Texas Tech University

Students cling to learning Spanish

Virtual Study Abroad Opportunity at TTU Center in Sevilla

Plaza de EspanaThroughout the turbulent year of 2020, college students have learned to face and overcome unexpected new challenges. Among the TTU population are hundreds of study abroad students who have faced disappointment as their much sought-after semesters abroad were cancelled due to the uncertainty of COVID-19. While summer and fall 2020 study abroad programs were completely halted, spring 2021 has provided slightly more flexibility than preceding semesters. While travel-based spring 2021 study abroad programs were suspended, there is a new endeavor that our students, faculty and staff are pioneering together: a virtual study abroad experience for Spanish language learners. Study Abroad and the TTU Center in Sevilla staff have worked closely with the Spanish department to collectively create a virtual experience that will help meet the students' academic and personal goals, despite travel restrictions.

The Spanish program will offer 4 hours of daily instruction via Zoom and will include virtual excursions, cultural connections and weekly interaction with native Spanish speakers available through our long-standing tutoring partnerships. Students will receive 12 hours of Spanish language credit, which is the equivalent of 4 semesters of Spanish at the TTU Lubbock campus. The small class size will provide one-one-one attention between the Sevilla-based professors and our students to directly meet any challenges that may arise via the virtual experience learning platform.

Among the benefits of this new way to earn academic credit through a global lens, this study abroad opportunity allows participating students to retain their financial aid eligibility and allocate their Study Abroad scholarships to learning Spanish.

A small but mighty team is eagerly awaiting the beginning of the spring semester to commence and offer Spanish courses through a unique channel that has never before been attempted at Texas Tech. Dr. Jonathan Deen, the assistant director of the TTU Center in Sevilla is "looking forward to implementing a curriculum that could be the start of a versatile and valuable complement to future Texas Tech study abroad offerings."

Myriam Rubio, the Seville-based coordinator of The Center will join Dr. Deen in teaching a portion of the courses virtually offered. Myriam is "excited to work with students so they can learn and explore the Spanish culture virtually, and to help them succeed in building a rewarding, enriching and enjoyable experience."

Hannah Jackson, a senior Biology major from Lubbock, is among the students participating in the virtual Spanish program this spring. While Hannah envisioned her final undergraduate semester taking place in Spain, she is grateful she will graduate on time and learn Spanish virtually before pursuing her post-graduation endeavors. "I am still saddened by the cancellation of the program, but I understand the reasons why it happened. Although I will be in Lubbock, I am dedicating this semester to trying new things that are out of my comfort zone, much like I would have in Spain," Hannah said. "Overall, I still believe this semester will be full of personal growth and learning for me. I am happy to be a part of the virtual program and look forward to spending my final semester with friends, family and new hobbies."

One of the largest benefits to studying abroad is for students to gain adaptability to their surroundings and circumstances. We at Study Abroad could not be more proud of the students who have embraced this new virtual opportunity with positivity and eagerness to learn more about the Spanish language, Spanish culture and Spain itself via the virtual experience platform.

Written by Lanna Sheldon
Coordinator of the TTU Center in Sevilla

Learn more about the TTU Center in Sevilla, Spain