It was the first school year after the war ended. Most of last year's seventh years returned to redo their last year of schooling. There had been an issue of sleeping quarters, but that was promptly fixed by adding an extra structure to the Hogwarts grounds. Well, technically, there were three new structures: one for each House, excluding Slytherin, which had no returning 'Eighth Years'.
Along with having students return to school, there had also been a change to the curriculum. Muggle Studies was now a required class for every student that was a third year or higher. Some were reluctant and some were furious. But there was nothing they could do about it, lest they wanted to find themselves in need of a new magic school.
It was the first day of classes, and the students were anxious. They had yet to meet the new Muggle Studies teacher. The old professor, Professor Burbage, had been killed by Voldemort over the summer the previous year, and the Death Eater staff of the last school year had never made an attempt to replace her. But, as it already had for the rest of the world – both Wizarding and Muggle, though the Muggles didn't really notice –, life was beginning anew.
"Good afternoon, students," declared a young woman as she walked into the classroom, just a minute after the bell sounded, "My name is Taisiya Yesenin, and I will be your Muggle Studies professor." The students turned to look at her. She was a fair height, with slightly-tanned skin, shoulder-length black hair, and crisp hazel eyes.
"You're all 'Eighth Years', correct?" Professor Yesenin inquired as she strolled to the front of the classroom. She was met with a collective agreement. "Well, that's wonderful, then. Because I have a special project for you all this year." The class groaned.
"You groan now, but I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time," Professor Yesenin informed them. "First things first, I'll pair you all up." She flicked her wand, and a piece of chalk began scribbling on the chalkboard. "The partners will be as follows.
"Lavender Brown and Su Li. Dean Thomas and Michael Corner. Hermione Granger and Morag McDougal. Kevin Entwhistle and Ernie Macmillan. Padma Patil and Hannah Abbott. Neville Longbottom and Justin Finch-Fletchley. Lisa Turpin and Megan Jones. Seamus Finnigan and Terry Boot. Wayne Hopkins and Anthony Goldstein. Parvati Patil and Susan Bones."
The chalk finished writing up the list just seconds after the young professor finished speaking. "Get in your partnerships, please, and I'll explain the project." The students did as they were told, though most were reluctant. Lavender walked over to sit next to Su, and Susan slid into the evacuated chair, right next to Parvati. The Gryffindor and Hufflepuff smiled politely at each other. Of course, they knew of each other, but had never talked, other than a few idle conversations during DA meetings in their fifth year.
"Here's your assignment," Professor Yesenin announced as an eraser cleared the chalkboard. The chalk poised itself to write once more. "Each partnership will research the life of teenage Muggles in one of several countries, and present their findings to the class at the end of the year. Your research will be either totally immersive or non-immersive.
"Each person will pick a slip of paper from one of two hats. One person will pick out which country you will be researching; the other person will pick whether your research will be totally immersive or non-immersive. So, let's pick, shall we?" The professor waved her wand once more, and two hats began floating around the classroom. Each partnership got a slip of paper from both hats, and when all ten partnerships had two slips, the hats floated back to the front.
"Lavender and Su?" asked the professor, who received a reply of "Morocco, total immersion." Dean and Michael were "Brazil, total immersion"; Hermione and Morag were "Egypt, total immersion"; Kevin and Ernie were "India, no immersion"; Padma and Hannah were "Spain, total immersion"; Neville and Justin were "Italy, total immersion"; Lisa and Megan were "France, no immersion"; Seamus and Terry were "China, no immersion"; Wayne and Anthony were "Russia, no immersion". Eventually, the professor called on Parvati and Susan, who were "America, total immersion".
"If your project is to be totally immersive, then you will be living in your country for most of the school year. You will go to a magical school in your country in the afternoons, and attend Muggle secondary school in the mornings. You will be able to take your N.E.W.T.s on time, as well as be able to do your research." At that moment, the bell signaling the end of class rang, and the 'Eighth Years' got up to leave.
"Next week, we will be discussing the project in a bit more detail. Come prepared to take notes!" Professor Yesenin declared as the students filed out of the classroom.
The next week seemed to fly by, in the usual 'start-of-school' blur. On the next Wednesday morning, the 'Eighth Year' students were once again sitting in the Muggle Studies classroom. And again, Professor Yesenin didn't make it to class until after the bell rang.
"Muggle adolescents are not much unlike wizard adolescents. Both like to spend time with their friends, both go to school and receive a lot of homework, and both have raging hormones." The professor paused her speech when she reached the board, and turned to face her class. They were all looking at her.
"Why are none of you taking notes? This will be helpful in your research!" she declared, and there was a rush of sound as each of the twenty students pulled out parchment and a quill. "As I was saying, Muggle and wizard teens are similar. There is one major difference of course: Muggle teens use technology, while wizard teens have magic.
"The goal of this project is to verse yourselves in Muggle teen culture. To do that, some of you will be learning from books, while others of you will be doing hands-on research. While it will be a bit of a challenge for the students who have to do book-research, I have faith in your abilities. With that being said, I believe that the students who will be staying here deserve a head-start, since their task will be more difficult. So, groups that will be staying at Hogwarts this year, you are dismissed to the library!"
She stopped speaking until after the eight students had left. "The rest of you will be leaving for your various countries on Friday after dinner. I hope you've been packing!" she chuckled before continuing, "I've arranged host families for each of you to stay with. On Friday, I will provide you with your travel itineraries.
Professor Yesenin began to hand out papers as she talked. "I suggest you all do some research on your respective country before you leave, so that you have an idea of what you're going into. Also, make sure you pack lots of Muggle clothes. If you're going to a country that speaks another language, even if that language is not the primary language, make sure you either know a discreet translation spell, or are semi-fluent in the language. You might also want to owl-order some gifts for your host family.
"If you don't have any formal clothes, I suggest you owl-order some, or ask your parents or guardian to send you some. It's highly likely that you will need to wear formal attire at least once while you're gone. Boys, remember that you will need dress robes as well as formal Muggle attire. Let's see…what else am I forgetting?"
The professor tapped her foot for a few moments as she thought. Eventually, though, she admitted defeat. "I suppose, if I think of it, I can just tell you on Friday. Class dismissed!" The remaining twelve 'Eighth Years' packed their bags and hurried out of the classroom. As the last student exited, Professor Yesenin smiled to herself. "This project will put you in the next edition of Hogwarts: A History, Taisiya. No doubt about it."
A/N: Well, this is the first chapter. I think this is the third version of it. I'm not really sure where I'm going to be going with this story, but I hope you guys are intrigued enough by the idea that you'll follow me on this interesting adventure. That's all I have to say, I think. Ciao! (And please R&R!)