a photo of Carleton student Semma Twining

Name: Semma Twining ‘25, interviewed by ACE fellow Lily Horne ’23

Pronouns: she/her

CE course(s) taken: SPAN 244.00 Spain Today: Recent Changes through Narrative and Film (Fall ’22)

Description: Every week, students in SPAN 244 zoomed with people in Spain to interview them about their life experiences and current events.

ST: My name is Semma Twining. I am a sophomore, so hopefully graduating June of 2025. Major is sort of up in the air, but as of right now I’m thinking stats major and Spanish minor. I use she/her pronouns. 

LH: Can you talk about the ACE class that you’re in right now and describe what you’re doing?

ST: I’m in a Spanish elective called Spain Today Through Narrative and Film. We spent the first five weeks of the term learning about the history of Spain, leading up to a current understanding of the government and their relationship with other other countries, mainly in Europe. The ACE part is that every Friday we have class on zoom, and we interview people who currently live in Spain, who lived through the Franco dictatorship and then the transition period, which we learned about. Each week we had a different period or event that we would focus on in class and then we would get to interview the people from Spain about their experience living through that. I think there are maybe 12 interviewees? They’re part of our class, which I think is really nice that my professor includes them in all of our activities. They do a lot of our readings with us and watch a lot of our movies. So each week, we’re put into pairs and we interview them. 

LH: So you said that you didn’t necessarily know that this was an ACE course, beforehand. 

ST: No. I joined this class a few days late. I definitely want to do a Spanish immersion program next year, and I didn’t really know what other class to take and I saw this one had open spots. So really those were the main reasons that I signed up for it. And then I found out after the fact that it was an ACE course. The description of interacting with the people in Spain definitely made it more appealing. 

LH: So what are you doing with the interviews that you conduct in class?

ST: The main thing that we do is that over the weekend, we write a little essay. I think the goal is to connect what we’ve learned in class from the different readings that we’ve read. We watch a lot of documentaries and movies and do a lot of readings, so tying them all together with what we learned from our interview. 

LH: And it’s cool because it seems like it’s really connecting academic, more traditional learning with hearing from people about their lived experience. 

ST: I think I forget sometimes – I get so tied up in the work, but then taking a step back and being able to just relax a little more and enjoy the interviews. It is really rewarding to hear their stories and what they’ve lived through. 

LH: What advice would you give to Carleton students about doing ACE courses? 

ST: I think I would recommend at least one ACE course that interests them. I think it makes class that much more fulfilling, just getting to learn about something that is currently happening in the world in a more hands-on way. And I think also, the friendships or connections built in class are stronger too, just in that you’re all exploring what’s going on in the community together. I’d definitely advise that everyone try taking an ACE course!