Level Up Your Spanish: Take Community Service Learning Courses

Take Spanish community service learning classes.
by Ann Abbott

This week I am going to talk to a group of students from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at the University of Illinois. I need to make a quick pitch for ways that freshmen can get involved in the Spanish program.

One of the most important things on the list, in my opinion, is taking a Spanish community service learning class. Not only will you learn about things that few other Spanish classes teach, you'll also improve your Spanish by speaking with native speakers and gain valuable experience as a bilingual pre-professional.

So here's a list of the courses I teach that incorporate experiential learning. More might appear in the future, or more people might teach them, so be sure to ask the Spanish advisor for an updated list of courses.

SPAN 142: Spanish for the Professions*

This semester I am teaching two sections of the course, and students will participate in one community event, using their Spanish. It's pretty low-stakes and designed to be mostly an introduction to the concept of Spanish CSL and our local Latino community.
*Only the sections I teach and have my name by them in the time table include CSL.

SPAN 202: Business Spanish

I teach this course in the fall. In addition to the regular content about busines sSpanish, I teach students about bilingual social media marketing. To put it into practice, I divide students into teams, and each team does the Facebook marketing for a local client.

SPAN 232: Spanish in the Community

In this class you learn about immigration and how to work in linguistically and culturally appropriate ways in a variety of professional contexts (education, social services, etc.). Students also work two hours a week in an organization (school, office, club etc.) that serves the local Latino community.

SPAN 332: Spanish & Entrepreneurship: Languages, Cultures & Communities

This course has the same structure as SPAN 232 (working two hours a week with a local organization, going to class two hours a week), but the content of the class is about social entrepreneurship. I especially emphasize how nonprofit programming should be both linguistically and culturally appropriate. You'll learn a lot of business concepts that can (and should) be applied to nonprofit settings.


All in all, these courses are wonderful opportunities to learn AND serve, to study AND do. I should also note that all my classes are very interactive and communicative, so even when you are in class, you are improving your Spanish all the time.

Join us! These are valuable courses.

Here's the whole presenation:


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