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Showing posts from September, 2010

Journalism Internship Abroad

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by Ann Abbott


A few weeks ago I had a very nice visit with a representative from Americas Journalism Training, a group that organizes journalism internships in Buenos Aires, Argentina for college students and recent grads.  It sounds like a wonderful opportunity and a wonderful way to build a resume and a portfolio.  Read the AJT newsletter and check out the work of a recent University of Illinois graduate, Elaine Tannous.

Even if you're not planning to have a career in journalism, I still think that an internship of this type is very helpful. All employers want to hire someone who is an effective communicator, self-starter (stories don't always land in your lap; journalists often have to go out and find them), creative and capable of meeting deadlines.  If you can do all of that while living in a different country, that's even more impressive.

What do you want from your study abroad experience? To learn some Spanish but still play it safe? Really immerse yourself in the …

Student Reflection: Allison Kutzki

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by Allison Kutzki
Hola! My name is Allison Kutzki and I am a junior studying to be a high school Spanish teacher. My experiences so far at the University of Illinois have been some of the most enriching of my life. Two years ago at this time, I was completely lost as to what I wanted to do for a living. As I continued to take Spanish classes, I began to realize how passionate I was about the language and the teaching of it. If it was not for the wonderful teachers, professors and experiences that I have had such as tutoring, I may not have found my calling in life. My most current opportunity that I have been given is through Spanish 232 and I am currently working at Leal Elementary School in Urbana. Being that I want to teach high school and have thus far only worked with students of that age, my first grade class at Leal has been an eye opener and given me new perspective on not only teaching but the Latino community near campus as well. I have worked there three times so far, and ev…

Languages and Cultures: how a university Spanish department and the local Refugee Center can support each other

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by Ann Abbott


The University of Illinois' annual Campus Charitable Fund Drive is underway. All the charitable organizations in the portfolio are worthy recipients of our giving.  However, I just sent the message below to my colleagues within the Department of Spanish, Italian & Portuguese to point out the connection between our mission as a department and that of the Refugee Center (officially, the East Central Illinois Refugee Mutual Assistance Center).  Any UI employee can contribute to the fund drive, and anyone at all can send a check directly to the Refugee Center at any time.  (Their address is available on their website.)


Dear SIP colleagues,

As you consider your choices for the Campus Charitable Fund Drive, I would like to call your attention to the East Central Illinois Refugee Mutual Assistance Center (ECIRMAC), also known as "the Refugee Center."  They are the only Illinois organization of this type outside of Chicago, and they provide myriad services to a…

Lesson Plan About Latin American Film Festival

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by Ann Abbott


I'm very excited about the 2010 Latin American Film Festival put on by the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. I won't be able to see them all because of family duties, but it seems to me as if they are all good.

I created a series of activities around the Film Festival's poster, and I think that it went very well with both of my Business Spanish sections today. Feel free to use the activities with your classes, tweaking them to fit your own course.

1. Ask your partner to answer these questions then discuss the answers. [In my class, the average was 4 for both questions.]

On a scale of 1-5, how much do you like el cine?On a scale of 1-5, how much do you like Spanish?2. [Pass out a copy of the film festival's poster and schedule to each group.] Now look at this poster and discuss the film festival, the individual films and other related topics with your partner.

3. Take out your planners or your p…

Student Spotlight: Lindsey Meyers' Year of Service in Quito, Ecuador

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by Ann Abbott


I know that many of my students wonder what they will do after graduation. They want to do something meaningful, and they long to continue their international experiences.

Lindsey Meyers found a solution that is meaningful, productive and allows her to continue perfecting her Spanish: spending a year working with The Working Boys Center in Quito, Ecuador.

"Two Miles High" is the name of Lindsey's blog, and after just two and a half weeks in Ecuador, she has already documented the work and the "feel" of her experience so far.

Students, I encourage you to follow Lindsey's blog, see what she learns along her journey, and consider how this might be an opportunity for you.  A year of service is a positive trend among students. It fills the "gap year" between high school and college and/or between undergrad and grad school.  You continue your learning, but you also develop valuable skills (including language proficiency, intercultural comp…

Student Reflection: Katie Dudek

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by Katie Dudek


Embarking on Another Journey
Hola! My name is Katie Dudek, and I am a senior majoring in both Sociology and Spanish.  As I have been introducing myself to my classmates this week, it has really hit me that I am in fact a senior.  I don’t want to sound cliché, but the last three years I have spent here at the University of Illinois have really flown by.  I have enjoyed every minute I have spent here, and feel that I have really taken advantage of all the wonderful opportunities that I have been presented with.  I am very excited to about the newest opportunity that I have been offered.  Through SPAN 232, I have the chance to volunteer at Booker T. Washington Elementary School and help Spanish-speaking students.  As I hope to become certified as a teacher after I graduate, I am thrilled to be spending my Wednesday afternoons there.
I cannot wait to be around native Spanish-speakers once again.  This past spring, I spent my semester in Granada, Spain.  I really do not think t…

Student Reflection: Charlotte Piwowar

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A new group of honors students will blog this semester about their experiences in the "Spanish in the Community," It is always fascinating to me to see how so many students can have similar experiences yet take away very different things because of their previous knowledge and experiences as well as the support the classroom discussions give to their reflective processes.  I hope that you will enjoy reading this semester's cohort of student bloggers and even learn something from them. Ann Abbott


by Charlotte Piwowar



Before going abroad, my Spanish left a lot to be desired.  I had taken three years in high school, as well as classes my first three semesters here at Illinois.  As an International Studies major I was required to reach a “proficient” level, but, feeling like I wasn’t progressing much, I decided to devote my time to other classes required for my major and minor after completing the necessary language coursework.  A full year then went by in the time between that…

Volunteer Opportunities in Latin America

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by Ann Abbott


Our students of Spanish are always interested in international opportunities. They want to build their resume, improve their language skills and feel a part of the culture.

When they ask me if I know of anything in Latin America I usually say, "Go. Ask. Make something happen yourself."

So I wanted to share the information I received from a student from my "Spanish & Entrepreneurship" course last semester:

"I found an organization that I am really excited about! It's called Otra Cosa and I will be volunteering in Huanchaco, Peru for 2.5 months through it."

My student found this opportunity through this website that lists free/low-cost volunteer opportunities in Latin America. I don't know any of these programs, so I cannot vouch for their viability. But it's a good place to begin your research.