If you are interested in practicing and improving your Spanish speaking ability, then come to “La Tertulia,” held on Wednesdays from 10:30-11:20 a.m. in the cafeteria. This is not a class, there won’t be any grades and all levels of Spanish speakers are welcome to practice with students, faculty and staff.
A fluent Spanish speaker from Puerto Rico, Professor Archana Alwar started the “Spanish Table” five years ago in the winter of 2009 and has continued it every quarter except during the summer. Alwar, who has been teaching for 16 years, began teaching at the University of Memphis as a graduate student and now works part time at Bellevue College.
Her motivation to start “La Tertulia” was headed by a desire to have students “not just practice Spanish, but also to encourage a love of the Spanish language and to show that it is fun to speak another language,” states Alwar.
The Spanish Table gets about 7 to 15 people every Wednesday, which includes not only students but faculty and staff as well. The conversations vary from the weather to stories and even future goals.
They all “encourage anybody from any level of Spanish to come and improve their speaking ability,” says Alwar. “We have a great time here and I hope that students will take and use this experience so they can enjoy a true love of the Spanish language and learn more about the culture of Spanish -speaking countries.”
Each time participants introduce themselves and discuss where they are from and what classes they are taking. It is “just to get to know one another,” says Alwar.
Not only does it provide a way to improve your skills and learn new ones, but students also get the chance to learn about new cultures. “I think it is very important for people to learn more about the Spanish culture, and we do that by getting together and have a fun time speaking Spanish,” says Alwar.
Overall Alwar sees the table as a success: “I am very happy that I am doing this, and I know that I am helping my department and as well as helping more people learn another language at Bellevue College.”
“La Tertulia” creates an environment for anyone to practice an unfamiliar language and create friendships.