Spanish Teletandem Club: Breaking language barriers

The online Spanish Teletandem Club allows students to speak with students from South America to learn Spanish, regardless of their amount of knowledge on the language. The club also helps Spanish speaking students learn/practice their English.

Club organizer Milena Palacios said Spanish Teletandem is not an official club, but was initiated as a kind of extracurricular program. She said it was initiated by a professor who visited Mexico and saw university students engaged in so-called “dual immersion,” where American students practiced learning Spanish, and Latin American students practiced learning English. 

“So that was the purpose of the dual immersion,” she said.

Palacios said Minnesota State Spanish faculty member Adriana Gordillo started doing dual immersion activities with Spanish 101, 102, and 201 in the Spanish courses. 

“Students really wanted to do this more often, and something that’s not related to the class,” Palacios said. “Just for practice, just for having fun, just for knowing people from other cultures, Spanish cultures, Latin American cultures. So that’s why, in 2022, we started this kind of Spanish Teletandem Club.”

“What I really love about the club is having my students and all the participants from MNSU be happy when they’re interacting with the other students,” Palacios said. “I always ask my students and they say ‘Oh, I made a new friend, and he’s from Columbia or from Mexico, we are following each other on Facebook, Instagram, and we are connecting now and we’re practicing Spanish, they are practicing English.’ So the connections that they got after a conversation is something that really makes me excited, because that means that this is having a good impact on them,” Palacios also said. The Spanish Teletandem Club meets over Zoom and offers an equal amount of time for English speaking students to learn Spanish and Spanish speaking students to learn English. If you’d like to know more about this club or join, there are posters around campus with a QR code to register, or, you could contact Doctor Adriana Gordillo at adriana.gordillo@mnsu.edu.

Write to Ellie Meschke at eleanor.meschke@my.normandale.edu

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