Now There’s a Man with Class…
So, I have realized yet another exciting adventure but, unfortunately, I can’t regale you with all the amazing details of that or much of anything else at the moment. I have returned to face one of the busiest weeks yet in regards to my classes at the University of Belgrano. We have reached the mid-point of the semester and, as such, it’s time for midterm exams and all the excitement that comes with them. I had my first exam today and I have one tomorrow, another on Wednesday and, to complete this fun-filled week, one on Thursday as well.
I have been, and will continue to be, busy preparing for the exams, but I thought I would take a break from studying to write a short post. Since one of the questions last week was about the University and my classes there, I thought this would be an appropriate time (while my mind is filled with positive thoughts on the subject) to provide some details.
So far, I have provided some pictures of the U and a list of my classes, but little else. Last week, before I left the city for the weekend, I wandered the main building of the University of Belgrano, where I have my classes, with camera in hand to take a few photos. This, as I now know thanks to the kind words of campus security, is not allowed. Why I am not allowed to take pictures of the University that I attend is still unknown to me. I asked the security guard, politely of course, why taking pictures was prohibited, but he was not able to provide me with an adequate response. So, what else was I to do but wait for him to leave, no doubt to rain on someone elses parade, and continue taking photos. That is what I did, and these are the results. I hope you enjoy them all the more knowing that they are the fruits of my clandestine photo shoot on campus grounds.
So, while we are on the subject of things I am NOT supposed to do at the University of Belgrano…
These comfy couches (yes I know because I tried to sit in them once) are for professors only. The only problem is that I have never once seen a professor, or anyone else for that matter, actually sit in them. What’s more, this picture doesn’t even show half of the plush seating that adorns the lobby. So, these leather beauties, and several more like them, sit empty and alone, waiting like a spider’s web to ensnare any unsuspecting students while the spider stands watch in an itchy blue sweater.
Now let’s see, where were we? Oh yes…
You guessed it: professors only. These babies stop on every floor, whereas the student elevators do not. The elevator I take from the lobby goes to 7, 12, and 17. It’s not a big deal, just interesting. My classes are on floors 9 and 10, so I usually just get off on 12 and walk down.
Anyway, enough about what I can’t do. What I am allowed, ok expected, to do is show up to classes. When I do, they take place in a classroom that looks roughly equivalent to this:
It is from these fairly comfortable seats that I listen attentively to every word the professors have to say while at the same time filling my notebooks with copious amounts of detailed notes. That, or I daydream while doodling pictures of monkeys.
Anyway, if you have been paying attention, you already know what classes I am taking, but here are some of the exciting details of each one.
In Argentinian Literature we learn about…well…the literature of Argentina. We started with some pretty early stuff that was quite difficult to read including some stories that were important to the development of the Argentinian Nation and some “Gauchesca” literature that related stories of the Gauchos of the Argentinian countryside. We have since moved on to some more modern literature like the “Vanguardista” poetry of Oliverio Girondo. Ariel, the professor, is a very interesting man with some unique insights into not only literature, but just about any other divergent topic we wander into.
Next, I have Latin American Cultural Studies, where we learn about the discipline of cultural studies in general, as well as the specifics of Latin American culture. This includes reading essays and stories, and even listening to songs, that relate to how Latin American culture has developed in the past, its current trends, and where it might be headed in the future. Lara, the professor for this class, is one of the two professors that I had for my intensive spanish class when I first arrived in Buenos Aires. I liked her so much that I actually decided to take this class based on the fact that she was teaching it.
Another class that I have, taught by the same professor as the Cultural Studies class, is Latin American Literature. The title is pretty self-explanatory. We study literature within the broader scope of all of Latin America. This class and the other literature class cross paths now and again. This is interesting because I get to experience some similar topics from two different points of view and, sometimes, it cuts down on my reading time.
Finally, my favorite class: Tango: The Expression of Buenos Aires. I have this class two times a week, just like the other classes, but one day is spent studying the history of the tango while the other is spent experiencing it first hand by learning its steps. The professor, Jose, is a very likeable guy who knows his stuff when it comes to the tango. The interesting thing about this class is that, out of 30 students, only about 8 are guys and the rest are girls. The guys have to switch partners a lot in order to make sure that all the ladies get to dance. While this may seem like the perfect set up, it means that I barely have time to get comfortable dancing with one person before I have to switch it up. Also, the little time spent dancing each week always leaves me craving more. Because of this, I have begun taking extra classes each week outside of the U in order to learn more of this amazing dance.
Alright, speaking of classes, I need to get back to preparing for them. I’m not sure how, but this short post became a lot longer than I had planned.
I know this doesn’t compare to glaciers and mountain sunrises, but it should serve to answer one of the questions I received last week and, perhaps, tide you over until I can truly attempt to satiate you with something a bit more exciting.