Study abroad program

June 28, 2018

Study abroad program in Alcalá opens new doors for students

by Hannah Erickson

CARBONDALE, Ill. — More children than ever are entering public schools as English language learners (ELL), prompting teachers and school administrators to be more prepared to help them excel. To build a knowledge base for themselves, several students at Southern Illinois University Carbondale decided to spend a summer studying in Spain.

For the fifth year in a row, the department of languages, cultures and international trade at SIU has offered a study abroad program to Alcalá de Henares, Spain. This summer, nine students traveled to the Universidad de Alcalá to join the program in the Instituto Franklin.

The experience not only allowed the students to complete classes and learn new information, but it also prepared them for their future careers. For two of the students, those career plans focus on helping ELL children grow and develop.

Preparing so they can help others

Jacqueline Zarcone Enzbigilis, a junior from Fox Lake, Illinois, is studying to be a school psychologist. Seeing the needs first-hand inspired her to push herself to learn more, so she could do more.

“I went to a very diverse high school, and it wasn’t surprising to see a child whose parents didn’t speak English,” Enzbigilis said. “I think that education and mental health are two of the most important things in life. Being able to broaden my communications as a school psychologist with children and their parents on this is truly important to me, and hopefully to others.”

She said the experience will help her to better understand the experience of ELL students.

“Not only am I learning the language here, but I’m learning a culture and how to adapt and understand other people and how they may interpret things differently than I would,” she said.

For senior Mackenzie Hunt, the purpose was very similar. Hunt is from McHenry, Illinois, and is studying to be a high school Spanish teacher with an English as second language (ESL) certification. She joined the study abroad program with the purpose of not only improving her Spanish speaking skills, but also understanding the education system in Spain.

The study abroad program benefitted Hunt in many ways and prepared her for the next step in her career goals.

“My Spanish has improved immensely and I have had a change in how I see others from around the world,” Hunt said.

Nine participating in the 2018 summer program

In total, nine students participated in the summer 2018 study abroad program. Each participant joined with unique goals in mind and are taking a variety of classes such as culture and civilization, business finance, health communication, advanced Spanish, intercultural communication, composition and more.

Students can take up to 12 credit hours, and several finished a complete minor while in Spain. Some of the students will be done at the end of June, and others will remain in Spain until the end of July.

Program open to all students

The study abroad program offered through the department of languages, cultures and international trade is open any student, regardless of major or educational background.

The program is faculty-led and counts as credit hours. For more information about future opportunities, contact Lourdes Albuixech, 618/453-5029.