Sarah West is a double-major student from Beaumont, CA., who will be graduating with a Bachelor in Social Work and a BA emphasis in Spanish Studies. She didn’t plan on taking two majors, but after studying abroad and taking Spanish classes, she was able to be a Spanish major, and she’s glad she did. With her desire to help people, knowing another language will be very beneficial to her future. Sarah generously answered some questions for us to learn more about her programs and how her love for helping people and traveling comes hand-in-hand.
Why did you choose these programs?
I knew that I wanted to help people, so when I came to PUC, I was one of many Bio-premed majors. However, after a quarter of taking both biology and chemistry at the same time, I knew this wasn’t the path for me. I knew I wanted to help people, and after a quarter of being undeclared and taking Intro to the Family, I knew social work was for me.
I did not come to PUC thinking that I would be able to graduate with 2 majors. I did come to PUC knowing that I wanted to spend a year abroad in a Spanish-speaking country, and I did. Because of the time I spent abroad, all I had to do was take a handful of classes here to get a Spanish major. So the degree kind of happened, and I am glad it did.
What do you like about these programs?
One of the things I like about the social work program is that the courses required will be very useful and applicable in the field. They cover a lot of topics but give you a good foundation to build on during your internship, and eventual job. The professors are also amazing in the social work/psych department. They all have unique experiences and give the best advice.
I like this Spanish studies program because it really pushes me to use my Spanish. Being a TA in the department has also helped me improve my Spanish a lot.
Which classes have you enjoyed the most, and why?
The class I have most enjoyed in social work was Research Design with professor Milmine. This class didn’t feel like work and was just fun to learn. It taught how to create and conduct research, and how impactful research-based practices are.
I think that the linguistic class I took for Spanish studies was the class I most enjoyed. It was fun to learn about languages, and how what we learned could apply to the language we learned abroad.
What are some important things you’ve learned from these programs?
The social work program has helped me by opening my eyes to the needs of the world, and how you should never make assumptions. You never really know what someone is going through or what their past consists of.
The important thing I learned from the Spanish studies program was how beneficial studying abroad is. Most people who end up getting a language major studied abroad, and we all agree that it was the best thing to do. The program that we go abroad with is Adventists Colleges Abroad (ACA), and it is so easy to apply to and to travel with.
Why would you recommend this program?
I would recommend the social work program if you have the desire to help people, but don’t know how. A BSW is also a degree that you can get a job with right away or do a one-year program to get your master’s. Social work is also a very diverse field, so you can never get bored.
I would recommend the Spanish studies program if you are interested in learning a new language, or if you are interested in studying abroad.
Can you give any advice to high school students interested in pursuing one of your majors, or even both? What should they expect or prepare for?
For social work, I would recommend to a high school student to try and learn something from every class you take. That is because it will help you in class, in internships, and your future. You are going to work with people from all walks of life, who have their own experiences and passions, and if you know a little about it, it will help you. You also never know where you are going to end up, what population you will be working with, or what organization you will work at. So knowing a little bit about a variety of topics will be helpful.
I would 1000000% recommend going abroad. The ACA program is amazing and makes everything abroad so easy. You learn so much about yourself, about the culture, and the language. There is a lot of culture shock and quirks about the country you go to, but you learn to live with the changes. I always say no one ever regrets going abroad, but people always regret not going.
Outside of classes, are there any activities or events your program throws during the school year?
The social work department is small but mighty. There is a booth for the social work club during fall fest that you can help with, Christmas parties, and outreach to the community.
The World language/communications department does host prevespers, provides snacks during dead week, and really helps push you to practice your language.
What is your favorite thing about attending PUC?
One thing I love about PUC is how close you can get with your professors. I went to a public high school, where the student-to-teacher ratio had a huge gap. So, coming here to PUC and being in the social work program, you can really get to know your professors. This is great because it makes me comfortable to go to them for advice if it is academic, professional, or personal. There are also a lot of clubs, and as the president of the Jujitsu club here on campus, there is something for everyone. What I also love about PUC is how much nature is around us. It is beautiful here, and as someone from southern California, I love the change in atmosphere on this holy hill.