Passenger in Transit was inspired by the song “Pasajera en Trance” (“Passenger in Trance”) by Charly García, an Argentinian rock singer. This exhibition is a window to a beautiful and exciting island that has become a myth to the world during the last sixty years. A year after a normalization agreement between the US and Cuba, my wife and I decided to travel to the Island to take advantage of the newly opened direct flights between Miami and Havana. Bianca, our 10-month-old daughter, became our ambassador everywhere we went. We stayed in the homes of Cuban families who made us feel at home and who gave us a glimpse of how Cubans live their daily lives.
Yulian Martinez-Escobar is a Spanish professor and filmmaker based in Charleston, South Carolina. He is also a self-taught photographer whose work has been exhibited in Colombia and in Charleston and Columbia, South Carolina. His avid interests include languages, traveling, and culture, which have defined his artistic style. Yulian first cultivated an interest in the fine arts in his native Colombia as an actor in his college theater company. As a photographer, he especially enjoys capturing candid portraits of people he meets in his travels, from Scotland to Peru, from Senegal to Cuba, from The Gambia to The Philippines. As a foreigner, he wants to explore and document the lives and diverse backgrounds of other people who have ended up in the United States.
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.”
Check out the latest article in the College TODAY, “Learning Our Way: How Professors Are Maximizing Hybrid Teaching” where Hispanic Studies instructor Fenner Hoell is a feature of how faculty at CofC are maximizing online education!