By Andrea Zheng

After a week of being here, I have settled into somewhat of a routine from the craziness of figuring out this new city. A big component of this program is of course the classroom content that you will be learning, so I’m going to outline what a typical school day looks like! Keep in mind that I am taking the Spanish 150/170 class, so I will be mainly focusing on that class but the structure is very similar for the other classes as well.

Classes generally run Monday through Thursday (with some exceptions) and begin at 9 AM at Tecnología Turística Total in downtown Merida. It will vary depending on the location of your house, but my roommates and I typically got up around 7:00 AM (more like 7:15 AM for me) to get ready for school.

Our mamá would always make us breakfast in the morning before sending us off to catch the bus, which is the mode of transportation for us to get to school. The mamás show us the bus route before we have to take it by ourselves, so don’t worry if you (like me) are clueless to the public transport system.

Like I said before, class begins at 9 AM and will last until 1 PM on a typical day. During this time, my teacher (Professor Falce-Robinson) would go over the readings that we did the previous night using discussion questions. I really like her style of teaching, because instead of lecturing at us, we would use discussion among small groups and then the class as a whole.

A four-hour class would be exhausting to sit through in its entirety, so we get a break 30-minute break halfway through class. Because we are in a downtown area with lots of little shops, a lot of people will walk to Starbucks to get their caffeine fill or to a local grocery shop to get a little snack before heading back to the second part of class.

After class is over, it’s time to head home for lunch. Our mamá was amazing and would make sure that lunch was ready by the time our hungry selves came home from school. After a big lunch, what else is there to do but take a siesta! Normally, there will be a thunderstorm with rain going on anyway, so it’s the perfect time to take a little nap to pass the time.

This is also a good time to get the reading done for the next day (or in the case of the other two classes MySpanishLab). A tip I would give to future students is to get as much homework done before the program as possible, as this will leave you so much more time to explore the city. There’s nothing worse than having to stay in for homework while your classmates are out and about.

Once the homework is done and the rain clears, we generally grab a quick bite to eat for dinner and then we have free time to do whatever we want.

This is of course a very rough outline that can change based on the day, but hopefully this gave you guys some idea about how a normal day passes here. The teachers are very good about making sure the students are understanding the content, given that it is a very fast-paced learning environment and they will sometimes even hold office hours before midterms. They understand that an important part of the program is experiencing the culture and tradition of the city, not just being cooped up doing homework, and that reflects in the course load.

This is how a typical Monday through Thursday week looks, so what do we do the days we don’t have class you ask? Well check out the blogs about Cultural Excursions to see the amazing trips that we get to go on!

Andrea Zheng studied abroad in Merida in Summer 2019.