Glimpse into the classroom

Bom dia pessoal! (Good morning everyone!)

So I realized I haven’t said much of anything in my blogs about my classes down here in Brazil. I really enjoy my classes here at UFC. They are similar to my classes at Ole Miss but, of course, are very different at the same time. One thing that struck me the most is that no one down here takes notes in class! Well, a couple people do but I’m definitely the only one trying to copy down everything off the powerpoint slides in the 0.2 seconds that my professors tend to leave them up. It makes sense I guess since the professors put everything up on SIGAA (UFC’s version of blackboard basically). Unfortunately if I don’t attempt to write down the teachers are saying, ain’t no way I’m staying focused on the material for 2 hours straight ‘cause I’m more likely to just fall asleep. I will never complain about Tuesday/Thursday classes at Ole Miss ever again. An hour and fifteen minutes is nothing compared to two hours of professors speeding through material in Portuguese hah!

My Brazilian culture class is pretty entertaining depending on the subject we’re discussing in class. Some of my favorite days in the class are when everyone gets heated up over a topic and start speed talking and talking all over each other. These days are also the hardest for me to survive as far as the language goes. In one class a few weeks ago, our reading selection focused on how language shapes a person’s identity on local and national levels. I about died laughing when a couple of the students in my class started imitating the carioca accent (carioca means native to Rio de Janeiro) and complaining about the over-accentuated shhhh and phlegmy noises that characterize the accent. It was just incredibly hilarious to me since in January I had listened to actual cariocas make fun of the northeastern accent and its rather sing-songy, up-and-down rhythm. Oh well to each his own haha.

My climatology and environmental health classes are almost the same, despite the fact that there are two different professors, because it’s the same group of students in each class. In these classes, the girls are the ones who take notes and ask the most questions, while the guys just kinda chill back in their desks. Occasionally one of the guys will ask a question if he doesn’t understand something. Oh and these classes have like 4 couples in them. It’s so weird for me to see the couples holding hands, leaning against one another, and occasionally “sneaking” a kiss or two in the middle of class…and I’m assuming the teachers just ignore it because the kids definitely aren’t trying to hide it! Seriously?! Just wait till after class please! Haha they’re not too terrible but I just think it’s funny to imagine what my professors at Ole Miss would do if any of their students tried the same thing.

My Portuguese class and my Water/Wastewater Treatment classes are my favorite. My Portuguese class is really small: 2 Americans, 3 French, a German guy and occasionally the Bulgarian guy will show up too. Our professor, Eulalia, is very sweet and helps us a lot. She’s had some time now to figure out where each of us are at in the language and changes how she talks depending on who she’s talking too. The work we’ve been doing for the past couple weeks focuses on fun word pay, especially in cartoons. I don’t know if I’m just that easily amused, but I’m usually the only one laughing out loud at the cartoons she brings in. And she thinks it’s hilarious that I’m so easily amused, which means I’m usually also the person explaining the humor behind the jokes. At the end of the semester, we’re having a feast where everyone cooks something from his or her country. I’m set on doing chocolate chip cookies, but I think Lara wants to get a little more sophisticated/elaborate.

My Water Treatment class is the only class I have with chemE majors (and civil too, but the chemE’s are the important ones haha). I also work in the lab of the professor who teaches that class. We go through material pretty quickly in there, but the dynamic between the class and the professor is fantastic. This really helps since it’s a 3-hour long class! Bleghhh…but we do get a 20-minute break halfway through. There’s a real smartass in my class and he provides some fantastic entertainment. Occasionally he and the professor will just go back and forth at each other and the whole class is left in fits of hysteria. One time, the professor got so fed up with the student that he made the kid sit in the front row and do the chamada (aka roll call) at the end of class. The student then proceeded to over exaggerate his official voice to perform his duty with the utmost sarcasm. I could barely hear my name called over everyone’s laughter. Another time this particular student and the professor had a debate on which was the prettier phrase to use: “contaminação fecal na água” or “cocô na água.” (Essentially, they were arguing about which sounded better: “fecal contamination in the water” or “shit in the water.”) I was laughing about that for the next day or so.

I haven’t really done much research yet. For a couple weeks, I helped out with growing cyanobacteria and counting their concentrations in the water. Then I got moved to working with adsorption rates with clay in water. After a few days of actually doing something, I sort of lapsed back into idleness, but I’m figuring that’s due to the fact that the student I’m working with broke a rather important part of the reactor while demonstrating how it worked and now we have to wait on the new part to come in. Then last week we had tests so everyone was studying and lab work got pushed to the side. This week, some people seem to be busy, but I haven’t done much other than write these blogs haha. The group of students in the lab are a lot of fun. For example, if y’all saw the FlugTag video I posted, they have an entry into the competition in May. They screamed and started running around the lab hugging each other when they found out they were accepted. Their design looks like the donkey off of Shrek turned into an airplane. Definitely not gonna go far but it will be hilarious to watch. I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

Até o próximo! Beijos!

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~ by dfsg1991 on April 25, 2012.

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