Cultural diversity and passionate faculty are some of the things students appreciate about Suffolk University’s Madrid Campus (SUMC), while underfunding and lack of communication are areas that could be improved, according to some students.
Dominique Cyr, a junior at SUMC, was exposed to many opportunities during his three semesters abroad – one being the chance to explore Europe both through SUMC and at its own pace.
Classes at SUMC end weekly on Thursdays, giving students the option of traveling during their long weekends. This allowed Cyr to travel to countries like Ireland, Germany, France, Hungary and Italy. Cyr explained that she preferred to study in Europe than the United States after attending SUMC.
“It’s very holistic here, it’s not just about work and profit. If you’re late for work, it’s not that big of a deal. People work to live, they don’t live to work. People also take the time to eat – and eat well, ”Cyr said.
In addition to the exceptional cultural experience she gained while studying in Madrid, Cyr believes that providing a solid education is a priority for the university.
“The Spanish program and the staff here are really great,” said Cyr, “Education is really difficult, especially because you are only allowed to miss two classes.
Cyr explained that she had benefited from the teacher-student relationship. Professor Greenan, who is particularly excellent at his Spanish language course, was a teacher that Cyr praised. She explained how passionate he was about his job and how much he taught. Although Cyr thinks the educational aspect of SUMC is exceptional, she believes that communication between the Boston and Madrid campuses is imperfect.
When Cyr tried to change major, she found it very difficult.
“I was originally a business owner, but now I am focusing on interior design. I had a hard time contacting the Boston campus and now have to take an extra year of schooling due to a lack of communication, ”said Cyr.
Some have attributed the lack of communication abroad to the 6 hour time difference. The lack of communication is mainly caused by jet lag, and also occurs when students have questions on the Boston campus and the Boston campus is not responding to them. however, Cyr is not the only one facing this problem.
“When students have questions about Suffolk and their majors, they end up between different jurisdictions,” Cyr said, “it might have to do with jet lag, but it still needs to be improved.”
Another campus junior, Camille West, has struggled with the lack of communication on campus, but gets by with the help of her teachers.
“There are a lot fewer resources than the Boston campus, but if I need help, I know where to get it. The professors were helpful in tracing things or communicating with the Boston campus, ”West said.
Other aspects of the Madrid campus that students struggle with include the facilities and resources available to them. Cyr discussed that the campus itself should be more of a priority for Suffolk and should be more showcased and funded.
“I think the Madrid campus is really a hidden gem, I mean it’s a foot in the door of Europe. I think Suffolk should really develop that and value that. We need more money for this program and better communication, ”said Cyr.
Due to the large number of freshmen admitted into his class, there weren’t enough resources to provide them with advice on their courses and majors. There aren’t as many classes offered on the Madrid campus either, which Cyr found difficult for the students.
“School resources are more limited because the class choices are also limited due to the small size, but it’s something I had to give up to study abroad and it’s worth it,” a West said.
Although more funds can be invested in the program, overall Cyr has a deep regard for the campus and its experiences in Spain. She believes that the campus offers students a unique opportunity to experience a different culture and a chance to thrive.
“Going to Suffolk Madrid changed the course of my life forever,” said Cyr.
Cyr will be coming to the Boston campus in the spring of 2020 and is feeling bittersweet. Although she will miss Spain, she is excited about a new adventure and more resources at her disposal.