Author Archives: Zak Suhar

About Zak Suhar

Hola a todos y bienvenidos a mi blog! I like all things business, spanish, eco, and study them all at Mount. One day, I hope to work for a green enterprise, or maybe become an entrepreneur. Find out more about what's tweetin @zmsuhar.

The New Myspace

The New Myspace

Read more


There seems to be yet another player in the ever evolving world of social networking. This time it’s not Pinterest or Google+ competing with social King Facebook, but rather a service that has been around for quite some time…yes thats right, Myspace. In the past, Myspace has been confronted with some criticism on a range of issues, including online privacy, child safety and censorship, but then made a comeback with a focus on music and targeting artists. The service is owned by Specific Media LLC and pop star Justin Timberlake, and in 2012 alone they still had a total of 25 million unique U.S. visitors.

In fact, from 2005 until early 2008, Myspace was the most visited social networking site in the world, and in June 2006 surpassed Google as the most visited website in the United States. In April 2008 is when it was overtaken by Facebook in the number of unique worldwide visitors, and was surpassed in the number of unique U.S. visitors in May 2009, though Myspace generated $800 million during the 2008 fiscal year. So what is with this redesign of yet another new MySpace? Users seem to be able to log in with Facebook or Twitter and are able to import numerous things. There is still a large music component as well which allows users to browse albums, find popular songs and more.

The new interface does indeed look quite clean, just watch the video for yourself or visit https://new.myspace.com/ to learn more. I am curious to see if this new platform is what will get the Myspace name back on the top of the social network market, or if people will still pass it up. Personally, I am on so many social networks as it is, I may just brush this one to the side, despite the sleek design and interest of how it works. It feels as almost a Pinterest or Path for yourself. Leave in the comments what you think this move means for Myspace and other social giants!

Travel Bug: Best Tips for Packing Light

Travel Bug: Best Tips for Packing Light

Read more


A few months ago I was hiking in the Galician region of northern Spain on el Camino de Santiago, and also traveling all around Europe on a tight budget. You can find very cheap flights in Europe, but the costs they hit you with are baggage fees, where if you literally can’t shove, jump, or punch your carry-on into the overhead compartment rack, you will have to check your bag (at a steep or undesireable price). Long story short, I needed to pack for about 10 days straight when hiking and 3 weeks straight over my spring break, all in a lovely Osprey Hornet 46 Liter bag, which is comparable to a larger backpack. So, here is “The Lucky 7,” my general rules to follow when packing in addition to my item lists for two trips!

  1. If it’s on Your Back, it Will Pack – Most of the time if you have a bag on your back, even if it may be a little bigger than standard size, the flight attendant will just look at your bag and pass you up in the line. This may not always work, but remember to try and carry everything you need right on your back.
  2. Plan, Make a List and Check it – Whenever traveling it is good to know where you are going, the weather and climate, etc. It usually helps to write things down as reminders and cross items off once you know they’ve been packed.
  3. Pack Efficiently – It’s true that one person may be able to fit double the items as someone else just because they know how to pack right. To take advantage of the most space in your bag, roll items like pants and shirts and use smaller things like socks and underwear as filler items. When you can, think miniature as far as toothpaste, toiletries and other small accessory items.
  4. Versatility is King – When packing light, if you are trying to minimize items, it’s a good idea to make sure clothes can be worn for different purposes. Pack some pants that can look dressy with a button-up, but also can be pulled off casual and feel comfortable. I highly recommend the prAna bronson pants, my favorite! Try to make sure almost everything can go with all other clothing items in your bag if you can, and maybe lean toward bringing more neutral colors.
  5. If You Debate it, You Won’t Need it – If you keep on thinking you may or may not need an item, leave it out. Always remember you can do laundry pretty much wherever or at least hand wash clothes. This classic mistake might be due to the many seemingly fantastic travel gadgets available, but a good rule of thumb is if you don’t need it at home, you don’t need it while traveling.
  6. Wear it! – If your bag doesn’t fit or you need more space, wear some of your clothes. I once saw two travel buddies in the Stockholm airport literally pulling out half of their clothes in the security checkpoint! Definitely put on the most clunky and heavy things as well as shoes and sweaters so you pass the weight limit. If you’re worried about wrinkly clothes consider buying wrinkle-free wear.
  7. Simplify – Remember that you can always buy things there. Challenge yourself, see if you can survive with the most minimal belongings. The nice thing is too, then you don’t need to lug around a very heavy bag the whole trip!

Here is a sample list of the things I brought with me in my spring break bag where I traveled to around 5 different countries: comfortable walking shoes, sandals, Patagonia capilene baselayer, hat, sunglasses, swimsuit, shorts – 1 athletic – 2 North Face, shirts – 2 dress – 2 undershirts – 1 long sleeve tee – 4 tees, pants – 2 pair, socks – 5 pair (odor resistant if possible!), underwear – 4 pair, jacket – rain/insulator, moneybelt/documents, electronics – cell phone (doubled as alarm clock) – camera – ipod – computer (if need be) – chargers – memory cards, Nalgenes, watch (comes in handy!), ear plugs, toiletries, small quick drying pack towel, notepad, small first-aid, bag locks, chico bags and any snacks if you wish. I would say I overpacked too!

On a different trip, when I hiked for 10 days in northern Spain, I substituted some things out for others: comfortable hiking boots (worn at almost all times), sandals (for at hostels), Patagonia capilene baselayer, hat, bandana, shorts/pants – lightweight convertable zip-offs – 1 athletic, 1 North Face, shirts - 4 pair, socks – 5 pair (boy did these smell), underwear – 4 pair, jacket – rain/insulator, moneybelt/documents, electronics – cell phone (doubled as alarm clock) – camera – ipod – chargers, Nalgenes, watch, ear plugs (necessity for group hostels on the trail!), toiletries, small quick-drying pack towel, sleep sack, hammock, collapsable hanger, playing cards, notepad, small first-aid, bag locks and chico bags. Some other hiking materials were needed on this trip.

Just remember with added fees from airlines, the hassle of baggage claim and the many TSA regulations, being able to carry on luggage is a must and will make your life a heck of a lot easier. There are many instances where people need to get their bag checked, and you do not want to fall into this trap. My one friend on the way to Morocco barely got her bag past security after I saw her pull out Ugg boots, and other heavy items too (see tip #6)! I have confidence that everyone will be master packers next time they travel. Here are some dimensions for your convenience…

American Airways: The maximum dimensions cannot exceed any of the following measurements: 22″ long x 14″ wide x 9″ tall or 115cm (56 x 36 x 23 cm). All carry-on items should be stowed in an overhead bin. You are also allowed one personal item in addition to your carry on.

RyanAir: Strictly one item of cabin baggage per passenger (excluding infants) weighing up to 10kg with maximum dimensions of 55cm x 40cm x 20cm is permitted. (handbag, briefcase, laptop, shop purchases, camera etc.) must be carried in your 1 permitted piece of cabin baggage. Extra/oversized cabin baggage will be refused at the boarding gate, or where available, placed in the hold of the aircraft for a fee of £50/€50. If you are unsure, check at the Bag Drop desk before going through security. You are NOT allowed on personal item in addition to your carry on.

I hope “The Lucky 7″ and my sample lists can help you on your next adventure!

Me Incorporated: A Personal Branding Lesson

Me Incorporated: A Personal Branding Lesson

Read more


After going through many business classes and the BUS 100 course series on resume building, interviewing, and obtaining a job, I realized more and more how important it is to build a personal brand. There is a great article on Fast Company, The Brand Called You, where it states that “it’s time for me — and you — to take a lesson from the big brands, a lesson that’s true for anyone who’s interested in what it takes to stand out and prosper in the new world of work. Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.” It is a matter of how well together you can show companies your skills, values, and virtues. First here are some things you must first think about…

  • What makes you different?
  • What’s the pitch for You?
  • So how do you market brand You?
  • What’s the future of You?

“So it’s a cliché: don’t sell the steak, sell the sizzle. it’s also a principle that every corporate brand understands implicitly, from Omaha Steaks’s through-the-mail sales program to Wendy’s “we’re just regular folks” ad campaign. No matter how beefy your set of skills, no matter how tasty you’ve made that feature-benefit proposition, you still have to market the your brand — to customers, colleagues, and your interviewers. It’s this simple: You are a brand. You are in charge of your brand. There is no single path to success. And there is no one right way to create the brand called You. Except this: Start today.”

One way to easily kickstart Me Inc. is to be searchable. Virtually everyone is on Facebook, probably twitter, maybe Tumblr and Instagram, and possibly WordPress. Now, wouldn’t it be nice to collect all of these services into one place, all branded together at one for You? This is where About.me and Flavors.me come in to play. Basically, you just sign up for FREE to quickly build your personal page that points people to everything you do, all around the web. If you are a web artist, post your work, if you are an avid blogger, link your posts. Be sure that employers can see what you do, and do well. Visit my Flavors site here, and start branding yourself today!

29 Ways to Stay Creative

29 Ways to Stay Creative

Read more


Do you feel like things are melancholy? Are you looking for some sort of exhilarating change? Can you not think about a good topic for your next research paper? All of these things happen, maybe more than others, and I have definitely had experience in all three. This list may help spice up your day and improve productivity, and hopefully leads to some creativity. Maybe after watching this video you can choose two out of the list, or even print it off and post it to your wall. Albert Einstein said that “creativity is contagious,” so pass it on.
  1. Make lists.
  2. Carry a notebook everywhere.
  3. Try free writing.
  4. Get away from the computer.
  5. Quit beating yourself up.
  6. Take breaks.
  7. Sing in the shower.
  8. Drink coffee.
  9. Listen to new music.
  10. Be open.
  11. Surround yourself with creative people.
  12. Get feedback.
  13. Collaborate.
  14. Don’t give up.
  15. Practice, practice, practice.
  16. Allow yourself to make mistakes.
  17. Go somewhere new.
  18. Count your blessings.
  19. Get lots of rest.
  20. Take risks.
  21. Break the rules.
  22. Don’t force it.
  23. Read a page of the dictionary.
  24. Create a framework.
  25. Stop trying to be someone else’s perfect.
  26. Got an idea? Write it down.
  27. Clean your workspace.
  28. Have fun.
  29. Finish something.

Travel Bug: 4 Tips to Avoid Being Pickpocketed

Travel Bug: 4 Tips to Avoid Being Pickpocketed

Read more

While I was studying abroad in Spain, one of the first bits of advice our program directors gave us was over the topic of pickpocketing. Since Europe is such a travel hub people, especially in big cities, can sometimes make a living out of pickpocketing. At the beginning I was a little scared just from how many times we were told to guard our money, know where things are, etc. Truthfully, the crimes aren’t that bad just as long as you are attentive and aware of your surroundings. I have heard several stories of my friends where they felt they were getting pickpocketed but it was too late, or how someone once tried cutting the bottom of their backpack. The troubling part is that once something is stolen it has probably been on three other people’s hands, and your belongings are long gone (Minus the fact of my friend who ran down his stolen wallet one time!)

To ease the minds of all of you who are thinking of studying abroad, traveling, or just want to be extra careful, these simple steps should keep your money where it belongs. Follow these, and let your mind be at ease while traveling!

1. The Back Rule - Always keep things in your front pockets, and never hang your purse or backpack on a chair in a restaurant or cafe. Make sure your bag is between your legs, and don’t let strangers distract you (particularly out of the window), someone else is probably onto your stuff.

2. Distribution - Don’t have all your key belongings in one place, use a money belt, and never carry all your cash with you. The most praised money belt model is Rick Steves’ Silk Money Belt, from $10 on Amazon. Never carry your passport out with you. Keep a copy instead. If for some reason you are carrying loads of cash, keep it in different places — some in your wallet, some in inside coat pockets, some in your sock, wherever.

3. Be Aware of Your Surroundings - Anytime you are in a crowd, on public transit, an elevator with many people, it is an opportune setting for people to pickpocket. Beware of any strangers approaching you and mock situations. People will distract you while someone else is stealing from you. A standard rule would be “Do not engage, act like you belong.”

4. Double Check and Be Safe! - (No I am not referring to the Aaron Rodger’s Discount Double Check TD celebration). Always have your hands feeling your pockets, holding onto your purse, or have backpacks with locks on the zippers. Also, avoid places that look sketchy or are known for muggings!

I hope this didn’t scare you, but helped you. Just remember these few rules and traveling should be a breeze!

I’m Home…And Back to the Roots

I’m Home…And Back to the Roots

Read more


I just got back to the states, and still have many posts I would like to share about my experience abroad … don’t worry. Over the rest of summer and once school starts up, I plan to compose some posts about surviving in a different country, tips to avoid being pick-pocketed, traveling advice and maybe some inspirational photos. Right when I got home I felt a little relieved, but the truth is I still wanted to be in Spain. The Euro 2012 soccer games were still going on, Olympics starting up and coverage over Spain in the states was booming. I wanted to turn right around and go back! Over a few weeks, hours upon hours of editing photos, and seeing old friends, it was nice to finally be back in my roots.

My summer has been jammed with working, volunteering, concerts and adventuring through the beautiful state of Wisconsin. I also received a gift from my oldest brother and joined the Back to the Roots community. Back to the Roots was founded at UC Berkeley in 2009 two months away from graduation when two students came across the idea during a class lecture of being able to potentially grow gourmet mushrooms entirely on recycled coffee grounds. Inspired by the idea of turning waste into wages and fresh, local food, they experimented in a fraternity kitchen, ultimately growing one test bucket of tasty oyster mushrooms on recycled coffee grounds. With that one bucket, some initial interest from Whole Foods and a grant they decided to forget the corporate route, and instead, become full-time urban mushroom farmers.

They offer a grow a Grow-Your-Own Mushroom Garden which lets anyone, across the country grow their own gourmet mushrooms at home (see video). Part of my job in the community is to upload photos of my mushrooms, provide them with feedback, and sit in on webinars with the founders. When I post a picture with your kit fully grown on their facebook page they will donate a kit and sustainability curriculum to an elementary classroom of my choice to support youth sustainability education! They’ve reached over 10,000 kids with this campaign. I can’t wait to bring my kit to school with me and it does feel nice to be back in the states!

Spanish Industries: A World Power

Spanish Industries: A World Power

Read more

Despite the undeniable and many problems in the country of Spain, like needing a new economic model and having over 20% of unemployment, Spain has much to be proud. They are leaders in many different industries like olive oil, leather, renewable energy, desalinization and sports. The country ranks globally as well in sectors such as air transport, infrastructure development, tourism, banking, textiles, civil engineering, medical technology and aerospace, agribusiness and hospitality.

 

Renewable Energy

First, renewable energy is a market vastly improving. Spain is the fourth country with installed wind capacity in the world, only behind China, the United States and Germany, and the largest producer of wind power across Europe. Spain is also an exporter of equipment, services and technology related to this sector and has attracted a number of foreign investments. There are industrial companies such as Gamesa, the second world producer of wind turbines, and Iberdrola Renewables, the leading developer of wind farms in the world. For example, the United States accounts for one third of Iberdrola Renewables turnover.

When it comes to photovoltaics, Spain is the second leading country in Europe with photovoltaic power, Germany being the country that leads the list. In 2010 the installation market outside Spain grew by over 130%. In 2010 the photovoltaic industry exported more than 70% of its production. The leaders of all renewable energy in the world, according to the accumulated power, are Europe (most notably Germany and Spain, with more than 50% of world total), Japan and the United States. Also, Spain is a world power in solar thermal energy and has recently been positioned as the first in the world in production leaving the United States second. The conditions are very favorable country to install solar thermal plants, because it has abundant sunshine and large desert areas.

 

Aeronautics Technology

The high-speed train (AVE) is not the only means of transport where Spanish companies have carved a niche in the world. Three out of five flights in the world are controlled by Spanish systems of navigation, making them one of the first countries in the world in this technology. Indra is a world leader in high technology products such as three-dimensional radars, simulators, control systems, air traffic, and satellite communications. Another Spanish company GMV is a global leader in satellite control centers of telecommunications.

 

Health Technology

Spain has become one of the European countries most health technology exports. The keys to success of the Spanish label products have a lot to do with the heavy investment in R&D each year performing health technology firms, resulting in many new solutions. Grifols, a Spanish multinational specializing in the pharmaceutical and hospital industry, is the world leader in blood products, diagnostic systems and medical equipment. It has 77% of foreign sales, and in crisis just bought one of his main rivals to become the third largest manufacturer. The European Union and the United States are currently the largest recipient of Spanish products (75% of exports), but its presence in emerging markets (China, Middle East and Latin America) going through the roof.

 

Water Treatment and Desalination

Spain is next to Saudi Arabia as the largest power in desalination and water treatment technologies, and is the largest producer of desalinated water in Europe and America. There are several companies in the industry that are bringing in technology throughout the world. The most important of these is Spanish companies Acciona Agua, which has won countless awards such as  ”Best Water Company in the World” according to Global Water Intelligence.

 

Acciona Agua is a world leader in seawater desalination by reverse osmosis. It has built over 70 desalination plants, whose total production supplies more than 5 million people, with plants in the United States, UK, Italy, Peru, Cape Verde, Algeria and UAE. Furthermore, a desalination plant just opened in London and will supply drinking water to a million people, and one in Florida built two years ago is the largest of the United States.

 

Tourism

Tourism is the main source of income for the Spanish economy, and places Spain as the second country after the United States in tourism revenues, and ahead of France, Italy, China and Germany. On the other hand, it is the fourth country in the world that receives more tourists after France, the United States and China. Also good for tourists coming to Spain is that client loyalty, 80% of those who come, repeat.

 

Food Sector

In the economic crisis, Spain has managed to match Italy’s second largest producer of wine, behind France. Spain is the biggest exporter of olive oil in the world (accounts for 50% of the European Union and 35% of world production) and also stands out among the first countries in the development of technologies for improving crop. It is also the world’s fourth largest ham or jamón industry after China, the United States and Germany.

 

In recent years, innovation in catering services has placed Spain as the fifth country in number of Michelin stars (for restaurants), behind France, Japan, Germany and Italy. Spain is also on the list of the top 50 restaurants in the world, and in 2011 placed three of its restaurants in the world top-10.

 

Distribution and Fashion

A total of three Spanish companies are among the 50 largest retailers in the world including Inditex, Mercadona and El Corte Inglés.

 

Sports

Beyond the borders of Spain, one of the earliest references to the country would be about the excellent level of athletics. Spain is one of the two or three major world powers, talk about football, basketball, tennis, cycling, football and motor sports. In soccer, Spain holds the top spot in FIFA rankings and is the current World Champion, unanimously considered as the most powerful in soccer today. Also, Barcelona and Real Madrid are arguably the two teams on the planet with the greatest impact sports, economic and social development. In basketball, Spain has consolidated over the last decade as the second largest world power (after the United States of course) and the best European team. Without going any further in the last five years the basketball team has a World Cup, two victories in the Eurobasket and an Olympic silver medal. Other notable sports are tennis, with Rafael Nadal and cycling.

 

Life Expectancy

According to the latest study by the OECD Spanish women are the second longest-lived of the planet with an average life expectancy of 84.9 years, surpassed only by Japan (86.4 years). Also counting men attributing to the whole population, Spain is second only to Japan and Switzerland, being the third largest life expectancy of the planet. Pretty neat!

(All facts were taken from En que sectores es España una Potencia, a blog we went over in my Spanish for business class).

 

A Language Barrier?

A Language Barrier?

Read more

You could practically fit the whole continent of Europe in the states, and it makes up almost 45 countries, as opposed to 50 states! This is hard to grasp especially when thinking about traveling over spring break and on weekends. Driving to Ohio from Wisconsin would be like visiting Portugal for the weekend, and flying to Los Angeles would be like flying all the way to London. Just to show you how diverse Europe is take a look at how many languages they speak, in addition to Spain alone!

There are a total of 230 different languages/dialects in Europe. So basically this would be like every state in the United States have roughly four languages or dialects. Sheesh! Here is only a brief summary of only the Romance languages commonly encountered in Europe.

  • Catalan is official in Andorra; co-official in the Spanish regions of Catalonia, Valencian Community (as Valencian) and Balearic Islands.
  • French is official in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Monaco, Switzerland and the Channel Islands. It is also official in Canada, in many African countries and in overseas departments and territories of France.
  • Italian is official in Italy, San Marino, Switzerland, Vatican City and Istria (in Croatia and Slovenia).
  • Latin is usually classified as an Italic language of which the Romance languages are a subgroup. It is extinct as a spoken language, but it is widely used as a liturgical language by the Roman Catholic Churchand studied in many educational institutions.
  • Leonese is recognized in Castile and León (Spain).
  • Portuguese is official in Portugal. It is also official in Brazil and several former Portuguese colonies in Africa and Eastern Asia.
  • Romanian is official in Romania, Moldova (as Moldovan), and Vojvodina (Serbia).
  • Romansh is an official language of Switzerland.
  • Sardinian is co-official in the Sardinia Autonomous Region, of Italy. It is also spoken by Sardinian diaspora. It is considered the most conservative of the Romance languages in terms of phonology.
  • Sicilian is spoken primarily in Sicily, Italy. With its dialects, spoken in Southern Calabria and Southern-east Apulia, it is referred also as Extreme-Southern Italian language group.
  • Spanish (also termed Castilian) is official in Spain. It is also official in most Latin American countries with the notable exception of Brazil.

Of all the 230 languages in all of Europe, Spain alone shares its own five dialects. Aranese, co-official in the Pyrenean comarca of the Aran Valley is spoken in north-western Catalonia. Basque, is co-official in in the Basque Country and Navarre and the only non-Romance language in mainland Spain. Catalan, co-official in Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and, as a distinct variant (Valencian), is spoken in the Valencian Community. Lastly, Galician is also spoken and co-official in Galicia. As you can see, Spain and all of Europe can create many language barrier problems, especially for study abroad students like me! So far, no problems, crossing my fingers…

Spanish Food (With Fideuá Recipe!)

Spanish Food (With Fideuá Recipe!)

Read more

I would like to share some of my favorite recipes I have made in Spain, including the most savory tastes. Before I dig in, the main differences are the abundance of jamón and pan, and every meal my host mom diligently asks ¿Quiéres más pan?, or do you want more bread? If it’s a soup, sure, but if not I am fine without carb loading every meal. But really, the food here is awesome, you should check out these photos, and if you have the chance travel to Granada and try a kebab, it’s pure deliciousness.

A few other things commonplace are bocadillos which are just big sandwiches usually with jamón or tortilla de España (compared to a thick potato omelete – recipe). Montaditos are popular too for tapas, and are mini sandwiches (great restaurant – 100 Montaditos). To top off your meals for dessert I recommend turrón a la piedra (recipe), a great dulce here in Alicante.

Now I would like to share a recipe of fideuá which I made in my cooking class. It has shrimp, crayfish, clams, oysters, and vegtables all over a bed of macaroni noodles and is very famous in Alicante. You may be familiar with paella, what Spain is know for, but just substitutes the macaroni noodles for rice! Get cookin.

Ingredients:

  • 450 g/1 lb. firm white-fleshed fish fillets, skin removed
  • 450 g/1 lb. fideos, capelli d’angelo or vermicelli noodles
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons paprika, pinch of saffron threads
  • 450 g/1 lb. medium uncooked prawns
  • 125 ml/4 fl oz olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 350 ml/12 fl oz basic fish stock
  • 24 small mussels, cleaned
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

  1. Cut the fish into 4 cm/1-1/2 inch pieces. Peel the prawns and remove the veins, leaving 6 unpeeled. Clean the mussels. Crumble the noodles into a large saucepan of lightly salted boiling water, stir well and return to the boil for 3 minutes.
  2. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside in a colander. Heat the oil in a paella pan, large frying pan or wok. Add all the prawns and cook for about 5 minutes until pink, stirring often. Remove with a slotted spoon.
  3. Add the fish and cook briefly, turning once. Gently stir in the garlic and cook for several seconds. Add the paprika, cayenne pepper, tomatoes, saffron and fish stock and bring to the boil over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir well, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the mussels and simmer for 4-5 minutes, until they open, stirring often; discard those that do not open. Stir in the peeled prawns and noodles and heat through.
  5. Smooth the surface of the Fideuà with a knife or spoon, then place under a hot grill until a light brown crust forms. Arrange the unpeeled prawns on top…. and serve.

Mount Union vs. Universidad de Alicante

Mount Union vs. Universidad de Alicante

Read more

Spanish life is very different from back home, there are many things I am going to miss, but also customs I wish I could take with me. When it comes to the two universities I have attended the past few years, they share this same perspective. I am going to give you a quick comparison of seasonal UMU and tropical UA. First and foremost the size of the campuses is much different, which is a change to me. Mount Union enrolls about 2,200 students on a rather small campus, whereas Alicante has approximately 25,000 students studying there (with more faculty than all students at UMU: 2,319), and sits on a one square kilometer modern campus. La Rabassa airfield was located on these lands until the opening of El Altet Airport in 1967, until the university opened. Alicante is bigger in both aspects but both campuses are rather modern.

One other things differentiating the two would obviously be the climate. Mount Union has very harsh, seasonal weather with surprise snowstorms and ice glazes whereas Alicante has many palm and pomegranate trees, and a warm but dry climate. I would say both campuses are beautiful just in a different aspect. On Alicante’s campus there are many more restaurants and cafes which would attribute to the size as well.

Both places have their respective sports too. Alicante has fútbol or soccer teams (outdoor and indoor – the women’s indoor team is nationally ranked), fencing, rowing, and more, whereas Mount has American sports like baseball and football, but no rowing or fencing. Lets just say we would dominate in a football match, but fútbol would be a close call.

A few things I haven’t noticed in Spain are greek life and school spirit. They have clubs and extracurriculars, not as many, and fraternities and sororities are nonexistent from what I know. Also, in the states it is very common to select a school because of its great reputation, and people are very proud to say that they are from Mount Union or Harvard or Princeton. So far, I haven’t really gotten the sense of this, school is more so just classes and the extracurriculars you enjoy.

Classes for me in Alicante are a little different because I am an exchange student, so I am just taking Spanish courses along with some culture ones like cooking and sailing. It is to my knowledge that Alicante has a rather strong engineering program, and offers many more majors than Mount since it enrolls more students like tourism, etc. In Ohio, I am used to waking up last minute before class and getting there right on time, but here it is a whole different story. To get to class at 9:30am I need to leave my house my 8:20 to catch a train, which connects to a bus, then walk about 10 minutes to class. If I forget something at home or wake up late, tough luck!

One last thing was trying to figure out the Spanish keyboard in the computer lab!¡!¡!¡! It was quité thè experience learñing all these néw symbols. Adios!