Sunday, October 1, 2017

Language Learners as Ethnographers

Read about the ethnography directed study offered to study abroad students in Italian and Spanish, created by Lecturers Elisabetta Misuraca (Italian) and Heather M. Moon (Spanish).  Bryant Stories

And take a look at one of the student ethnography projects:  Catalan Nationalism and the Soccer Culture of FC Barcelona by Gabby Barrett '18.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Spanish Student Award Winners at the 2017 Modern Language Award Ceremony

Congratulations to Michelle Meneades, Amelia Eppard, Vivian Tejada, Kayla Nikosey and Kevin Ludemann.

Heather Moon and Patricia Gomez (Lecturers), Amelia Eppard, Vivian Tejada, Kevin Ludemann, Kayla Nikosey, and Tony Houston (Associate Professor)  Photo by James Imrie (Class of ´18)

The Academic Achievement Award recognizes learners who can communicate effectively in the target language on academic subjects such as business, culture, film, history, linguistics, and literature.
Our award winner is a Spanish major who has taken advanced level Spanish courses in a wide variety of subject areas including film, literature, business, conversation and more. She has researched the films of Isabel Coixet, la movida madrilena cultural post-Franco cultural movement in Spain, and in Spanish for Business her group’s business plan researched Bolivian soccer leagues and invented "Sol Futbol Academy", a not-for-profit raising money to set up leagues for children in Bolivia. She also studied in Bilbao, Spain her junior year where she interned, for credits in Spanish, at CIMAS Innovación y Medio Ambiente. In her four years of Spanish studied she has earned a very nearly perfect 3.9, and is a member of the Phi Sigma Iota honor society. Michelle Meneades has impressed us year after year during her time at Bryant. Congratulations.

The Intellectual Entrepreneur Award recognizes a student who has the curiosity and imagination to make connections across disciplines and who who actively seeks out opportunities to learn.

This student successfully completed her minor in Spanish by the end of her junior year, and then spent the summer in Salamanca, Spain where two things happened: she completed coursework to earn a concentration in Spanish and, more significantly, her view of the world shifted. Her time abroad gave her confidence in her language abilities, and a taste of Spanish culture that has already had significant influence on her goals and plans. Upon her return to Bryant for her senior year she sought out an opportunity to continue to use her language skills in the community, volunteering in an after school program in an elementary school in Central Falls all year. The special bonds she has formed with her students, many of whom are Spanish language dominant, inspired a short essay in Spanish for publication in Phi Sigma Iota literary magazine, which is also published on our departmental blog. The next phase of her learning will take Amelia Eppard back to Spain to teach English in Madrid during the upcoming academic year. Please join me in congratulating in her.

The Social Entrepreneur Award recognizes learners who demonstrate personal and intellectual growth through community engagement.

This student, minoring in Spanish has taken courses in film, heritage learning and Spanish and Conversation. She also took SIE Latin America course with me in our first trip to Argentina and Chile in 2015….and additionally was our first Bryant to study abroad in Cuba. She is currently completing a directed study on Mental Health in the LatinX community, which she presented at REDay one week ago. She has also very recently been accepted to the Coro Fellowship in Public Policy in Los Angeles for the upcoming year which I was honored to write a letter of recommendation for her. One of her biggest leadership roles was seen here on campus this past November when I saw her fully take charge of the I am an immigrant campaign. I was happy to support her and have been privileged to watch her grow immensely in her four years here at Bryant. She will be missed. Congratulations to Vivian Tejada.

The Language Mastery Award recognizes learners who have acquired communicative and intercultural competence through formal study and application.

This Spanish major placed into the intermediate level as a freshman, and has worked her way through our program course by course, honing her language skills and expanding her intercultural competence in each successive course - often taking multiple Spanish courses in the same semester. She first was exposed to Argentina/Chile SIE in 2015 and she then studied abroad in Costa Rica in the summer between sophomore and junior years, an experience that she then expanded upon in a semester-long research project that she completed as part of her Cultures course as a junior. Her application of her skills have been wide and varied: in her literature course, she played multiple parts, including a lion tamer, in her group's theatrical production of the short story Juan Darien, and she is currently analyzing the film Te doy mis ojos by Iciar Bollain, as well as completing a Directed Study in ethnography based on her experiences at Progreso Latino in Providence. Her interest in language and culture even influenced her Honors Capstone in Finance, as she studied the stock markets in Spain, Mexico, and Chile. Finally, she has served as the Secretary/Treasurer of Bryant’s chapter of Phi Sigma Iota honor society this year. Congratulations to Kayla Nikosey.

The Cultural Ambassador Award recognizes learners who apply a cosmopolitan outlook to global citizenship.
This Spanish major is the student representative and public face of the Spanish program in a number of organizations on campus, including (but certainly not limited to) the My Path program, the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Council, and as President of BUSCO (Stop by Latin Night tonight in the Roto!). His enthusiasm for Bryant’s Spanish program is seemingly boundless, and he represents our program exceptionally well in all of his interactions on campus. His perspective on the importance of learning language and culture, as he so eloquently expressed a few minutes ago, demonstrate his understanding of how cultural understanding helps all of us respond and adapt to the communicative and social needs of culturally different others. As he is only a junior, We look forward to Kevin Ludemann’s continued advocacy and accomplishments next year. Congratulations.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Amelia Eppard is a senior majoring in Marketing with a concentration in Spanish. She is also a member of the Phi Sigma Iota honor society.  After graduation, she is planning to take a gap year to teach English in Spain, where she will be able to immerse herself in the culture and learn valuable skills (plus enjoy their delectable desserts and coffees).

Amelia wrote this piece about her experiences learning Spanish, and a very young teacher she met while volunteering in a local school.

Gracias, Luis
Por Amelia Eppard

El proceso de aprender un idioma puede ser frustrante, y había veces cuando quería rendirme. Aprender un idioma requiere mucha paciencia, muchas horas de leer, y muchas actividades de verbos. Pero, la satisfacción no está en las clases de español o francés, o italiano. La está en los momentos simples, pequeños, y bonitos en la vida. Para mí, este momento ocurrió con un niño de 6 años. 

Ahora, soy una voluntaria en una escuela de Rhode Island. Muchas de los estudiantes necesitan ayudan con su inglés o su español porque ellos son de familias hispanohablantes. En la clase de primero grado, hay un niño pequeño se llama Luis. Luis no puede hablar inglés y por eso, él es muy tímido y no tiene mucha confianza. Sin embargo, Luis se convirtió en un amigo mío. Cada martes y jueves, cuando yo voy a la escuela, Luis tiene una voz un poco más alta. Cada vez, Luis está más emocionado y quiere mi ayuda. Le he enseñado las matemáticas y le he dicho que “Repita estas palabras en inglés.” Me importa mucha nuestra amistad y antes de esta experiencia, no sabía que un niño de 6 años puede ensenarme en una manera tan especial e imprescindible. 

Luis es mi razón para continuar este viaje a fluidez. El proceso de aprender es gratificante solo si puede usar el conocimiento en una manera impactante. Espero que cada estudiante de un idioma pueda encontrar su propio Luis. Doy muchas gracias a mi maestro pequeño. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Nellie Gorbea, RI Secretary of State, visited Bryant on Wednesday September 21st

Thank you to the the PwC Center for Diversity and Inclusion and the Intercultural Center for sponsoring the visit by Nellie Gorbea, RI Secretary of State, to Bryant. Many Bryant students, including Katie Nugent, attended the event. Katie's observations are below.

This past Wednesday, Nellie Gorbea, Rhode Island’s Secretary of State, came to Bryant to speak about her experiences in politics as a Latina. She spoke about her transition into her political role and why she decided she wanted to represent the state of Rhode Island. She discussed the small percentage of latino politicians in American society today and how she was the first Latina to win a state office position in New England. She stressed the importance of millennials taking part in the upcoming election and encouraged students to get involved in whatever field they desire or somehow give back to their community. Gorbea emphasized her willingness to listen to everyone’s perspective in order to improve everyone’s well being in Rhode Island.

During her term in office, Gorbea has pushed the implementation of new technology in the voting systems. At this event, her passion and work ethic was apparent as she spoke about why she thought it is important to improve our current system. Overall, this was a very positive learning experience and influenced me to have more of a presence in my community and to also take advantage of my vote in this upcoming election.

Katie Nugent is a sophomore who is business undecided with a minor in Spanish. She is a member of the women’s soccer team and has recently joined a public speaking club on campus to get involved in the Bryant community. This winter, Katie will be traveling to Argentina and Chile on the Sophomore International Experience trip and is looking forward to take advantage of this great learning opportunity.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Bryant Spanish faculty member, Profe Heather Moon, writes about her travels to Argentina and Chile this summer

This past August I had the opportunity to travel to Mendoza, Argentina and Viña del Mar, Chile representing the Office of Study Abroad and the Department of Modern Languages at Bryant.

Viña del Mar
In Viña del Mar I visited with Bryant students who are currently studying at the Universidad Adolf Ibañez as part of the International Business customized study abroad program, in partnership with the study abroad provider API. It was a wonderful experience to see many of my former students (and several that I met for the first time!), now living and working in Chile. All the students are living with host families, taking classes at UAI and interning at local businesses, where they are able to use their Spanish language skills and to gain valuable business and cultural knowledge.
Bryant students and Profe Moon outside the Museo Fonck in Viña del Mar  
I impressed to see...and much they have learned in their time abroad. At the time of my visit, the students had only been in Chile for a month and already I could hear them speaking better Spanish, and understanding the language and culture around them. I can only imagine how much more they will improve before the return to Bryant at the end of this semester!

We all went out to dinner, with the students choosing an authentic Chilean restaurant with absolutely delicious food for our meal.

Patel de Choclo

I also toured the university UAI, the cities of Viña del Mar and Valparaíso, and visited one of the local companies where a Bryant student is interning. While only there for 3 days, I left with a wonderful impression of the program and the area. The views of the bay, and the twin cities with their wonderful contrasts, the beach just steps away all made it quite clear by this area is one of the major tourist destinations in Chile.
Profe Moon in Viña

The hillside houses of Valparaiso

The view of Viña del Mar and Valparaiso from UAI

I also visited Mendoza, Argentina to evaluate whether or not that city would be a good place for Bryant students to study. Yes, it definitely is! Nestled alongside the Andes, Mendoza is a small, very friendly city in the heart of the Argentine wine country.

Sunset in Mendoza, with the Andes in the distance.

API runs a wonderful program there, and I was able to visit the Universidad de Congreso and several businesses where students could intern, including Bodega Cecchin and the media company Medios Uno, which houses print, digital, television and radio media all in one location. While entirely different companies and industries, both locations would provide Bryant students with high quality internships.
Bodega Cecchin

We ate lunch at Bodega Cecchin, which included some delicious empenadas

During our visit to Medios Uno, we were interviewed about the collaboration between Universidad de Congreso, API, and Bryant for an article that came out in their newspaper, Diaro Uno, which you can read here. (None of us were expecting to be interviewed as we thought we were just visiting the media company....guess we should have known that good reporters can't resist finding a good news story!)
Plaza Independencia on a Sunday afternoon

When I wasn't working, I had the opportunity to be a tourist in Mendoza and to observe a bit of the culture. From having a coffee and people watching at a sidewalk cafe or walking through the many city parks, and enjoying the culinary richness the city had to offer, I had a wonderful time!

Coffee, a necessity when traveling.
The Italian influences on Argentine cuisine are plentiful, from gelato to pizza to pasta.

When my study abroad visits were done, I spent 24 hours in Santiago, Chile. While not nearly enough time to truly get to know the city, I stayed in the Bella Vista area and made the most of my time by visiting one of Pablo Neruda's three Chilean homes, La Chascona, Cerro San Cristobal with its amazing views of the city, and visiting the many local shops and restaurants. I also took a 3 hour walk early Sunday morning through the Parque Forestral (along with half of Santiago who were out for a morning run), up to the top of Cerro Santa Lucia, and to many of the historical buildings of Santiago, including La Monda and Plaza de Armas. And of course, there was plenty of time for food and coffee.

La Chascona

Gran Torre Santiago with the Andes in the background

Early Sunday morning, taken from Cerro Santa Lucia

How Chilean....a bit of avocado on my morning toast (along with the required coffee)!

Palacio La Moneda, the Presidential residence

Monday, April 25, 2016

Jackie Lamirande: a graduating senior shares her experiences as a Spanish major

The following is an excerpt from the speech that Jackie Lamirande made at the Modern Language Award Ceremony on April 20, 2016.  Jackie is a senior with double-major in Marketing and Spanish. She also studied abroad in Salamanca, Spain. Jackie also represented the Spanish program on the Dean's Advisory Council.

Professor Houston and Jackie

I have found through my limited professional experience so far that the world has become more global than ever before and a second language is key to most professional careers. Many students graduate from Bryant University with a business degree and when entering the job market they are going up against thousands of other business students with their same qualifications. I believe that is where learning a second language is key. Business is becoming global from large corporations down to family companies and employers know this which is why I believe knowledge of a second language is what will set you apart from the thousands of other seniors in college graduating with a business degree.

I have found from waitressing in a restaurant, to my internship this past year at AAA that I have used Spanish in so many different facets of my life. I am a double major in marketing and Spanish and I have personally found that the pairing of a double Spanish major has opened up more doors for me than I could have ever imagined. I started off as a minor in Spanish, then moved up to a concentration, when going abroad I spoke with Professor Moon who showed me ways to work my schedule while in Spain so I could have enough credits to possibly double major, that way my Spanish concentration would not be finished when I returned and I would still be able to practice and improve on my language skills. Within two times in her office I was sold (be careful though, she’s very convincing). In Spain I saw how much my Spanish was improving and I wanted to try as hard as I possibly could to become fluent to expand the opportunities I currently had, it was one of the best decisions of my life.

On every interview I have gone on since my time at Bryant University I have been asked two questions that I believe help me stand apart from other Marketing candidates, one about my study abroad experience and one regarding my double major in Spanish. Employers seem to be impressed by the knowledge of a second language and it has helped me professionally in many ways. While at my internship for AAA Northeast I was able to assist Spanish members with questions and concerns they may have, I also spoke with our Spanish speaking members during professional events, and my supervisor and manager considered my second language to be a major asset to our team.

My double Spanish major gave me the opportunity to do a directed study which gave me the freedom to do research in Spanish on a topic that I had a particular interest with. In my directed study I was able to merge my interests in marketing with my interests in Spanish to do a research project on the differences in what resonates with Hispanics versus other consumers in advertising campaigns and why companies should be advertising to Hispanic consumers. I found that looking at advertising campaigns specifically targeted at Hispanics doing research on what resonates well with Hispanics was my passion. My knowledge in this field also gained me the opportunity to work as a consultant for AAA on their initiatives for their 2016 Hispanic marketing campaign, which at such a young age was an incredible opportunity. The double major in Spanish has given me direction in my marketing degree and I know now that getting into my career I would eventually love to get into a role where I can use my knowledge from my research to help a company create a marketing campaign targeted toward Hispanics. The Spanish department at Bryant is incredible with professors that will give you the advice and attention you need to succeed, they go above and beyond for their students and I could not have had a more positive experience.
Jackie and Profe Moon

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Spanish Award Winners at Modern Language Award Ceremony 2016

The Department of Modern Languages annually recognizes outstanding student achievement in a variety of areas. The award recipients for Spanish for 2016 are:

Intellectual Entrepreneur: Jackie Lamirande
Language Mastery: Jacob Jansen
Cultural Ambassador: Harlyn Juarez
Social Entrepreneur: Randie Almonte
Academic Achievement: Lexi Zafonte and Maggie Goreczny
(along with Profesores Houston, Gomez and Moon)