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OSU Workshop Allows Westerville Spanish Teachers to Hone their Craft in Cuba

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Westerville City Schools Spanish teachers Erin Moehl (Central) and Karlee Michel (North) pose in front of a vintage 1957 Chevy, parked in Havana. 




Westerville City Schools Spanish teachers Erin Moehl (Central) and Karlee Michel (North) have just returned from a 16-day workshop in Spanish linguistics, which took place in Havana, Cuba. The duo embarked on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as part of The Ohio State University’s intensive Summer Seminars Abroad program, hosted by the Center for Latin American Studies and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. The purpose of the program is to provide participants with an opportunity to analyze and practice the Spanish language in a natural linguistic and cultural context, and to receive graduate university credit for that experience.

The trip was made possible, in part, thanks to a generous grant from the Bette Marschall Foundation. After a lengthy application, visa and forms process, the educators were approved for travel to Cuba.  While there, they lived with a Cuban family and took part in a Spanish Linguistics class taught by OSU Professor Terrell Morgan, who focused on dialects, pronunciation, and word formation in different countries. The teachers interacted with the locals each day, toured the beautiful city of Havana, along with other popular destinations, and immersed themselves in Cuban culture, food, music and customs. They arrived home “ready to put into practice all that we learned in Cuba.” Moehl and Michel hope to travel to Uruguay in 2019/2020.

OSU’s Summer Seminars Abroad for Spanish Teachers (SSAST) have been offered annually since 1991, moving to a different site every two years as a way of presenting as many faces as possible of the Spanish-speaking world to educators and students of Spanish.