Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bienvenidos a Puerto Rico!

After three days of unpacking, visits to local shops, and figuring out the operations of the University I am so excited to dive into my studies at University of Puerto Rico! I am living in the city of Cayey in the Central part of the island. My roommate, Sylvia, and I share a two-bedroom villa surrounded by palm trees and rain forest shrubbery with a great view of the mountains. I can’t wait to put on my hiking shoes and explore! The University was established in 1967 and it appears that no renovations have taken place since; the walls are verging toward dilapidated and there is no central air conditioning. Consistent with Latin American culture, students commute to school and as classes do not start until next week we have yet to meet many Puerto Ricans.

Yesterday I, along with 10,000 Puerto Rican students, had to get my class schedule from the registration tables in the gymnasium. I noticed that every single female was wearing skinny jeans (despite the 100 degree heat and tropical humidity), had straight hair, and wore either massive heels or gladiator sandals. I stuck out like a sore thumb. Over the summer the University of Puerto Rico went on strikes for 62 days as a result of a tuition battle between students and administration. Many international students scheduled to attend classes at U.P.R. made other arrangements and as a result I will be one of three international students on campus. As the only Caucasian on campus I know that I will be “different”; I don’t know how to dance meringue, I haven’t studied the history of the island, and my Spanish is below a level of native fluency. I am very excited to represent my culture in a way that is positive and I do not take the responsibility lightly.

As of now I am scheduled for the following classes: Economy of Puerto Rico, Society and Culture of Puerto Rico, Salsa Dancing, Sociology of Religion in the Caribbean, Empirical Political Science, History of Puerto Rico, and Hispanic History. I am looking forward to exploring the culture of the island from the views of a variety of disciplines.

No comments:

Post a Comment