What to Expect as a First-Year EC Student: A Sneak Peek into the Classroom

With the start of the new academic year and incoming students embarking on their academic journey at the American University of Armenia (AUA), many first-year students find themselves wondering what to expect. A sneak peek into a classroom of the English and Communications (EC) program will reveal what students work on during their freshman year. Below, three EC sophomores and their professor in American literature share their experiences.

Samantha Isabella Adalia was born in the Philippines. She and her family lived in Nepal for six years and traveled to eight other countries before coming to Armenia, where they have now lived for three years. In 2019-2020, Samantha was a first-year student at AUA and took four EC classes. One of them was the American literature course with Dr. Elitza Kotzeva. “American literature has been one of my favorite courses at AUA so far,” Samantha remarks. “It was exciting to take this class because reading literature was already one of my hobbies, and I had the opportunity to do it for university! I loved how creative and interactive the class activities were, and they made the subject even more interesting to me than it already was. The most difficult part, however, was transitioning to online classes in that semester and completing the class requirements. But with the support of our professor and the solidarity of my fellow classmates, we joyfully endured and created many fun mini-projects from what we learned. As a final project, I created a map of the class.” Samantha explains that the map served as a way to revisit the American Literature: Spring 2020 course from her perspective, and also provides a good glimpse into a college class. 

 Dr. Elitza Kotzeva shares, “Samantha was one of our best first-year students in English and Communications. She is a very smart student, a hard worker, and a wonderful peer in the collaborative projects we did in class. Most of all, I loved Samantha’s enthusiasm for the reading we did and her engagement in class activities. When we had to move our class to an online environment because of the pandemic, we maintained the classroom atmosphere due to students like her. Samantha, like many others in our class, kept a sense of camaraderie and lively spirit that helped all of us achieve our academic goals. I’ve had the pleasure to work with many other dedicated EC students like Samantha.”

Armen Torossian also took the class in American literature with Dr. Kotzeva. When asked about his experience, he reflects, “The interesting mixture of time, space, and culture through the perspectives of many authors we studied was incredible. Thanks to our instructor and my peers, we sustained the friendly yet educational atmosphere throughout the quarantine. It was an extraordinary experience.” For their final project, Armen and three other students Anna Andreasyan, Sona Avetisian, and Sona Gevorgyan created a mock-up talk show focusing on gothic literature read in the course. “Through working with my teammates, I learned how much trust, compromise, and communication matter in group projects,” shares Sona Gevorgyan. “These types of multimodal assignments,” explains Dr. Kotzeva, “help students develop rhetorical skills across different modalities (e.g., visual, audio, gestural, linguistic, etc.) and progress toward literacies critical to successful communication practices in the digital age.” In another example, Dr. Kotzeva refers to a project by Vana Anbasron, another student in the class. Vana created a visual narrative that draws connections between one of the short stories she read in class and the mental health issues related to today’s pandemic.

To learn more about the BA in English and Communications, visit the program website. To view more class projects, browse through Samantha Adalia’s course map.

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.