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Monday, March 23, 2015

COE Students Say 'Hola' to Avila

Buildings in Avila
After a brief hiatus from the College of Education’s offered coursework, the Spanish cultural experience returned in 2014 and continues this summer.

Offered to students who are looking to enrich their academic experience, the COE is proud to continue its course articulation and cultural experience with the Catholic University of Ávila, a city near the mountains located west of Madrid.

Aside from taking language, culture, and civilization classes, students will also study linguistic aspects and language rules of the European Union. On the weekends, students and faculty will be able to enjoy educational excursions to multiple Spanish cities, including Segovia, Salamanca, and Toledo.

Ávila has proven to be a desirable location for college students and faculty alike. An hour outside Spain’s capital of Madrid, Ávila’s location allows students to learn about various cultural and geographical aspects and locations of Spain. Students attend Monday-through-Thursday classes and then participate in cultural excursions to surrounding cities and locations on Friday. On top of that, Ávila is an affordable location, unlike Spain’s metropolitan destinations of Madrid and Barcelona.

Program leader Sarah Maheronnaghsh loves Ávila’s secluded location, as it contributes to the overall cultural experience.

“In the bigger cities, you hear English and other languages being spoken,” Maheronnaghsh says of the experience. “In Ávila, you’ll only hear Spanish and we are normally the only Americans present. It truly feels like you’re abroad.”

Former COE professor Ernesto Sanz, a native of Ávila, fondly reminisces on his students’ encounters with various forms of culture shock upon their arrival to Spain.

“People are amazed that the sun doesn’t set until 9:30 or 10 at night [during the summer],” Sanz said. “Not only that, but the meals are all different types of food and dinner isn’t eaten until 11 at night. It takes getting used to but the lifestyle is much more enjoyable.”

This summer, 45 students are expected to attend school in Ávila from SDSU. The fee for the cultural experience includes six units of course credit as well as multiple cultural activities and tours throughout Spain. Transportation and three meals per day are also provided as students are housed in university residence halls.

Multiple faculty members, including Sanz, Dr. Sarah Maheronnaghsh, Dr. Regina Brandon, Dr. Angela McIntosh, and Dr. Karen Cadiero-Kaplan are scheduled to attend the cultural experience this summer. Following the program, students will have the option to travel on their own and utilize their newfound skills around different nations in the European Union.