I've started my intense studying regime. So far, it's going pretty well. I've got two great books that I'm currently using that will be immensely helpful if you're looking to learn the ins and outs of the Spanish language.
Practice Makes Perfect: Spanish Pronouns and Prepositions
Practice Makes Perfect: Spanish Verb Tenses
Both books are amazingly beneficial. The school system tends to teach us things that aren't the most useful, por ejemplo, environmental problems, movie stars, and famous inventions of the 20th century. Those were 3 of the 6 lessons I had last semester. Not to say that I didn't learn anything during these lessons. However, I just don't see myself conversing on these topics when I can't even form a syntactically correct sentence. The basics would have helped University of Minnesota, they really would have.
However, now that I'm making noticeable headway on these books, stuff is starting to make sense. I'm learning so many basic things that should have been taught to us, but I just don't feel they were covered fully.
In addition to my studying, I've taken to listening to Pandora, the BEST internet program ever! You search an artist or song that you like and it plays similar songs non-stop. I'm currently listening to about 90% Spanish rock. Hearing the music while studying really helps. I'm starting to pick up words and phrases from the songs, and I'm also getting used to hearing Spanish spoken by natives at average, or more than average, speeds. The best is when an Argentine band comes on and I hear them say Buenos Aires in their special Porteno way. I can't WAIT until I say it that way!!!!
Given that I still have about a month until I leave, I think I'll be moderately prepared for when I arrive. The housing placements should be coming within a couple weeks, and I may or may not have a surprise announcement within a week. Cross your fingers!