By Alaina Heenan
The relatively new partnership between SNC and San Pablo in Madrid, Spain, is becoming of interest to more and more SNC students, especially those in the natural sciences wishing to study and improve their Spanish. The programs offered at San Pablo are of particular interest to students in majoring in natural sciences and Spanish due to the numerous courses offered in both disciplines. Study Abroad Advisor Alli Reed shares that the numerous course options offered in both Spanish and English means that “students are able to take language and culture courses in Spanish, and then labs in English” which provides an advantage to students wanting to improve their foreign language skills while taking the courses necessary to keep on track for graduating from the natural sciences. As a result, San Pablo is becoming of interest to students that want to improve their Spanish skills without falling behind on other coursework.
To deem whether San Pablo is a good fit for students, numerous SNC professors, including Dr. Bailey and Dr. Mann, visited the facilities in San Pablo. While visiting, Dr. Bailey and Dr. Mann were interested in the types of courses offered, the comparability of course material, and the classroom environment. To see what the typical course looked like, Dr. Bailey and Dr. Mann were able to observe an anatomy and physiology course with 12-15 nursing students from a college in the northeastern United States. Dr. Bailey noted that the course was taught at, if not above, the level that it would be taught in the Human Anatomy and Physiology 215 SNC course equivalent as it included numerous topics from biochemistry, including hemoglobin and its functions. Dr. Bailey mentioned that the course was “great in terms of the delivery and the content,” which was the main concern during the site visit. Because the San Pablo course aligned with the curriculum and delivery of similar courses at SNC, it was deemed that the courses taught at San Pablo provide the same educational value as those offered at SNC.
Additionally, the variety of undergraduate programs offered on the San Pablo campus was of interest. San Pablo’s campus offers 8 different undergraduate academic programs, each of which offer a variety of courses specific to the discipline. The numerous programs offered to students allow them to take content-specific courses that are not offered at SNC. For example, Dr. Bailey and Dr. Mann were able to attend a class in nutrition that taught students how to modify a Spanish dish to be more healthy. The course demonstrates the appeal of this program because students with an interest in nutrition would be able to take a course while abroad that is not offered otherwise. With this in mind, the variety of courses offered by San Pablo satisfies many students’ interests while maintaining the educational value set forth by SNC.
Finally, the environment of faculty and students was of importance during the visit to campus. During the site visit, Dr. Bailey was able to meet with a biology faculty member to discuss her research and student work, and he noted that the environment is very similar to SNC’s regarding the faculty-student relationship and types of opportunities at San Pablo. Additionally, the opportunity to showcase student work at San Pablo was of interest to the department of natural sciences. According to Dr. Bailey, the anatomy lab is state of the art. In fact, students have the opportunity to showcase products used in hip replacements, knee replacements, etc. to orthopedic surgeons. This opportunity is similar to students’ ability to participate and showcase their research during Undergraduate Research Week at SNC, which allows students to share their research findings supervised by a professor. As a result, the likeness of the faculty-student environment between San Pablo and SNC means that San Pablo offers similar opportunities that immerse students into their learning.
The new partnership between San Pablo and SNC is appealing to students of all majors but is growing in interest to majors in the natural sciences due to the variety of courses offered in Spanish and English. Along with this, the similarity of San Pablo’s course content and delivery, the variety of courses, and the environment between faculty and students allowed professors from various SNC departments to deem San Pablo’s education and environment comparable to that of St. Norbert’s. Additionally, the program presents the opportunity to take content-specific courses that allow students to explore a variety of topics that they might not otherwise explore in their undergraduate experience. As a result, SNC’s developing partnership with San Pablo is earning the attention of students, especially those majoring in the natural sciences and/or Spanish, who will learn valuable skills abroad that will be carried into their future careers.