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!