn so much so quickly. Although I am still not fluent by any means, there has been a noticeable improvement.
I am also enrolled in three other courses in the afternoon. Mondays and Wednesday afternoons I only have Physical Therapy and finish my day at three. Tuesdays and Thursdays I wrap up my day at 7pm after Health Psychology and Alternative Health Approaches. In physical therapy we’ve learned the basic anatomy of the human body. We covered everything from types of bones, to muscles, and maybe even a bit of physiology. Again this sounds like it should be incredible overwhelming, and Anatomy and Physiology at my home university was, but this course has found a good balance. Part of that may be because of the structure of the class. We don’t have lecture halls here, and rather than watching a power point we are interacting with each other and becoming more involved in out learning.
Speaking of being involved, I think my Alternative Health course could be the poster child for student involvement and participation. In this course we’ve formed groups but our whole class functions fairly fluently together. We have learned and practiced meditation type routines together and we even ate plants (and maybe a few bugs…) from a garden together. You could say that we’re a well bonded class.
My final class is Health Psychology. So this class actually looks more into what can go wrong with a person psychologically than looking into general psychology, but it’s really interesting. I really like how broad this course is. We talk about a wide range of different topics, learning enough to understand them but not enough to confuse us. And we learn from each other, movie clips and activities, really loving no straight up lectures. As you can see, I’m pretty pleased with my courses so far.