Prerequisites: Span 25
This class, offered through the Spanish and Portuguese Department and open to students of all disciplines who can communicate well in written and oral Spanish, is one of the electives for the new two-year minor in the Global Poverty and Practice minor with specialization in Latin America. The minor’s goal is to introduce students to critical inquiry and discovery through primary source assignments and direct experience of engaged research with the Latino community locally and internationally.
The aim of the course is to motivate students to hone their expository and argumentative writing, while at the same time engaging in serving the community through Service Learning locally. Students will practice transferring knowledge and skills learned in the classroom to semi-professional work at the volunteering sites, where they will volunteer for a total of 20 hours throughout the semester. Since reflection is a key component of life-long learning, students will write weekly blogs in our bcourses discussion site and a final paper, reflecting about their experiences volunteering locally and how it connects to the readings and research we are discussing in class. From the third week on, students will have the opportunity to apply those writing and oral skills in Spanish to other situations, like the search of a volunteering position overseas. Students will work in teams and individually researching NGOs in Spanish-speaking countries, interviewing their founders and returning volunteers who have worked there; and will write a report on the NGOs of their choice. As part of honing their writing skills, students will be in charge of writing the emails presenting themselves to the NGOs and setting up Skype interviews with the selected NGOs to have team discussions with them about any questions and concerns the students have in preparing to work with those NGOs. Students will compare and contrast the mission and work of various NGOs; discuss, in an argumentative form, advantages and disadvantages of global volunteering, and at the end of the semester write a letter presenting themselves to an NGO overseas. Students may choose whether or not to send the letter but, regardless of that final decision, it is my hope that throughout the course students will have learned how to sort out possible opportunities for working or volunteering locally or overseas. By its very nature and structure, this course provides practical opportunities to experience the living languages and cultures studied in our Department.