Spotlight on Innovations in Teaching and Learning
The Spanish program has several short-term study abroad immersion programs in Argentina, Costa Rica and Cuba. The Mar del Plata winter program in Argentina has a unique design. The program is based on projects completed with the aid of students of English and language arts from the University of Mar del Plata. Student projects must include interaction with people in Mar del Plata. The end product may be a photo collage or a leaflet to introduce other students to the best pubs and entertainment spots, a newspaper article of their interviews, or a stage presentation of the interview. This type of cultural learning experience is not usually available within the four walls of a Spanish language classroom using textbooks. Students work on a topic of personal interest and use language for a specific purpose. Additional attractions of the program are a short stay in Buenos Aires and a field trip to Uruguay. This program runs whenever there are two full weeks of winter break in January before the start of the spring semester.
In Cuba, students are housed with families for increased cultural awareness and take classes in Spanish language by level. Canisius students take a course on history, politics and social structure in Cuba conducted primarily by a series of guest lecturers from the University of Havana, government officials and others; as well as a film course on Cuban Cinema of the Revolution. In addition, students have the unique opportunity to travel to the provinces. This program currently runs on alternate summers in even numbered years.
In Costa Rica, students live with a family, attend language courses in the morning and participate in career-specific internships in the afternoon. These internships include work in schools, dental offices, pharmacies, non-governmental organizations, government offices and medical practices. Several excursions to the natural wonders of Costa Rica are also included. This program runs alternate summers of odd numbered years, so it alternates with the Cuban immersion experience. Because of the internship portion, students are required to have an intermediate level knowledge of Spanish to participate.
All of these programs provide Spanish students the opportunity to be immersed in Latin American culture and to gain extensive language practice.
Submitted by: Sara Morris, PhD, associate vice president, academic affairs