Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Published by flag-gb Amy Donegan — 5 years ago

Blog: Expect the Unexpected
Tags: flag-es Erasmus blog UCM, UCM, Spain

It´s safe to say I didn't expect much in the way of organisation when I decided to go to university in Spain, in fact, if my experiences with Birmingham´s Spanish department were anything to go by, I knew any chance of getting things done on time was pretty much doomed from the start. However, I never in a million years expected to come across any thing, person or institution which could make me, Amy Donegan, (the girl who only realised she needed a student card three months after being enrolled at the University of Birmingham) feel organised!

On the 24th of September all the philology students were gathered for a welcome session in which we were supposed to find out more about our modules. Bearing in mind our course started the following day I was growing increasingly nervous about the fact I hadn't even looked at what was on offer. We were told that we were allowed to take pretty much anything we wanted, first year modules included. This was great for anyone who goes to a normal university but, unfortunately for me, I chose Birmingham, land of the least helpful Erasmus department EVER! We were told we weren't allowed to do any first year modules and given that five out of the eight second year options were medieval literature I was forced to turn to third and fourth year choices.

What came next is what one can only call a complete shambles! I turned up to university bright and early the next day, having dragged myself out of bed at 7 for my first lecture at 8. 30. I fell victim to the completely illogical placement of buildings and rooms in the philology faculty. The buildings, which incidentally do not give any indication of their letter, are arranged in a circle in the order A, D, B, E. C doesn't seem to even exist. When I finally located building B I had to ask at three different information desks before someone could point me to the correct room. The result was a very flustered Amy rushing into class five minutes late to be greeted by the grouchiest old lady ever. I positioned myself at the back of the class and sat trying to understand a word of what she was saying, but before I knew it people were packing their bags and leaving. I was absolutely furious to have got up so early raced around the building only to be told the lecture was over after five minutes and worst of all I had no clue why! I returned home, defeated, wondering what tomorrow would bring.


Refusing to return to the class of the old witch lady I opted for different modules on day two. Accompanied by some friends from my course we decided to tackle a linguistics class. In hindsight, I should have known this was a bad idea from the start given that I barely managed to get a 42 in Linguistics at Birmingham, Angus hates me. We had just settled into our seats and been handed the module program when the lecturer, an old, grumpy looking man, approached our desk before shouting to the class ´THIS MODULE IS FOR SPANISH SPEAKERS ONLY... UNLESS YOUR WRITTEN AND SPOKEN SPANISH IS PERFECT GET OUT OF MY CLASS NOW, I WILL NOT TELL YOU AGAIN´. We exchanged a confused look, this was majorly awkward, fortunately we were on the front row, but our attempt to sneak out unnoticed was ruined when he, ever so kindly, added ´Well, if you´re leaving give me my handout back´.

Reduced to a quivering mess by the wicked witch and old Mr. Scrooge, I returned home to ponder my options. The only other lecture I had attended seemed a lot better yet I was advised by the lecturer that the exam would be extremely difficult for Erasmus students. I emailed Birmingham to clarify why we weren't allowed to take first year modules when every other student was and, as usual, received no reply. Cue several more days of turning up to lectures that were either impossible to understand or which we were rudely denied entry to! After three more (increasingly angry) emails I still had no response from Birmingham and resigned myself to the fact it was a hopeless cause.

The only thing left to do was to head to Tapas 44 for a jug of Sangria!


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