This semester, in the Advanced Spanish Elective Actualidades (“Current Events”), we have been reading, discussing, and sometimes debating topics we have read on international news sites from around the Spanish-speaking world. Roundtable discussions in the target language, student-led discussions, and moments of advanced grammar instruction (when they arise) are daily happenings in the class.

Each student is also working on an individual semester-long current event topic of their choice and has presented findings of their research three times. The course will conclude with an in-depth final project presentation on the same topic. Topics include poverty and government in Venezuela, environmental sustainability in densely populated Latin American cities, abortion rights (or lack of them), stereotypes around race and in the workforce in Spain, and women leaders and women’s rights in the Hispanic world. We have been most engaged and interested in discussing the current topics of DACA and immigration, Cataluña and independence, and the Puerto Rican and Cuban natural disasters.

A few weeks ago, we had a live discussion via Facetime with a young college student, María, and her father, Jordi, who shared their perspective on the events unfolding most recently as Cataluña’s now ex-president continues to lead his people in a fight for independence. It was fascinating to hear their authentic, honest perspective on the movement that was unfolding live! We will reconnect after December break to inquire about the December 21 vote in that province.

 Photo above: María in Barcelona (friend of Abby Pipkin)
Photos below: our class totally engaged in the conversation, and Jordi, María’s father.
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