UC offers local Spanish Immersion program this summer

Can’t study abroad? Experience Hispanic culture locally for credit

By Joí Dean 

Many University of Cincinnati students have missed the opportunity to travel abroad because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but two professors from the College of Arts and Sciences have come up with a solution.

Assistant professors Juan Godoy and Kara Moranski, along with colleagues from the Department of Romance and Arabic Languages and Literatures, have created UC’s first Summer Spanish Local Immersion Program.

The idea was originally proposed by professor Carlos Gutiérrez, who had a vision for students to have an opportunity to experience Hispanic culture locally.  After numerous brainstorming sessions, Godoy and Moranski will see the program come to life this summer.

“Students should expect to fully engage in daily activities and cultural activities that are not normally part of a regular class,” Godoy said. 

Assistant professor of Romance and Arabic Languages Juan Godoy

A&S assistant professor of Romance and Arabic Languages Juan Godoy

The Local Language Immersion program (LLI) is a six-credit and six-week summer program that will take place in person on campus.

Each student will be required to take a traditional three-credit Spanish course that will depend on their knowledge of the language. Students who are coming from a lower level of Spanish would take Composition & Conversation, an intermediate course level. More advanced students will take Topics in Spanish: Social Justice in Latin America, an advanced course.

In addition to the traditional three-credit Spanish course, students will also take the non-traditional three-credit course Immersion Experience. 

The Immersion Experience course will include ways for students to relax after a long day of working and studying through workshops and co-curricular activities. This part of the program will feature a variety of activities such as cooking Hispanic dishes, creating artwork and documenting current events in the Hispanic community. 

In addition to co-curricular activities, students should expect to have conversations only in Spanish. 

A&S Assistant professor of Romance and Arabic Languages and Literatures Kara Moranski

A&S assistant professor of Romance and Arabic Languages and Literatures Kara Moranski

At the beginning of the program, students will sign a contract that they will do their absolute best to speak in Spanish. 

“So, we’re really targeting developing our students’ fluency and the type of incidental interactions that they would get in a study abroad environment,” Moranski said.

While the program is not a replacement for studying abroad, it will simulate elements of a study-abroad experience for upperclassmen who might not have a chance to go overseas, and  provide an opportunity for underclassmen to practice for future study-abroad trips. 

According to Godoy and Moranski, the program will follow all university practices and procedures. All activities students participate in will also go through an administrative approval process. 

“Even though the program is set to begin five months from now, the safety of the students is our top, top priority for this program,” Moranski said. 

The cost of the program will be the current price of tuition for six credit hours. There are no additional fees for participating in any of the activities provided. Currently enrolled students interested in taking advantage of the program should contact their academic advisor for more details. 

Featured image at top: Woman visits a bodega. Credit/Fran Hogan/Unsplash

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