Summer study abroad student Tyler Habig kept a blog recording his 6 week experience at Berklee’s campus in Valencia and traveling around Spain and Europe.
11/6/2016 (Spanish date)
Berklee is off to a great start! I have made lots of friends, and several of them are Spanish so they are very helpful to have around. My Spanish speaking ability has gotten much better as I’ve spoken with taxi drivers, restaurant waiters, bartenders, and now my friends.
Spain is quite different from the U.S.! Euros were confusing at first. Coins are very popular, so if you’re a male who tends to wear basketball shorts then you need some kind of purse-like bag to hold all of your coins. Coins can be worth up to 2 euros, and the smallest bill is a 5 euro bill. The drivers still drive on the right side of the road – surprising… – but roundabouts are even crazier here. There are stoplights in the middle of the roundabouts. Also, the pedestrian signals give you 2 flashes of green before it turns red, so you better run if it starts to blink!
The best new food I’ve tried so far is the paella (pah-aye-yah) which is yummy rice with chicken and rabbit meat, and also a Westin Club which consists of grilled chicken, egg over hard, tomato, lettuce, bacon, and cocktail sauce. Yum! Favorite drink is Agua de Valencia or champagne with Valencian orange juice, vodka and gin. Fun fact: the Valencian oranges on their own are terribly bitter and I do NOT recommend eating them off the trees around here.
We’ve had two substitutes this week while our actual professors are with the Berklee Masters students in London recording their final projects at Air Studios, but Sergio and Fabian have been wonderful teachers getting us started. Sergio actually is supposed to teach my video game scoring course next month anyway, but I found out this week that he co-wrote with composer Jack Wall on the music for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. Incredible!
To clear up my schedule, I actually have class four hours a day from noon-2:00pm and 4:00pm-6:00pm. The two classes are very intense so I’m glad it’s not more. There is plenty of homework and lab time to keep us busy outside of class, but we still have lots of fun by going to local restaurants (like TGB – “The Good Burger”) and walking to the beach about 15 minutes away.
The City of Arts and Sciences is an amazing part of Valencia, and I’m so glad Berklee has its campus there. Next weekend I’ll be heading to Paris with my good friend Ryan Van Slyke and his dad, Dave. I can’t wait!
18/6/2016 (Spanish date)
As I finish up my second week, I want to talk a little about my classes. With one week left in the mini-semester (then one more mini-semester to go!), I just took my midterm exam in the Intro to Scoring Tech class. In that class, which certainly doesn’t feel like an intro level course, we have been learning the ins-and-outs of Digital Performer 9 because our professor believes it’s the most beneficial DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) for writing music for film. Personally, I use ProTools 12 but she has taught me numerous skills that can apply to any DAW.
My first class each day, Intro to Film Scoring, is more of a discussion course on the film industry and the composers’ role on the team of movie makers. We’ve watched several documentaries about John Williams, Thomas Newman, and other composers. In that class, we are required to do reading and know terms like underscore which is the original music that the composer writes for a film with dramatic intention.
When I’m not at school, I find that every night I am exhausted from the day so I normally don’t go out during the week. However, during the weekends I’ve been going to bars and to the beach and both are tons of fun! The water is slightly colder here than in Sarasota, FL, but the sand is very fine and the boardwalk is beautiful and reminds me of South Beach, Miami.
My friends and I have attempted to go to clubs a few times for dancing, but it is normal in Spain to arrive at the club as late as 3:00am for dancing until 6:00am. Even with the 6 hour difference putting those times closer to my Indiana bedtime, my work here starts early so clubbing has not panned out yet.
The last thing I want to talk about for this week is the bus system. Every day I ride the bus to and from campus and the whole journey takes about 20 minutes from the time I leave my dorm room to the time I’m on campus. The buses are great and they come every 10-15 minutes. They seem much larger than US buses despite the roads and cars being thinner in Europe. I am glad to have them because otherwise I’d be walking 45 minutes every day just to get to campus. Hooray for buses!
Saturday morning at 5:00am I take a taxi to the airport to meet Ryan and Dave Van Slyke in Paris, France! Next week, I will tell you all about that. Peace out!
Continue reading blog n.4.