I Feliz Año Nuevo!- Happy New Year!

Students made resolutions in Spanish class to take more interest in the world around them. They decided that a good place to start would be getting to know their neighbors. So we had a New Year’s celebration in Spanish class and invited our neighboring classes to join in. We had a very Valued Member of the Community and Bilingual Lifestyle Expert Mrs. Marisol Olivarez Horner as our guest speaker. She shared with us her knowledge and experiences as a Bilingual/Bicultural community member. 

Growing up, Mrs. Horner was immersed in  both American and Mexican culture.

 She shared with us   the benefits of understanding two cultures and two languages  in her childhood and now as an adult.

Mrs. Horner shared that knowing two languages helps her feel more empathy for people. She says she listens more carefully to everyone she meets and always tries to be sure to understand the messages they  are trying to convey.

Mrs. Horner mentioned how being Bilingual has helped her and other family members  in their positions in Human Resources, IT work for Embassies around the world and in the Teaching and Law and Law Enforcement professions. She also shared how fun it was to surprise people both in the area and on vacation, when she unexpectedly is able to converse in whatever language she is immersed in, at the time.

Students gained more cultural awareness as our guest speaker shared stories about different styles of communication in Mexico and the United states. We learned that In some ways Americans are more direct and in some ways Mexican culture is more polite or reserved. However, nicknames might be more freely used among family members in Mexico. Mrs. Horner also discussed attitudes that differ regarding individual  roles in the family  and obligations towards caring for their parents. She noted  in some regards  American culture can seem more informal, while in other areas, Mexican culture can see more relaxed. For example, with regards to time and keeping appointments, it has often been said that in the U.S., if you are more than 7 minutes late for an appointment or interview it is better to cancel then leave a bad impression. In Mexico, however, a more relaxed attitude about time prevails, and there is not such an emphasis on strict time requirements.

Students had a great time sharing popcorn and punch this New Year with a very valued and integral community member, Mrs. Horner. They learned interesting things about another culture and became more interested in learning Spanish after hearing from someone they know personally  about the benefits and fun of  knowing two languages.

We would love to host more guest speakers from the community who can share with us benefits about being Bilingual. Please contact us if you would like  to share your story.

Gracias. Y Prospero Año Nuevo!