This morning our ISA group went together to the University of Málaga, and we took a placement test, along with other groups of international students who are studying here in August as well.
It was very similar to the way we were tested in France: there was a written part, with tons of multiple choice questions nit-picking at verb tenses and vocabulary words, and an oral part, where you chat with one of the teachers at the school.
I placed into the B2 level, which is apparently the Advanced level... I'm still not sure how I managed that (I almost started speaking French with the teacher who was talking to me), but I'm glad that that's all over with. I don't think we get our placement tests back, which is really too bad, because I'm curious to see some of the answers, and what grade I got... but oh well. They seemed to have a lot of levels broken down, and there are only allowed to be 7 students per class. Right now there are four other people in my level/class... a guy from Germany and another guy from Switzerland, and two younger girls from the US who are also doing a program through ISA (which apparently deals with high school students).
Starting tomorrow I'll have class every day from 9AM - 2PM, with a few ten-minute breaks scattered throughout the day. The school's a quick bus ride away from where Mary and I live, so that's pretty convenient. We even ride right alongside the beach, and there are some pretty intense boats and a yacht or two out there.
These are the classes I'll have... they're pretty general.
Grammar from 9AM - 11AM
Various skills (reading, writing etc.) from 11AM - 1PM
Listening from 1PM - 2PM
We had two of our classes after our placement test and finding out our levels, and they didn't seem too bad overall. It's clear that I still need to brush up on some of my vocabulary but I'm sure I'll be learning lots really quickly.
Once classes are over, it's lunch and siesta time!
It's only been about a day but I can't even begin to express how amazing this lifestyle is. We go home and have lunch, our biggest meal of the day (today we had meatballs and potatoes) and then nap for a couple hours. And since lunch is so late in the day and is so big, dinner is light, and happens late at night - we eat with our host mom at 9PM (in France we ate dinner at about 8PM). So far Karina's cooked some pretty simple stuff for us but it's been really good, and the meals are relaxing.
Once again the juice in Europe is really fantastic. I'm probably going to have to start buying my own because I've already drunk almost all of the carton of pear juice Karina had in the fridge.
Aside from eating with our host mom and making our way through the first day of class, we also took a quick tour around Málaga's center with our ISA group, bought bus passes and stopped at a café. My feet are tired and right now it all seems a bit big (it's quite a step up from Aix) but I'm sure by the time I get used to it all it'll be right around the time to head back home to the US.
I'll try to have some pictures soon. There's definitely a lot to see and do!
Also, I took a shower after dinner tonight, and being here in Europe (and especially living with a host family) has reminded how precious water and electricity are... I got about 15 seconds of hot water tonight and I've never been so excited to wash my hair.