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Showing posts from 2015

Competitive Internships of Interest to Spanish Community Service Learning Students

by Ann Abbott

Thanks to Annissa Zak, I want to share three competitive internships that I think would be of interest to my Spanish community service learning students. I´ll just leave them here in a list, but I hope you will scroll through my blog to see posts in which I help students think about the connections between their Spanish CSL work and professional positions.

1. The Humanities in Action Fellowship in EuropeThe objective of the Humanity in Action Fellowship programs is to facilitate a collective exploration of the social and political roots of discrimination, as well as to provide a forum where potential solutions to some of today's most challenging issues can be considered and discussed. The programs are also intended to instill a responsibility among Humanity in Action Fellows to recognize and address the need to protect minorities and promote human rights—in their own communities and around the world. Click here to see their timeline.

2. The White House Internship Progra…

Sharing Good Ideas among Language Programs in the CIC

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by Ann Abbott

It's good to have a peer group. You can share and compare because you know that you're in similar situations. And that's what the CIC annual meeting of language program directors and executive officers is all about. (Although I'm not a language program director, I am the Director of Undergraduate studies; that's why I go.)

But the things driving our discussions--helping our students learn the most possible, integrating technology intelligently, combating declining enrollments, and running large programs effectively--concern all language educators.

So I'll share some things here. In the interest of privacy, I'll keep things very general, and I won't share the names of the university or person who presented the ideas.

Hopefully you can find one or two things that could help your language program and courses. There's no particular order to this list.

Course titles. Some spoke of successfully changing course titles so that they were "s…

Helping Students Sharpen their Networking Messages

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by Ann Abbott

I'm so happy with the networking emails that my Business Spanish students wrote for their networking project this semester. And I am ecstatic with the responses they have received from Mr. David Mackinson and Mr. Benjamin Brodner! (The third person is currently in the middle of moving his office to Singapore--bad timing but also shows that the students chose a fascinating person and career.)

But it took work to get there. I have very smart, talented and hardworking students. If their networking emails needed to be informed, edited and shaped, then I think everyone could benefit from the information that took their messages from okay but slightly problematic to very good.

Here, in order, are the steps you can take to make sure your networking emails or direct messages are sharp, clear and compelling.

Read advice about how to compose networking messages.As with most topics, there is already a lot of good advice on the internet. Sometimes, though, a task seems so simple (…

Student Reflection

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by Christine Kurt

Semester Summary My semester in SPAN 232 and volunteering at the Child Care Resource Center proved highly beneficial to both my academic and personal development. Before classes began, 28 hours sounded like a daunting task that I would struggle to complete. However, nothing could be further from the truth, the hours came easily and were enjoyed thoroughly. I can genuinely say I looked forward to volunteering all semester, due to the great people around me and the application of in-class topics.
At the beginning of the semester we picked from a list of community partners and communicated by e-mail to set up meetings regarding the upcoming opportunities for the semester. When I first e-mailed Milagros, my supervisor, I gathered that she would be nice, but I never imagined how kind she would be. When I first went in to speak to her about what tasks I would complete throughout the semester, she complimented my Spanish (despite the many times I drew a blank on a word or phr…

Student Reflection

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by Christine Kurt
Making SPAN 232 a strength of your CV It’s no secret that a second language is a monumental asset to any CV or resume; however, with growing numbers of students learning second languages, how does one stand out from the pack? The unique aspect of SPAN 232 was the balance of in class “technical” skills and community-based, primary experience. On one of the last few days of class, our discussion section complied some ideas of how to translate these experiences (both in and out of class) onto a CV. We separated the chalkboard into both professional and personal areas. Here are some key-points discussed in class:
1. Computer program skills I would be lying if I said I had even thought of spreadsheets before my community volunteering- my Excel experience was limited to a computer class I took freshman year of high school. However, volunteering in the Child Care Resource Center allowed me to conjure up my knowledge of computer programs I hadn’t used since high school. For th…

Student Reflection

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by Christine Kurt My Favorite Volunteering Experience of the SemesterWhile much of my volunteering consisted of work in an office, there were a few opportunities to go out in the community and practice the skills learned in class firsthand. One day in November, I joined Milagros (my supervisor), a U of I professor and MD, and another doctor to go to Beardstown. Having lived in the Chicago suburbs for the entirety of my life I am generally not well versed on the areas surrounding Champaign- so this was an interesting experience to see a community in the area. with a large Spanish-speaking population. Beardstown is about two hours away from Champaign, relatively close to Springfield. The interested women met us in a church in town and were educated on the benefits of being a health “educadora” in the Abriendo Caminos program. Essentially, they become educated on healthy eating, exercise, and positive family relationships. Though this education, they become more empowered and confident, a…

Student Spotlight: Vicky Pavlou

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by Ann Abbott

Just a quick, quick note to say that I was delighted when Vicky Pavlou sent me an email yesterday telling me that she had been accepted into Chile's "English Open Doors" program. Hurray!

Here are a few words from Vicky:
"And if you have other students that are looking into something similar this program is nice because even though you are a "volunteer" they provide health care, housing, meals (you can chose to be with a host family) and a $100 stipend per month. So it is not like other programs were you pay a high fee for them to place you." In addition to all the other ways that Vicky is a perfect candidate, I believe that her hands-on work within our Spanish-speaking community during "Spanish in the Community" and "Spanish & Entrepreneurship" makes her stand out from among the crowd of applicants.

And as a follow-up to the wonderful networking project that my Business Spanish students did this semester, I'd …

Student Networking: Career Advice from David Mackinson

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by Ann Abbott


I am ecstatic, truly ecstatic about the results so far of my Business Spanish students' networking project. The first group of students received a reply from Benjamin Brodner, and now a second group has received a reply from David (Dave) Mackinson. And his advice is spot-on. I love what he tells students, and how he tells it to them.
When I read his very last bit of advice, I raised my fist in the air and yelled, "Yes!"
After you read through the questions and answers, let me know what your reaction is.

One more thing: at the end of his email, he gave the students his Skype name and invited them to connect with him whenever they want. I hope they know how valuable that is and use it. It's a testament to how to do networking right.
Somos estudiantes de la Profesora Ann Abbott en una clase sobre los negocios en español. Hemos estudiado su perfil profesional en Internet y hemos visto que Ud. se graduó de Illinois y que ha tenido una carrera interesante trab…

Student Reflection

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by Fiona Iriarte
As a business student, one of the most important aspects of my undergraduate career is networking with professionals from industries and companies that I could potentially see myself working for in the future. I am very interested in working abroad in the future, but it has been difficult to meet professionals in fields I am exploring, who have also worked abroad or are working abroad now. However, our networking class project gave me a great opportunity to get advice from a former U of I student working in a business role in Dubai. 
Our class was divided into groups, and we given one of Dr. Abbott’s former students to center our project around. We searched for these individuals on LinkedIn and Facebook to learn more about their lives and careers before we actually contacted them. Our professionals name was Ben, and he was one of Dr. Abbott’s student’s while he was at U of I. We learned that he studied communications while he was here, and he also studied abroad in B…

Student Spotlight

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by Danielle Morrow 
Reflection on SPAN 202: Business Spanish 
Never in my academic career have I been very interested in business. I’m currently studying to be a high school Spanish teacher, and business has seemed like quite an opposite field. But when I needed an extra Spanish class this semester, one of my friends convinced me to register for SPAN 202: Business Spanish. In all honesty, I was not excited about this class because it seemed far from my interests. But even on the first day of class, I knew my expectations were wrong. First off, the instructor, Ann Abbott, is a wonderful woman who genuinely cares about each and every one of her students. Every day, each student is greeted with a smile and a warm «¿cómo estás?». Ann’s attitude really set the mood for class each week. I always felt so comfortable and valued in the classroom. It also surprised me how much I enjoyed the subject material- we learned about the different economies of Latin America, and it reminded me of the ti…

Student Reflection

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by Christine Kurt
The Five Best Aspects of SPAN 232
1.  Opportunities to speak Spanish with native speakers Whether you work in one of the many bilingual schools in Champaign and Urbana, the Childcare Resource Center, La Línea, or the other various places around campus, you will gain extremely valuable experiences communicating with the Spanish-speaking populations connected to your organization. This was really interesting for me because you get to experience first hand the dialectal differences among Spanish speakers. Additionally, when I spoke in Spanish I felt that everyone was really patient and supportive when I practiced my Spanish. I had many opportunities to practice Spanish with my supervisor and got to speak with fluent Spanish-speakers in the community.
2. Cultural knowledge gained from in-class instruction When thinking of the course, the thing that makes it unique is the community experience. However, it’s important to avoid overlooking the importance of the class portion. In…

Student Networking: Career Advice from Ben Brodner

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by Ann Abbott

This semester my Business Spanish students did a networking project in which they had to choose one of my former students (I provided a list), research them on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, etc., and then contact them directly with a list of questions. (I'll provide the links to the lesson plans when I get back to my computer.) They did a great job, and they have already begun to receive replies.

Benjamin Brodner was an unforgettable student of mine, full of energy, enthusiasm and passion for languages and the people who speak them. I thought he was great and have been lucky enough to stay in touch with him through Facebook and follow his career trajectory with Abbott.

Here is his correspondence with my students. There are a lot of very valuable lessons here! Thankfully, Benjamin gave me his permission to share his words of wisdom on this blog so that future students can also benefit.

Dear All, 
Good morning from bright and sunny (hot) UAE! You are in a great class and h…

Student Reflection

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by Christine Kurt ¡Encantada de conocerles! (Pleased to meet you!)
Hi everyone! I thought to begin my series of blog posts I’d give you a little background on my specific community project and myself. My name is Christine and I’m a junior double-majoring in Spanish and Psychology. Although I’m not exactly sure what I’d like to do, I’m considering the legal field or HR/ employment relations. No matter what I end up choosing, I’m so glad to have a second language to enrich my career path. I’ve been taking Spanish classes in school since I was five years old and have always been fascinated by the language- especially due to the amazing Spanish teachers and professors I’ve had over the past 16 years. Much of my learning has been in the classroom, so it has been wonderful getting to hone in on my speaking skills through volunteering experiences.
I decided to take SPAN 232 to strengthen my oral communication skills and get hands-on experience with Spanish-speaking populations to practice for m…

Student Reflection

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by Fiona Iriarte

Volunteering with “La Línea”
Throughout the semester, I have gotten the opportunity to volunteer with a great organization in Champaign called “La Línea”. La Línea is a relatively new program based in the University YMCA, and it focuses on serving the underserved community, specifically the Spanish-speaking community. La Línea provides services that include referrals to service providers, translation and interpretation services, advocacy, and case management. Being able to work with La Línea is an extremely unique opportunity to get involved in the community while also applying concepts learned in Spanish 202 to a real world situation, which has been a great experience.
Our class has focused on working on social media marketing and community outreach for La Línea. Throughout the semester, I have created weekly Facebook group posts and blog posts, and conducted interviews with various La Línea volunteers as a member of the social media marketing team. The posts and inter…

Student Reflection

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by Fiona IriarteA Typical Day in SPAN 202
Spanish for Business meets three times a week for a 50 minute class period. Two of the three class periods each week are spent in the classroom to focus on enhancing students’ speaking abilities and exploring different Business themes. It is a small class of around ten students, and each class period typically begins with five minutes of strictly Spanish conversation between pairs of students. Throughout the semester, Dr. Abbott emphasizes the importance of forming personal relationships in a Business setting, especially in Latin American and Spanish business settings, and the small class size allows students to form both business relationships and personal relationships with each other.
Each week, the class focuses on a specific theme in Business, and on one or more Spanish-speaking countries. For example, this semester we have talked about different business themes surrounding marketing, technology, and urbanization and their impacts on the Bu…

Student Reflections: Fiona Iriarte

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by Fiona Iriarte


Introduction: Who should consider Span 202?
My name is Fiona and I am a sophomore pursuing a dual degree in Finance and International Business, and a minor in Spanish. I am currently enrolled in Spanish for Business (Span 202) with Dr. Abbott, which I am so happy I decided to take for a number of reasons.
The International Business Management major requires that students take an elective course relating to the study of the economy, politics, or sociology of a specific country or region. Spanish for Business is preapproved as one of these elective courses, and since I am minoring in Spanish, I thought it would be a perfect match for my specific plan of study. I would definitely recommend Spanish for Business to any International Business majors who are also minoring in Spanish, plan on studying abroad in a Spanish speaking country, or who are just interested in learning more about the culture of the business world in Spanish-speaking countries around the world. It is a g…

Business Spanish: Week 14

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by Ann Abbott

This is the last full week of classes. It's hard to believe, but it's also a good thing. We've covered a lot of ground in this class, and it's time to tie it all together.

In our remaining time, we will finish up our networking project, which we began during Week 7 and then continued on the Wednesday of Week 11. We need to get our heads back into the project and do the actual work today.

Lunes: Proyecto de networking Alumni I reminded the students of the alumni they had voted for, and I put them into their groups.
·MarkWehling (Kristin, Haley, Daniel,Shamir, Xuefei) ·DaveMackinson(Brandon, Laura, Emily, Nicholas, John) ·BenjaminBrodner (Florian, Claudia, Daniela, Fiona, Shamus). Instructions  Repasar la información sobre el individuo.Usen LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, y más para informarte sobre esta persona y empezar a formular preguntas.Releer. 5 Tips For Writing The Perfect Networking EmailProducir. Entre todos, escriban por lo menos 15 preguntas posibles pa…