Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

SCENES FROM SUFFOLK MADRID: The ‘study’ part of study abroad

Courtesy of Las Morenas De Espana

While the majority of my articles have been about my adventures traveling around Europe, let me assure you that there is still a lot of hard work going on behind the scenes. In fact, I might consider this to be one of my most academically challenging semesters yet.

Since the Suffolk Madrid campus is pretty small, their course offerings are also very limited. Most people are only able to take classes that fulfill their core requirements. There are also international relations classes and a few business courses, but not much else. 

I’ve known since I enrolled at Suffolk that I wanted to study abroad, and therefore I purposely left four of my core requirements until this semester so that way I would have classes to take.

In my opinion, core requirements can be some of the toughest courses to take, because they’re subjects that you’re not necessarily going into the field of, and they also might not be as interesting to you.

This semester, I’m taking astronomy, contemporary moral issues, history and Spanish. While I’m not super interested in any of these subjects, they haven’t been too bad so far. Astronomy is pretty tough, however.

Suffolk Madrid has longer class times, to supplement the fact that classes don’t meet on Fridays. Most classes are one hour and 30 minutes long, while language classes are two hours long. Let me tell you, that’s a long time to stay focused on one subject.

Mondays and Wednesdays are especially hard for me, because I have philosophy and Spanish back to back, which means I’m in class for three and a half hours with practically no break in the middle. These classes are also smack in the middle of the day, which means I miss lunchtime at the dining hall.

Suffolk Madrid also has a very strict attendance policy, to keep people from skipping class to travel. More than two unexcused absences in a class will result in your grade being lowered by one-third of a letter grade (A to A-, A- to B+, etc.)

While I understand the policy, it makes it very hard, especially in the era of COVID-19, to stay home if you’re sick. You have to have a doctor’s note in order to make an absence excused, which means making a doctor’s appointment and going. I’ve noticed a lot of people coming to class sick simply because they don’t want an absence on their record.

I’ll also admit that because I’ve been traveling and doing so many fun things while I’m abroad, I’ve found it very hard to motivate myself to study and do my homework. I think I have a much better, more productive routine when I’m at home.

When I return from a weekend trip, it takes a lot to get back into a routine of attending class and getting my work done. We just finished up two weeks of midterms, which tested my motivation and attention span the most so far.

Despite all of the fun I’m having in Madrid, a lot of hard work is still being put into going to class, studying and keeping up my grades. Studying might not be the most fun part of studying abroad, but it’s still important!

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About the Contributor
Grace MacDonald, Graduate Copy Editor | she/her
Grace is a graduate student from Seekonk, Mass., majoring in communication with an integrated marketing communication concentration. Besides having a passion for writing, she enjoys listening to Taylor Swift, watching movies and exploring the city. She loves to travel and rock climbs in her free time. After graduating, she hopes to work in corporate communications. Follow Grace on Twitter @GraceM123456

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SCENES FROM SUFFOLK MADRID: The ‘study’ part of study abroad