Sara Khan on her experience with the UCV-US Program: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25rgtjAR33Q
Paige Tweedy on her experience with the UCV-US Program: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_-ObBB_k_Q
Prior to studying abroad in Valencia, I had never really traveled outside of the northeast of the United States. So with that being the case, I knew that I wanted to study in Europe, in a country where the first language was not English and where I would be able to travel. I had studied Spanish in high school and taken a college course while at Siena, so I came to the conclusion that Spain would be the perfect fit. Then, it came down to finding the right program in Spain that would be able to meet my academic and personal goals. I remember having the opportunity to study in either Bilbao, Madrid, Seville, or Valencia and, truthfully it came down to which of the programs and cities best suited me.
After little deliberation, I settled on the beautiful city of Valencia, where I would go on to study at La Universidad Católica de Valencia and live with a host family in the center of the city. I knew I wanted to be located near the Mediterranean Sea, and knowing about the rainy climate in Spain, a region where it rained less was preferable, and Valencia met both of these perfectly. Looking back, it is hard to remember when there was actually acclimate and I have fond memories of taking advantage of the great weather by getting lost in the city or walking El Rio that traversed throughout Valencia. And, it was the perfect size city, meaning that it was not too large, nor was it too small, which coming from the suburbs was the perfect transition to the city. Another great thing about Valencia, was that there seemed to be little foreign influence. Therefore you truly get to experience the Spanish culture, which was one of my main goals before arriving to Spain. I remember eating lunch and dinner with host family every day, and just trying to pick up on as much of the language and culture as I could during those times. It forces you to speak and learn the language and get to know the local people and customs that have made up the city’s history, which was incredibly rewarding and a great experience overall.
Finally there was La Universidad Católica de Valencia, where I studied in the Spring of 2013. It was the perfect program where I was able to complete my upper level history and literature courses, study Spanish, and take a world economics course, all of which helped me graduate on time. The courses were great, however the professors who taught the abroad students made them even better. Each professor being welcoming and understanding, and always willing to help us whether it was with school work or trying to get to know Valencia better, or even going to a Valencia CF game.
Today, I can truthfully say that the study abroad program at La Universidad Católica de Valencia was the perfect place for me to spend my semester abroad. It was some of the best four months of my life and I still keep in touch with the friends I made, my host family, and some of my professors. I am excited to return in the near future, but in the meantime, I envy those who will be studying abroad in Valencia in the coming semesters.
Ashley Austin, Siena College ‘16
The UCV-US program is a great choice if you are looking for a small, close-knit experience, similar to Siena. I was able to complete three courses for my major (Spanish), and two core Franciscan values courses. The program directors and teachers are nothing but kind and helpful. They put in a lot of effort to help you become acquainted with Valencia. Outside of class, I lived with a host family and I was also able to complete an internship at a local school, where I helped with English classes. These two opportunities gave me the chance to experience authentic Spanish culture and life. UCV-US offers a well-balanced program for your study abroad experience. Additionally, Valencia is a wonderful city to study in. The climate is great and if you take advantage of everything the city has to offer, you will never be bored. I would recommend this program to anyone looking for a comfortable and authentic experience of Spain. I had nothing but good experiences from choosing this program!