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Source: Massey University

High school students in Hastings get a taste of Latin American culture through Massey’s Spanish Language programme, with support from Mexican and Spanish embassies.

That Mexico City was built on top of a lake, that Latin America has a rich linguistic and musical diversity, and that many delicious food items we enjoy in Aotearoa (chocolate, avocadoes, potatoes, kumara, beans, tomatoes) come from Latin America were among insights shared with high school students at Lindisfarne College in Hastings recently.

Staff from Massey’s Spanish Programme were joined by Mr Alejandro Ramos, from the Mexican Embassy, and Dr Clara Jimeno-Gómez, from the Spanish Embassy, for a day running workshops on Latin American culture, with a focus on Mexico. 

Over 200 students from Lindisfarne College, Hastings Girls’ High, Havelock North High, Iona College, Woodford House, Taupo Nui a Tia College and Napier Girls’ High School attended.

The visit was part of an ongoing initiative that the Spanish Programme has been running since 2013 with many schools in New Zealand.

The aim is to support the teaching of Spanish across the school sector by offering students the opportunity to enhance their language skills, delve into Latin American history, enrich their cultural awareness, and explore further study choices and pathways related to Spanish and Latin American culture, says Associate Professor Leonel Alvarado, who convenes Massey’s Spanish programme.

Latin American flavours were on the menu during a day of Latin American cultural workshops for high school students in Hastings.

Fun and games all part of learning a language

An important component of the workshops is the use of games and fun activities to engage students in an interactive way, he says. “The one-day event turns into a Spanish fiesta, which includes salsa workshops and Latin American food for lunch – tacos, quesadillas and enchiladas were on the menu this time!”

Many of the high school teachers who run the events on site are Massey alumni or are currently studying Spanish at Massey, and they always embrace these opportunities with a great deal of enthusiasm and dedication, he says.

The school visit was part of the events to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Spanish Programme at Massey. More events are forthcoming, including more school visits in Auckland, and a gala night in Palmerston North on 13 August. 

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