Students studying at most ACA campuses must do their own laundry in the washing and drying machines that are provided in the residence halls. A general laundry service is available in Argentina, France, Italy, and Spain, but it takes one week for clothes to be processed and clothes must have sewed-on name tags. Some students prefer to use the coin operated washing machines in the dorms.
A language laboratory is available in all the international schools. In addition the conversation/oral expression classes are vital to the refinement of pronunciation and understanding of language.
Bookstore facilities are very limited on some campuses, and do not have extensive hours of operation. Usually used books are not available, nor can one sell back books to the bookstore or to other students. For this reason book budgets have been built into fees.
On some European campuses health service facilities are also very limited and usually involve contacting the nurse who is on campus or the residence hall dean for assistance. Either will try to arrange for off-campus health-care service when it is needed. Please follow ACA health care procedures to make sure your medical expenses are properly remunerated. The university in Argentina has a hospital on campus.
Teachers have heavier instructional loads than teachers in the United States and Canada and although they are very positively oriented to ACA students, their availability for extra classroom instruction is limited because of their heavier teaching assignments. They are very helpful, however, but students must take the initiative to seek them out and make arrangements for extra help.
It will not always be possible to have a roommate who comes from the host country and speaks only the host country language. However, every effort will be made to provide such a situation. When it is not possible, the student who does room with an ACA student will at least be a language student who is learning the host country language. If both must use the new language to communicate, it can be a real plus.
The social life of the campus may be quite different from what ACA students have experienced in North America. Students wishing to be active and involved will need to commit themselves to planning the activities. There has been a marked improvement in the level and the quality of student activities on the international campuses, but that is because students have been more involved in their planning. Generally, students find that when they go on the ACA program there are a lot of healthful, happy activities that can be done for much less money than in North America. Socializing becomes the important factor, not the expenditure of funds. When planning student activities, be sure to include host and other international students (not from the United States and Canada) so that they know that they are seen as OK persons, too.
Usually Class attendance policies are much more restrictive than in North America. Students are expected to attend all classes unless they are seriously ill. A clear understanding of particular campus policies on class absences is vital because, in some cases, lowering of grades will occur. Traveling on one’s own is not a legitimate reason for missing classes. ACA programs emphasize language learning skills, there is really no way to make up missed classroom instruction. That is why punctual attendance is vital. Travel is a complement to classroom instruction and personal study. It is vital that students consult the international campus calendar to make certain that their arrival, departure and vacation period travel coincide. Students may not be able to make up missed lessons and may have grades automatically lowered because of their absences.
One attitude that is very difficult for hosts to be positive toward is an attitude of ‘I paid for it; I deserve it.’ School is seen as a privilege, and everything that pertains to it is a privilege. North American money can’t buy everything. Because students have paid their tuition, room, and board does not mean that they have a ‘right’ to demand privileges and services. A guest attitude is always helpful in making positive things happen. ‘Thank you’ and ‘please’ are also effective and appropriate.
In some ways, some of the international campuses are not as ‘plush’ as North American campuses. In other ways they may be even nicer. Some services may be less functional or complete than those in North America.
Courses in the history of art and in the history and literature of the country are designed as upper division type classes for more advanced students who have abilities in the language. It may be wise for students to not enroll in them if they are in intermediate level language classes, but rather wait until they are in advanced level language classes, or at least in their second term of study abroad.
Mail and telephone service become a very important part of an international student’s life. Mail may be delivered irregularly and be inconsistent in its arrival. Please expect that, on some campuses, this will not be an everyday type of experience that can be predicted at certain times of the day. Trying to be flexible with communication to the outside world will require patience. On some campuses telephone service is available only at certain hours and telephone messages are often delayed in their delivery. Students have access to
E-mail at all of the international schools. Sagunto and Collonges have telephones in each room.
At Collonges students are welcome to use a piano for practice for one hour per day for a fee of 50 Euros per quarter.