First Day of Classes

Trip Start May 20, 2008
Trip End Jul 14, 2008

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Where I stayed
My Apartment

Flag of Spain  , Basque,
Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Hello to all my dearest,
Sorry it has been a while since I last updated you, but I fear this will now be the routine.  I do not have internet in my apartment, but I'm at least hoping to do every other day on campus.
So this is what you have missed so far:
On Saturday, the group did a tour of a few monuments.  I chose to do some other sights, but forgot my camera.  So, not much to say....I packed and that is about it.  I also have pictures of my hotel, and more of Madrid.  However, I fear I don't have the time to put them up.  I guess you'll just have to see them in person.
On Sunday, we left at 8:00 and headed to Segovia.  Segovia was once a Roman military base and in need of water.  A 9 mile a aqueduct was constructed to channel water to the city.  This remarkable tribute to Roman engineering was built two thousand years ago without mortar.  Yet, it still stands.  (Today, Segovia has more modern plumbing.  The aqueduct could still carry a stream of water if needed.)  I will attach a picture of this huge thing...
Segovia also has a magnificent castle that reminded me of Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty castle.....which it inspired.  It was once a favorite summer residence of the kings of Spain.  It contained Moorish decoration and historic furnishings.  This was the first thing we were allowed to take pictures in.  Therefore, I have many pictures and will attach only a few.
After Segovia, we traveled on to our destination-Bilbao.  Ok, actually Getxo.  Bilbao is the very next town.  It is only about 5 miles away.  When we arrived, we were shown which bus stations to take for our first day-Monday.  We then were dropped off.  Some people were living with host families, but others were given a translator to find their apartments.  We were given a young student (American) that was once in the same program.  However, he is still living here.  Anyway, we couldn't find the apartment.  It took forever.  I felt like we walked a mile or so---dragging our luggage behind us.  When we finally got there, we were not even sure if it was the right place.  Luckily it was.  We then met our landlord.  She is super sweet, but doesn't speak a word of English-other than hot and cold.  She gave us the rundown on the apartment.
So our apartment is 3 bedrooms.  We have a living room, kitchen, and a bathroom.  The apartment is fairly nice.  It wasn't what I expected, but I know it could be much worse.  It will take some getting used to, but I am rather satisfied.  Other students have seen our apartment, and apparently it is one of the nicer ones.  That is nice.  However, we almost feel like we are in the ghetto part of town.  However, don't seems to be very safe.  At least things become rather nice just a few blocks down.
So after we arrived at our apartment, we unpacked and then went to bed.  It was 8:00 p.m. before we were here or found the apartment---or something like that.  I think I made it to be around 12.  I passed out really.
Monday was also exhausting.  We were picked up at our bus stop and went to our school.  It is really not a sight to see.  It is rather run down---but the food was pretty good.  That is a plus.  We did orientation and then had to take placement exams to see what level of Spanish we spoke.  We did a written test and an oral test.  I found out today that I tested into the level I needed to be.  Hopefully, the credits will transfer and I can finish my Spanish this summer.  I love this new and exciting environment.
We then took another group tour.  This time it was of some areas of our town.  This place seems to be so beautiful in places.  However, in others it is terrible.  I am going to try and attach a few pictures from the beach and surrounding areas on the next post.  I don't have time today.  Oh, I also can't forget.  I ran out of money today and the ATM will not accept my PIN.  YES!!!  Anyway, I am going to have to swipe my card inside a bank and get money tomorrow, but that was really annoying today.
We then hung out with a few friends and went to bed.  Today we had our first day of classes.  It was more fun that I expected.  We are not in a normal class...which I was worried about.  It is just the program-USAC-students in our class.  Our teacher is on the USAC she helps explain things to us in English.  It is way more laid back than I am used to.  I think I will really enjoy it.
My address for mailing is:
USAC C/o Félix Menchacatorre
Keshia Ward
Universidad del País Vasco
Biblioteca Central; 2˚ piso
Barrio Sarriena s/n
48940 Leioa, SPAIN
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