Reflecting on Learning: My Course Feedback

Ashley Carrasco-Hernandez headshot
Ashley Carrasco-Hernandez
December 9, 2023

Although my stay did not last long here in Salamanca, I manage to learn a lot about this beautiful city and España history. I will evaluate some of the courses I took with IES Abroad along with my experience taking a course at their partner university, Universidad de Salamanca. 


  • SP 401- Spanish Language in Context: Emerging Competent Abroad I

In my program, there's a mandatory Spanish class for all participants, regardless of their Spanish proficiency. Placement into these classes is determined through a language placement test comprising two parts: an online assessment and an in-person Spanish oral test upon arrival in the host country. Due to my upbringing speaking and writing Spanish, I was placed in the highest-level class. However, contrary to my expectations, this class differed significantly. Taught by Professor Marta Vacas, she was not only a kind and empathetic instructor but also a genuinely personable individual if you had the opportunity to interact with her. She displayed a keen interest in learning about us while enthusiastically sharing her wealth of knowledge. The course encompassed various aspects—writing, speaking, and reading—but notably emphasized speaking and encouraged us to communicate predominantly in Spanish rather than defaulting to English. However, a major concern shared among my classmates and me was the scheduling; these classes were held every day at 9:30 a.m., which was quite challenging for many of us.


  • HS 366 - Regionalism in Spain: Political Union and Cultural Intersections

The course covers Spain's historical and current political structure, focusing on autonomous communities, regional diversity, cultural influences, and the relationship between these regions and the central government. Taught by Zulima Sanchez Sanchez (this is no error, in Spain its typical do have both parent’s surnames and in her case both parents happen to have the last name Sanchez), she a law professor from USAL in the Law department. She is honestly one of the most intelligent people I have ever come to known, she is very passionate and enjoys law, but also sharing her knowledge and to learn about our country as well. She is also very sweet and caring when you get to know her, but also very funny and such a meme. This course was the hardest one, I have to say out of all the ones I took though so just keep in mind that there is going to be a lot of info thrown at you.


  • RL 271 - Paths of the Sacred: Pilgrimage in Religious Traditions and its Evolution in Europe

The course aims to explore the evolution of scientific thought about religion and its interpretation, introduce essential anthropological and phenomenological theories on pilgrimage significance in religions, and critically analyze the history and internal dynamics of major pilgrimages across various religious traditions. Taught by José Ramón Matito, a professor at the other partner university in Salamanca: Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca. If you can I would highly recommend this professor and course. I will admit that at first, I wasn’t so much of a fan but as I started to learn and see how passionate he was about what he was teaching us changed that for me. I honestly miss the class and people in that class, he was a great and funny professor. But be prepared to give a presentation basically every week. Every week we were all assigned a place or topic and we would present it to the class, share knowledge and he would add on to things you may have missed or were incorrect. It sounds intimidating but it wasn’t that bad.


  • PS 272 - Psychology of Performance and Motivation: Factors and Contexts

This course prepares professionals in psychology, education, and human services to elevate performance and well-being in sports, academics, music, and careers. It covers understanding performance needs, individual challenges, and effective strategies. It delves into interventions like motivation, stress management, goal setting, time management, communication, and coaching techniques to enhance human performance across diverse activities. Taught by Fabián Sainz, also a professor from USAL of the Psychology department. I think he is a genuine and nice as a person but in terms as a professor not so much. Honestly, I didn’t enjoy this class as I thought I would, this class was super disorganized and complicated for no reason, that caused myself and many others to be stressed out. We just never knew what to expect. The class was also mostly student taught, but in groups we would split a topic read the reading under that section and present a presentation with some activities for the class which would trying to extend it for 1 hr 30 mins, which was just so long and I felt like I wasn’t really learning. I personally didn’t like this class but one could have a better experience than I did.


  • USAL- Intervención Psicológica en la Vejez

Even though I have spoken Spanish my whole life, I was still nervous to take this class and interact with the Spanish students in the University. But I don’t think I would have been able to take this class alone, in my case I was going to take it with an IES Abroad friend which made this experience better and less lonely. However, the class was so inviting of us international student, the professor always would include us even though at times we felt called out and we got to interact with the local students and make friends. This course mainly focused on geropsychology, which is a specialized branch of psychology that utilizes psychological knowledge and methodologies to comprehend, support, and enhance the well-being of older individuals and their families, aiding them in overcoming challenges and reaching their highest potential as they navigate later stages of life. Taught by José Buz Delgado, another amazing professor who was very welcoming and always wanted to make sure we were able to understand. This class was mainly based of group work so you would get put into a team that would be your team for the semester there and every week there would be an assignment you would have to do and we all just divided it into parts, our group was also very understanding about of different scheduling and things like that. This class honestly changed the way I see things in life and I hope the class was able to learn from us the way we learned from them. I enjoyed this class a lot and time sometimes flies by so fast.


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Ashley Carrasco-Hernandez

Hola! I am Ashley Carrasco-Hernandez. I am a first-generation student studying at the University of Redlands. I enjoy painting, watching movies (Fav Movie: Corpse Bride), going to the beach, stargazing, sleeping, and trying new foods!

2023 Fall
Home University:
University of Redlands
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