Friday, September 9, 2011


No, I won't be giving a weekly update of whatever happens here in my life as a second-time foreign university student but I would be sharing certain things every now and then. Now deep into my second week as a student, as I may have mentioned in an earlier post, I have soon found myself up to my neck in readings and paperwork. If having to do a reaction paper or two per subject per month is crazy, in reality that doesn't even come close to the readings that I would have to make for each subject that I have. I think each of the seven subjects that I have would require in the least three papers that I would have to make of the readings that are required by every subject. In addition to this would be the three books that i would have to read this first semester and of the commentary that I would have to make of these. From these would come the material for a final oral exam which would be scheduled before the final exams of the subjects that I have. I was thinking after a harrowing hour of study recently that for me there would only be three options: one, go crazy; two, throw down the towel, give and return home; three, brace myself, have more faith in God and plunge into the sea of paper waiting for me. 

No, I'm not whining nor complaining. Things may be difficult here (hey, this is higher university quality education, and European at that), but when I first saw the subjects that I was going to have, I felt like a kid trapped in a toy store or locked up in a candy store. Let me enumerate some of them:

1. Magisterio Pontificio Contemporario: or in English, Contemporary Papal Magisterium. Taught by one of my former formators in Bidasoa, it provides an in-depth study of key documents of the popes of the Twentieth century. I've always wanted to study some of those documents.

2. Teología Patrística Latina: you don't need to know much Spanish to know that it's about patristic theology from the latin Church fathers. It's fast becoming one of my favorites, especially since we D. Juan Antonio Gil Tamayo as our professor. The subject is largely about the teachings, theological contributions and writings of the Church fathers from the West, especially St. Augustine of Hippo. I never considered St. Augustine as interesting, rather I thought of him as a bore, especially considering the amount of writings that he had produced. I think my views are about to change.

Well, those are just two of the several subjects that I have and I find really interesting. But they are also because of the professors who teach them to us. Not only are these people well-equipped and most qualified to handle these subjects, these being their specializations, but humanly speaking I find them really humble and with a really good sense of humor. These people teach with passion, but nobody with more passion than Juan Antonio Gil Tamayo. I can almost see S. Augustine sitting down with us in class by the way he describes him. Carmen Alejos Grau, who teaches History of Latin America, explains things with a lot of humor, common sense and wit. Old-timers from Bidasoa would not forget the unforgettable César Izquierdo Urbina, who gives us classes on Reason, Religion and the Christian Faith in Dogmatic Theology, with the same passion, wit and brilliance which is characteristic of him.

Another thing that I have to pass the time as I began to size up my professors was to liken them to Hollywood actors. Alejos Grau has a passing resemblance to Meryl Streep, Izquierdo reminds me of Robert De Niro (just a quaint resemblance. I'm guessing that D. César would need to strangle me upon hearing about this), and Gil Tamayo looks like an older version of the late Christopher Reeve.

Anyway, I guess one slogan of the University would sum up that which I precisely would like to express: ¿Dónde mejor?

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