Check out the College TODAY’s article: “Casa Hispana Residents Study Abroad Without Leaving Campus”
Excerpt from the article, “Native speakers or heritage speakers should also consider living in the Casa Hispana,” says native Spanish speaker Anna Paneda, a junior foreign language education major who has lived in the house since her sophomore year. She adds that it’s also the perfect community for students who “want to submerge themselves in the Spanish language but may not be able to take the opportunity to travel abroad.”
And, with travel and study abroad at a virtual standstill due to the coronavirus pandemic, those opportunities are especially scarce these days.
That’s why tools like TalkAbroad – which facilitates conversations between students and speakers around the world – are so crucial. The service has been used in many CofC Spanish classes over the years – but, last semester, it occurred to Gómez and senior Hispanic studies instructor Devon Hanahan that TalkAbroad could be applied in Casa Hispana, too.
“We had just installed this brand-new 50-inch TV with a camera and a dedicated PC, so it just made perfect sense for the Casa residents to use it as a portal for communicating and interacting with other cultures,” says Hanahan, who serves as the director of Casa Hispana. “We figured that, if our students can’t go to them, we’ll bring them to us.”
When Hanahan reached out to TalkAbroad about the idea, the company loved it – and even provided a grant to cover the service.
“Adding TalkAbroad conversations into the schedule for the Casa Hispana was a really unique and exciting idea,” says Todd Nichols, CEO of TalkAbroad. “We’re thrilled to support the experiment, and I can really see the conversations adding a dynamic and unique element to the language immersion experience and the growth of students as global citizens.”