A new group of students entered the front doors of Se Habla…La Paz last week to take part in a learning experience of a lifetime.
Eight students, including Susan Moore, Director of Clinical Education and Services at the University of Colorado Boulder in the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, started two weeks of intense Spanish classes at La Paz’s premier language school.
The group, both students and instructors from CU Boulder, are spending two weeks in the capital of Baja California Sur to learn the Spanish language and to have a better understanding of the Spanish speaking culture. The two-week adventure is part of their required course work to complete the graduate program in speech pathology at CU Boulder.
“We feel it is vital for our students to have some knowledge of Spanish and to understand the culture of Spanish speakers. In Colorado, 80% of families who speak another language speak Spanish. We feel it is fundamental to help train our graduate students to understand the diversity of Spanish speaking families and to be flexible and creative while working with them.” Moore explained.
Apart from their daily Spanish lessons at Se Habla…La Paz, the speech pathology students spent several hours observing the work done at CRIT, (Teleton Children’s Rehabilitation Center/Centro de Rehabilitación Infantil Teletón) for children with disabilities. They also spent time at La Casita de Harumi where they worked with a group of volunteers who provide support to children with special needs as well as support to their families.
But their time in La Paz was not all work. The group also had a day excursion to La Paz’s world famous Isla del Espiritu Santo, a night of salsa classes and the experience of kayaking in the Bay of La Paz under a full moon.
Clara Pérez-Méndez, Founder and Director of Puentes Culturales, coordinated the two week trip between Se Habla…La Paz and the University of Colorado Boulder and was key to organizing two weeks filled with learning experiences for the speech pathologists. “Susan, Juli and I have been working on this project a long time and we finally have made it a reality. Our goal was to have the students maximize their time here in La Paz and we have achieved that. We are already planning another group to come down next semester.”
Juli Goff, Founder and Director of Se Habla…La Paz is thrilled to host the group. “Healthcare professionals were one of my first groups to come down here to Se Habla for classes years ago. There are several states now in the US where Spanish is an important language. Many health care professionals have been telling me for years that they feel it is vital to learn Spanish in order to give the best care possible.”
She added, “It has been a joy to have Susan and her group here. It also has been a new challenge for my teachers, who have been focusing their Spanish classes towards the language the speech pathologists need down here in La Paz while they are spending time at CRIT and at La Casita de Harumi.”
Moore explained, “The goal of this program was for our students to understand the culture. They will be working with Spanish speaking families in the future and their time here in La Paz will not only increase their fluency in Spanish but also their knowledge of the culture. That is very important to us.”