I chose to participate in this program because I felt that I was due for a break from school/university. I needed to experience something else! Another setting, culture, language, other people, etc. Now in Spain and experiencing all of these things, it’s a dream come true. My Spanish is improving and I’m constantly confronted with stimulating new learning experiences. Spain is a beautiful country and is definitely worth your while.
From my experience, I found that the initial application and waiting process was somewhat tricky and impersonal. If you have any problems, the BU Spanish teachers should be available to help you if you have any qualms concerning the application. The waiting process is quite drawn out, I got my answer in early June. Typically, auxiliary positions are first offered to people who wish to prolong their experience for another year. In my opinion, it is best to have a plan B and C, just in case you are not accepted.
Once I received the confirmation notice I didn’t hear from people from my actual school until August. It is important to follow up on all the notices that are sent to you and it is your responsibility to keep communication live. I got in touch with my school shortly before arriving, which I found a little stressful. Basically, once you are accepted and you follow through, you should not worry. Responses usually take time and as long as you get one, then you’re set.
Once you’re in Spain then all that is left is finding a place to stay, which teachers at your school should be able to help you with. Enjoy and just begin getting to know people! From my experience, teachers are all really nice with language assistants and if you need help with anything whatsoever you have people that you can go to, so don’t feel like you are alone in the world!
Once you are settled in to your new place and know where essential places are, such as supermarkets and bars, then all you need to do is make the most of your time in class! Depending on your schedule it might take some getting used to. You will work twelve hours a week, which isn’t very much, so I suggest you take a Spanish course, if you feel the need, and also find other ways of filling your week up. I started giving private lessons to gain more money and pay for trips around Europe. You will be in Europe, hence you must travel!
Basically, if you are in search for a new experience and want to improve you Spanish speaking skills, I fully recommend you apply to this program! It is a great cultural and personal experience. Spain is much more relaxed than North America, and it is a nice change of pace. It’s a healthy opportunity and I suggest you take it!Luc Robichaud, class of 2010 B.A. Honours in Liberal Arts CANADIAN AND NORTH AMERICAN LANGUAGE AND CULTURE TEACHING ASSISTANT IN SPAIN FOR 2010-11
I started the program in Hispanic Studies in the spring 2009. I initially registered for the certificate. I was only trying to do something interesting and pleasant during my spare time. Then, the unexpected happened! Because of the energy and passion of the teachers in showing us the different aspects of Hispanic culture and literature and in promoting its rich variety, I ended up absolutely fascinated and decided that I wanted more of this.
I transferred, therefore, to the Major and in May 2011 I obtained the B.A., followed by the D.E.L.E. I am now doing the M.A. at Université de Montréal and will continue with the Ph.D. All this, I owe it to the Section of Hispanic Studies at Bishop’s!
Through the different courses, students can reach an excellent level of fluency in Spanish, are made able to sustain the examination for the D.E.L.E. (the official international diploma of Spanish proficiency) at the highest level, familiarize with the masterpieces of Hispanic literature, such as works of Nobel Prize Mario Vargas Llosa and universally known classics (La Celestina, Don Juan, La Regenta, Don Quijote, etc.), and also have the opportunity to explore the astonishingly amazing world of Hispanic art, cinema and television. What you get from the program is not only a language, but also a totally new vision on life and values. Your understanding of the world will never be the same once you approach Hispanic Studies…at Bishop’s !!!Giancarlo Fantecchi, class of 2011 B.A. Major in Hispanic Studies Winner of the Canadian Association of Hispanists contest for best undergraduate student essay
Audrey is now studying linguistics at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, still reflecting on the topic of her masters thesis. Travel is very important to Audrey; as a student at Bishop’s she participated in an academic exchange to Ecuador.Audrey Gallibois, class of 2011 B.A. Major in Hispanic Studies Major in Modern Languages, German Concentration, Hispanic Studies Concentration
Before I came to Bishop’s and started taking Spanish classes, my knowledge of the language limited itself to “mi casa es su casa” and “quiero cerveza.” After only one semester, however, the improvement was noticeable and with no more than one Spanish class each semester I felt ready to go on exchange to Mexico the winter semester my third year.
When I arrived in Mexico, it was clear that Bishop’s had provided me with a thorough base in Spanish, both concerning vocabulary and grammar. The styles of the classes include a good mixture of reading, writing, comprehension and grammar. The application of newly learned grammatical problems is conveniently explained through small texts or conversations so one may see the phenomenon applied in plausible situations.
Nevertheless, it cannot go unsaid that to really learn a language, sitting in a classroom two to four times a week will not suffice. The only way to really reach the level of fluency is living where the language is spoken and where one is ‘forced’ to use it. The number of Spanish speaking countries is vast and living in one of them would be incredible. Form my personal experience however; I can say that Mexico is a diverse and beautiful country filled with culture and history. The Mexicans are warm, loving and fun people that gladly share their culture and without hesitation, inviting you into their homes and making you feel welcome and at ease.
Whether one is falling asleep listening to the rolling waves or the music that never stops, taking in the symphony of colours, smells and flavours in a crowded market or feeling the burning sun walking along the beach, Mexico not only teaches you Spanish but also how to truly relax and simply enjoy the moment.Elise Tokerud, class of 2011 B.A. Honours Sociology Minor Hispanic Studies, Minor FSL
Aryane is currently working as a language-assistant in French in a small town in eastern Germany. She would like to participate in a similar program next hear in a Spanish-speaking country in order to utilize her skills learned at Bishop’s. When she returns to Canada, Aryane plans to complete a certificate in education and become a teacher. The photo is taken at the Sansoucy Castle in Potsdam, Germany.Aryane Beaudoin, class of 2011 B.A. Honours in Music Major in Modern Languages, Concentration Hispanic Studies, Concentration German Studies
After graduating from Bishop’s, Anie taught French for one year in Murcia, Spain through the North American Language and Culture Assistants program. Still in Spain, Anie now teaches English in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria (Canary Islands) as part of a visiting professor program.Anie Bernier, class of 2010 B.A. Major in Hispanic Studies
Mélanie is currently completing a Masters degree in Public Administration at the École Nationale de l’Administración Publique (ENAP) in Gatineau, Quebec. This photo is from a trip to Cuba.Mélanie McCrae, class of 2010 B.A. Major in Hispanic Studies Minor in Psychology
Manuela is currently completing her doctorate in International and Intercultural Studies at the University of Deusto in Bilbao, Spain. Her research deals with the associationism of women immigrants in the Basque region.Manuela Gabriel, class of 2008 B.A. Modern Languages, Concentration Spanish, Concentration English
Andréanne has also completed her M.A. in German Literature from Queen’s University in 2010 and a certificate in Classical Studies from Laval University in 2011. Currently she is a language teacher in Leipzig, Germany.Andréanne Roy, class of 2007 B.A. Major in Hispanic Studies Minor in German
After graduating, Isabelle worked as a language-assistant in Ireland. She holds fond memories of what she calls her “marvellous” years at Bishop’s.Isabelle Bernier, class of 2007 B.A. Major in Hispanic Studies Minor in Political Studies, minor in German Studies
Maryse is currently the Benefits Portfolio Administrator at Concordia University. She loves to travel, particularly to Latin America where she uses her Spanish to connect with the local populations. This photo is taken from a trip to Machu Picchu, Peru.Maryse Picard, class of 2004 Certificate in Hispanic Studies
After graduating from Bishop’s, Marie-Hélène completed her M.A. in Spanish literature from Laval University in 2010. She is a Superintendent with the Canada Border Services Agency and is on temporary assignment until 2013 as a Liaison Officer in Kingston, Jamaica. Marie-Hélène Loignon, class of 2004 B.A. Major in Hispanic Studies Minor in English Literature, Minor in Education
Marie describes her years in Hispanic Studies at Bishop’s as some of the best of her life, learning Spanish through the literatures, histories and cultures of the many Spanish-speaking countries. As a Bishop’s student, Marie participated in two academic exchanges to Mexico, Mazatlán and Taxco, aided in part by scholarships from the government of Quebec and Bishop’s. After completing her M.A. in International Relations at the UdeM, she now works for the travel-based companies Les Aventuriers Voyageurs and Extracama.com for which her Spanish knowledge is invaluable.Marie Bolduc-Béliveau, class of 2003 B.A. Major in Hispanic Studies
I remember 5 years ago, when I was reading through all the propaganda looking for the university that could suit the best my interests, when I settled for BU I had no clue that it would change my life. I do realize it sounds exaggerated but it truly did; so it went… I settled for BU because of its location and language; I had been living then in British Colombia for a year, and after a rainy winter I was in need to see a white Christmas again. I opted for BU so I could be back in Québec, but still study in English, which was my career plan.
My passion for the Spanish language started with a trip to México a few months before starting university. Once at BU, I realized that I could perfectly combine both of my passions doing an English and an Hispanic Studies Major (Thanks to its “liberal education”). The small classes, the student community and the relationship with the teachers soon made of my Hispanic Studies Major my priority.
After two years of hard work, I decided to test my luck. What if I would go on exchange? Our teachers always insisted on the importance and benefits that an exchange implies. So I applied: I would go to Spain. Once in Valencia, I realized that there was no turning back: I was in love with the language and the culture.
When I came back to BU, I could only think of going back, of learning more. One way of doing so was to hang around the third floor of Divinity House (Spanish Department) and chat with the teachers who were always willing to hear you. Then I decided to apply to a Spanish University to do my Master’s Degree in Hispanic Studies, but to do so I needed to prove that I had a sufficient level of Spanish. As BU is an official exam center for the DELE exam of the Instituto Cervantes, of international renown, in May of 2007 I sat the DELE Superior exam and was then admitted to the Universidad de Valencia.
Now, after having completed a year of theory with great success, I can thus demonstrate that my studies at BU, along with doing an exchange, were enough preparation to achieve whatever I wanted.
As I now work on my investigation project on teaching Spanish as a second language using new technologies, I am also a titled tutor of the Instituto Cervantes online Spanish course (AVE) and teaching Spanish as a second language to immigrants in a Spanish High school.
Studying Spanish at BU has been a turning point in my life. Myriam Pruneau
Last year, I completed my undergraduate degree, honours in sociology and minor in Hispanic studies, at Bishop’s University. One of the best decisions I made during my undergraduate years has been to go on exchange in Alicante, Spain. Three years at Bishop’s were enough to improve my English, but not to learn a third language. This is why I took the opportunity to live and study in Spain during five months and I sometimes feel nostalgic about it. Life in Alicante had a different taste, smell and rhythm, but was delightful all the same. I miss the sun, the beach, the market, the salsa lessons, the language and the friends I made there: Luis Miguel, Juan Miguel, Mariana, Carlos, Alejandro, Jorge, Rosa, Victor, Elina, Mélanie and many more. I like to experience life in other countries. This gives me an idea of what it is like to be a newcomer in Canada. I am now pursuing my studies in sociology at McGill University and I am interested in ethnic relations and immigration. My Alicante experience as well as other experiences lived at Bishop’s (the Refugee Sponsorship Committee, the International Student Association, my honours’ thesis and the independent study in the Hispanic studies department) all prepared me well for graduate studies and enriched my life greatly. I continue practising Spanish with the objective to be able to work in this language and already dream about traveling again. Christine Proulx
It is with great pleasure that I have the chance here to share my experience working with the Hispanic Studies section at Bishop’s University. Upon entering the program, directly out of high school, the department considered my strengths and weaknesses in a very individual manner, and then I was signed up for courses that would truly help me develop. The courses I took during my first two years in the Hispanic Studies section were smaller, which allowed me to be in close contact with the teaching staff, an important part in learning any language. The close contact between teachers and students is an important part of the ‘Bishop’s Experience,’ and the Hispanic Studies section uses this to facilitate the better learning of the language. The courses were very varied, from acquisition of the Spanish language to courses with a more cultural focus, such as literature and history, and even with the intimidating amount of subject matter, the small, yet dedicated faculty of the department did an excellent job of communicating it to the students, helping with my comprehension and enjoyment of the topics.
The department, understanding that exchange and time spent actually living in the Spanish-speaking world is very helpful in the acquisition of the language, encourages an exchange, so I mad the choice, during my third year, to spend the academic year abroad, studying in Mexico. I spent the year living in a town just to the south of Mexico City, well off the tourist trail, which gave me an incredible experience, as I had the opportunity to truly live the language. Often though, exchange can bring a lot of headaches, especially when dealing with the transfer of credits to a host university, yet the faculty at Bishop’s did an excellent job, making it easy for a student to attain credit for Spanish courses taken abroad, so when I returned for my fourth and final year, I was able to obtain full credit for my time abroad.
For students considering the study of Spanish at an advanced level, a smaller university such as Bishop’s might give the impression of smaller course selection and availability, yet nothing could be farther from the truth. The department does an excellent job at offering advanced courses, seminars, and independent studies courses, which help students get the experience they need for a myriad of goals, such as study at the graduate level. My experience, studying Spanish at Bishop’s University, has been phenomenal. The faculty has been both supportive and inspiring, and the courses have truly helped me develop my knowledge of the language, and the culture that accompanies it. It has given me the solid base needed to continue studying, and to use it as a valuable skill in the world. If you are looking to study Spanish at the undergraduate level, no matter what experience you have, Bishop’s University is the ideal place for study, and with an ambitious faculty, I am confident that the wonderful opportunities at Bishop’s will only continue growing.Brys Stafford - June 2007
I graduate in June 2007 with a major in Hispanic Studies and a minor in German Studies. The three years that I spent at Bishop’s University will remain one of my best memories. First of all, at BU, thanks to the small class size, the teachers got to know me and were always willing to help and make my student life better. As part of my degree, I also spent one year on exchange. I went to Alicante, Spain, for one semester and to Bamberg, Germany, for a second semester. Going on exchange was one of the best part of my degree, I recommend it to anyone! Reading about the Alhambra in Granada, or the Palacio Real in Madrid in one thing, but seeing it with my own eyes was something different. I can also assure you that a paella tastes much better in Spain, and that you cannot die without having tasted a Spanish hot chocolate with churros or a bocadillo with Serrano ham… But that is not all, at BU, I had the chance to get involved with international students, take part in the German Club, be part of a multilingual theatre evening for our Modern Languages Week, participate in the Research Week and present a research paper in Spanish Linguistics, to name a few of the different possibilities offered to Bishop’s students. Now that I am abroad completing a Graduate Diploma in Teaching in New Zealand, I can better appreciate how lucky I was to be at Bishop’s University and I am glad that I made the most of my experience. Marie-Ève Therrien