The living room couches in the Spanish (Windom) House quickly filled on Monday afternoon with over a dozen students eager to chat and grab a snack.
The gathering was for ¡Cafecito!, the Colorado College Spanish and Portuguese Department’s blockly event. Conversations were in both Spanish and English, as everyone was back together for the first time this semester and eager to begin Spanish Cultural Program Coordinator Ana Gabriela Pareja-Alfaro’s presentation.
“I come as often as I can,” Melissa Taing ’19 said. “It is nice to practice speaking Spanish in a relaxing environment, and the food is always great.”
The event began with Pareja-Alfaro showing a couple of videos about Spanish speakers in different parts of the world. Afterwards, everyone broke off to practice conversational Spanish or catch up in English while grabbing coffee and desserts. Attendees were Spanish House residents, Pareja-Alfaro’s adjunct students, and students enrolled in Spanish classes. However, the event is open to anyone.
This is Pareja-Alfaro’s first year as Spanish and Portuguese CPC at CC. Last year, she was an exchange student at CC from the University of Costa Rica last year. She has been hosting ¡Cafecito! on the second Monday of each block since the beginning of the year. She also lives in the Spanish House with 20 other residents. Many of the residents this year are sophomores who are pursuing a major or minor in Spanish.
“I like being the CPC because I can organize events for other people to enjoy, and I love teaching Spanish,” Pareja-Alfaro said.
Pareja-Alfaro teaches three levels of Spanish language adjuncts, and she also helps coordinate many cultural events for the Spanish House. They have had cooking demonstrations and Latin dancing workshops, and the Spanish House residents will also plan a group event later this block. “The Christmas event was my favorite,” Taing, a Spanish House resident, said.
In addition to leading many informal campus events, the Spanish and Portuguese Department also offers students the opportunity to travel abroad and practice Spanish. This semester, students are participating in the CC Semester in Latin America. Blocks 5 and 6 take place in Argentina, and Blocks 7 and 8 will be in Chile. The courses are all taught on the Block Plan by CC professors. Additionally, a group of first-year students spent the fall semester in Costa Rica, taking four credits through the University of Costa Rica.
The Spanish and Portuguese Department offers two majors: a major in Spanish-Hispanic Studies, or in Romance Languages with a Spanish major and focus in either French or Italian. Additionally, students have the opportunity to pursue a Spanish minor. Introductory Spanish is offered twice each semester and counts for one of the two required language credits at CC. Portuguese is not as prevalent but is part of the department.
Stop by the Spanish House on Cascade Avenue for the next ¡Cafecito! on the second Monday of Block 6 to get involved.