Academic Culture: SU vs UA

Coming from a small private school like Susquehanna, to a large public school like the University of Alicante is still something I’m trying to get used to. There’s obviously the difference in language, but besides that I always seem to come across things that catch me by surprise every week. So I came up with a list of 5 differences and/or similarities between the two institutions.

1. Animals

If you’re a student at SU you know about the hundreds of squirrels that run our campus. They’re small, cute and might even grab the half eaten pizza you’ve tossed into the trash can. And occasionally, you might come across a few stray cats hiding behind the bushes. But, at UA you find cats, ducks, and turtles! I remember my first day on campus, there were about seven ducks swimming in a pool of water just a few feet from the library. It was honestly the cutest thing ever.

2. Being on time

As a student at SU you know how important it is to get to class on time because eventually it’ll catch up to you. Well, at the UA there’s isn’t really much pressure on having to be on time. People walk into class 20 to 30 mins late and it’s honestly just astonishing. At least in my class, attendance is not mandatory. So, all you really have to worry about is the final exam.

3. Communication between Students

Usually at SU, if you have a friend in your class, they’re your go-to-person who updates you on anything you might have missed or didn’t understand. You don’t really make it your priority to help another student you never talked to before. At the UA, it’s a bit different, students of the same class tend to create a group chat on WhatsApp and communicate there even if they don’t know you. I guess it’s just their way of reaching out to each other if there comes a time to do so for like a group project or a class cancelation.

4. Furniture

This ones a bit weird but I just have to address it. I remember back at SU how much students (myself included) would complain about the old desks and chairs we would use in class. But coming to the UA has made me realize how grateful I should be because the chairs here are not comfortable at all. The chairs are made out of wood and if you ever have a class in their lecture halls, it’s really bad. There’s really no personal space between you and your partner and if your above 5’7 the desk is not tall enough for you to feel comfortable. It’s miserable.

5. Disrespectful… maybe?

Okay, so back in the states you’re taught at a young age to listen and PAY ATTENTION when the teacher is talking, and if you have a question or want to speak raise your hand. In my one class at the UA all the students pull out their laptops and pretend to use it for class, when we all know they’re not. But that’s not what really amazes me, it’s when everyone decides to have a full blown conversation with each other while the professor is speaking without whispering! I recall being in class one day and the people behind me were being really loud. The professor was aware but didn’t say anything to them, he just continued as if he knew that they’re just hurting their chances of passing the class.

Well that’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed reading about just a few comparisons I’ve made between SU and the UA.

See you next week!


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