Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

The BG News
Follow us on social
BG24 Newscast
April 18, 2024

  • Jeanette Winterson for “gAyPRIL”
    “gAyPRIL” (Gay-April) continues on Falcon Radio, sharing a playlist curated by the Queer Trans Student Union, sharing songs celebrating the LGBTQ+ experience. In similar vein, you will enjoy Jeanette Winterson’s books if you find yourself interested in LGBTQ+ voices and nonlinear narratives. As “dead week” is upon us, students, we can utilize resources such as Falcon […]
  • Poetics of April
    As we enter into the poetics of April, also known as national poetry month, here are four voices from well to lesser known. The Tradition – Jericho Brown Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Brown visited the last American Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP 2024) conference, and I loved his speech and humor. Besides […]
Spring Housing Guide

BGSU’S secret treasure: The Susana effect

Susana Juarez eases between Spanish and English seamlessly, speaks loudly and smiles with her eyes.

Juarez refers to herself as “Mamá” even though she, herself, has no children. Perhaps she leads by example. Multiple students have left the Spanish study abroad program having met their spouses and parents of their children. 

Juarez is the on-site director in Spain for the BGSU Spanish study abroad program and says she is proud of the program, and what it has done for her students. 

Before our interview- as Juarez was bombarded by students and alumni alike- Dr. Marcia Salazar Valentine, Director of International Programs and Scholarships at BGSU, shared with me a special fact.

Earlier that week there was a meetup for alumni and Susana, for which only four RSVP’d. 25 people showed up from all over the country, cementing the impact Susana has had on these students even 20 years later.

Juarez is currently in Alcala, Spain, fulfilling her role as a mother to many BGSU students.

Where are you from? 

“I am from Spain. I am from Madrid.”

What would you define your job as? 

“I came to BGSU as an international student and as a TA at the Spanish Department. So once I graduated, I went back to Spain, and at that moment I took my PhD and I was in the right place at the right moment because the on-site director was going to retire and the Spanish Department needed someone there who knew both systems. And they asked me, ‘Would you like to try to train for us?’ And I thought, ‘Oh. My. God. This is the job of my life.’ It’s much more than teaching so, ‘Yes, yes, yes, yes. Sí, sí, sí, sí.’”

Photo of Susana Juarez (Kelly Doyle)

Did you already meet your husband at that point?

“Actually I met him here. We were both TAs. I was in the Spanish Department and he was in the Music Department. He’s a jazzman. He is from India and we met at one of those international pizza parties. And he told me, ‘I just came from Spain.’ I said, ‘What?’ And at that moment I was going through my homesick period. I was missing my parents and my friends, and he said, ‘Do you want me to cook some tortilla de patatas? Some Spanish omelet for you and you would be feeling better?’ And you know, the rest is history. I started loving him just then and there. Then he graduated and I graduated. He went to Brown University to take his Ph.D. and after that, I brought him to Spain. He is now in Spain taking care of the dogs. He works for BGSU’s Spain Program and the Stanford Program, Stanford University Program in Madrid. So we live there, we take care of our students. Kids. I wanna say that to them. We don’t have children so my children are you guys. The Spanish students abroad.”

Did you first take this job for the passion or for the money?

“So I had a job at the university. I was teaching American literature, which is actually my career. But it was just teaching. And this job offered me much more than teaching, because I travel with my students. I deal with their problems. I take them to the doctor. I know all their Spanish families, their host families. So I help them stretch and become world citizens. It is much more than teaching. It’s to help them grow, and help them with this transformative experience. It’d become their advisor, their teacher, their mom, their nurse, their psychologist, their everything. So I really, really, love my job. It’s ideal for me.”

You take them to the doctor? Have they gotten sick? 

“Yeah, I’ll take them to the doctor. Because they feel nervous with the Spanish or they feel sick and they need someone with them, so I hold their hand and I tell them, ‘Everything is going to be alright.’ And they go through it much, much easier then.”

What do you think you help students the most with? 

“I think I teach them. I teach Spanish. I teach culture. I teach grad courses. So teaching is one thing but they can find that here because we have awesome, BGSU has awesome faculty, you know? The Spanish faculty is just marvelous. But what I do is, I become their family there. I am much more than a teacher. I am like a mom to them. I am like an aunt, like a sister. So this component, this human component, I would say, is number one.”

Marcia Salazar Valentine told me about the alumni reunion. 

“Exactly… And I was not aware of that. And I was crying all the time because this person from Cincinnati drove three hours just to give me a hug, and he studied in Spain 19 years ago and he came all the way to hug me and I started to cry. And ever since my motto of this trip is ‘I’m overwhelmed with love.’ And Marcia was saying we have to make up the idea of the ‘Suzanna Effect’ because this is the result of it. And all these people showed up from Findlay, from Columbus, from Toledo, from Cincinnati, from all these years ago. They brought the baby, I said, ‘You made me a Grandma?’ I am their family. They are my family. I added to them and this is what they gave me. My husband works for Stanford University, and they have lots of money. But he always tells me, “Your program is unique because your program offers a holistic love and teaching experience for the student, so keep that.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to BG Falcon Media
$825
$1500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Bowling Green State University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to BG Falcon Media
$825
$1500
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All BG Falcon Media Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *