Some of the UFRO students of the program in Spanish and Communication Education connected with students of the Spanish 101 course of the University of British Columbia (UBC) and had to put into practice their knowledge of teaching and their English skills.
The Spanish and Communication Education students Javiera Jorquera, María Carolina Oyarzún and Génesis Orellana of the Universidad de La Frontera (UFRO) and Fabián Leal, a former student of the program, had to teach their Canadian peers about the educative and cultural contexts of UFRO and our city (Temuco, Chile).
This workshop was very interesting for the participants, since the undergraduate students of UFRO had to play the role of the teacher in front of the Spanish 101 class. Each of them had to present his or her experiences as a South American student studying at a regional state university, as well as their future goals and short-term goals. They also had to put their educational skills to the test, as well as their command of a second language – English in this case – within the framework of a first approach to teaching.
The pandemic has affected the whole world, but it also opened new doors and brought new opportunities. One example for that is the huge progress in online education. “Thanks to virtuality, we were able to participate in this opportunity of learning and cultural exchange. Otherwise, this would not have been possible. It helps us to broaden our vision of the world when we share with people from other countries, especially when you do that in another language”, explained Javiera Jorquera, one of the students who actively participated in the workshop.
In addition to the cultural exchange, it is worth mentioning the possibility for our students to put their English skills into practice, in an excellent university environment with native speakers who are not only from Canada, but also from other parts of the world, since UBC is well known for being a very multicultural university.
In this context, Genesis Orellana, who is in her third year of the program in Spanish and Communication Education and who participated for the first time in an initiative like this, explained that “it was a completely new experience. I was extremely nervous to face the challenge of teaching a group that did not know any Spanish, but it also was an excellent motivation for me to put my English language skills into practice. I am very happy that I was able to be part of this workshop and to teach these young people who are making a great effort, facing the challenge of learning a new language”.
This session of the workshop was the fourth in less than a year and was made possible thanks to the collaborative work between Dr. Iris Escuer Riera of UBC (Vancouver, Canada) and Dr. Carolina Navarrete G. (UFRO, Chile), who indicated that “learning opportunities like this one, where our students can interact directly with their international peers – regardless of the pandemic – allow them to put their skills as future teachers into practice, to build partnerships and to broaden their horizons. In addition, it allows the students to increase their self-confidence and the confidence in their communicative, cultural and social skills. In this kind of activities, you can clearly see the excellent work developed by the UFRO School of Education and the program in Spanish and Communication Education regarding the training of our students – also in an international context”.
After more than five years of international collaborative work between these two academics, Dr. Iris Escuer Riera emphasized the importance of this educational exchange of experiences between students of UBC and UFRO. “It has been a great pleasure to bring two cultures together and to enjoy interesting conversations, as well as the possibility of making new friends. I want to express my deep gratitude to the students of UFRO and to Dr. Carolina Navarrete for their active participation in my Spanish classes at UBC”, Dr. Escuer Riera said.
Written by: Communications Office, UFRO