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Common Ground: Bridging Cultures through Spanish

School of Humanities and Sciences

The Spanish language program’s Cardinal Courses engage with local Spanish-speaking communities through the arts, literature, digital storytelling, and civic engagement. 

A community engagement track across second-year Spanish (Spanlang 11SL, 12SL, and 13SL) will be offered throughout the academic year 2016-2017 for students wanting to develop language skills and forge cultural connections with native speakers. In Spanlang 11SL, Stanford students work to paint a public mural with middle-schoolers; in 12SL, to create artistic poetry with high school students; and in 13SL, to study the 100 questions of the U.S. citizenship exam with Spanish-speaking adults. 

In the third year of Spanish (Spanlang 101 and 102), the community engagement option pairs students with Stanford workers to record oral histories in print and through digital storytelling. In recording testimonios of life experiences that they may wish to share, workers impart advice, remembrances, ways of life, and words of wisdom to students and posterity, while students hone proficiency in narration and description, key skills at this stage of language development. Both groups develop print and digital literacies.

These courses emphasize la convivencia, engaging values of reciprocity, collaboration, and solidarity, among Spanish learners and speakers. Likewise, all emphasize the linguistic and cultural wealth of Spanish-speaking communities.

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