In addition to the USAC courses in Alicante, Spain, the Alicante Program offers direct enrollment to Spanish Track IV students in the University of Alicante. Lexana Rutz, from Arizona State University, took the course Psicología del Testimonio (Witness Psychology). This is a review of her experience.
Direct Enrollment at the University of Alicante Through USAC
I have been studying Spanish for six years and I have endured many benefits and challenges throughout the years. After my first semester studying at University of Alicante, I decided that I needed to challenge myself a little more, in more ways than one. Over the summer I spoke with the advisors in the office to help me enroll online and choose the class that would best fit my interests. I decided to take a course called Witness Psychology! Throughout the summer there were three different types of enrollment forms and documents that I needed to complete. The fact that I was able to fit the class into my schedule and actually follow through with all the paperwork and not give up was my first benefit.
Once the class began, I had no idea of what to expect. I went through the first couple weeks of class completely anxious and nervous, fearful if I were to space off for even one minute I would miss an important aspect. I remember the first day of class I went up to the Professor and introduced myself, and I couldn’t even get words out of my mouth because I was so terrified. After a few weeks, I was introduced to a student in the class and that has been a fun and exciting experience. Along the way, I have met so many more people in the class and they are so helpful and just want to see me succeed.
I have stayed in contact with my professors and they have been nothing but great and flexible with me in whatever I may need. I was talking with one of the professors one day and she told me that she was so amazed at me that I was able to stick with the class because she could never imagine taking a class in a foreign language. In the aspect of challenges and benefits, the benefits greatly outweigh the challenges. Not only has the class improved my Spanish immensely, but it has also helped me grow as a person. It has helped me become more confident in myself and taught me that when you really want something you need to stick with it. I definitely deal with not understanding things that are discussed in class at times, but that is why it is called learning. I needed to throw myself into something that I wasn’t totally sure of, in order for me to come out of this experience having learned and understood so much more.
Compared to my university in the USA, the approach to teaching here is very different. First, you are not required to buy a $200 book, but they provide you with the materials and PowerPoints that you will need to study. Also, the environment of the classroom is much more calm and relaxed. Often, students walk in 15-20 minutes late and the professor greets them and continues on with class. Students also may leave whenever they want. The professor does not take offense to it and most times will actually say goodbye to the student. We spent the first two months in theory class going over general material and now we are in the Practice part of class. During this part, we are given real cases and are expected to use our knowledge from theory to identify aspects in each case.
I have immensely enjoyed taking this course and highly recommend it for students with high Spanish level. Some of the friends I have met have left an impression on me, and I will stay connected with them. My knowledge of the Spanish language and culture has also expanded and it has helped me feel more connected to the University and the culture in general.
Thank You USAC for making this wonderful experience possible and guiding me through the entire process.