Spanish Club Says Adiós for Fall Semester


(Photo Courtesy of the Spanish Club)

(Photo Courtesy of the Spanish Club)
(Photo Courtesy of the Spanish Club)

After an inactive semester, the U’s Spanish Club might not be returning next spring.
Victor Zabala, head of the club, said scheduling conflicts are to blame. Zabala said they tried to change the schedule at the beginning of the semester and couldn’t find a convenient time for the club to meet. They’ve only met once this semester and had very few attendees.
“I don’t know about next semester,” Zabala said. “Maybe we’ll find a way to revive it.”
Last spring, the Spanish Club met every other week and had a turnout of 10 to 15 students per meeting. Zabala said the goal of the organization is to create a space for individuals to practice Spanish and meet people who have a love for the language and the culture.
Paola Lopez, the previous president and club founder, said the association started in the fall of 2013. Lopez said the idea of creating the Spanish Club came mainly from students who were asking for more opportunities to practice the language. Lopez said there were a few classes that focus on conversation for advanced speakers at the U, but in a class of 20 students it was more difficult to get a chance to really speak the language.
Lopez said when the club first started, she was surprised by the number of people who wanted to join.
“The club took the form of what we call in Spain tertulias, where people meet at a cafe and talk about issues,” Lopez said. “Students had the opportunity to decide on the topics, and we tried to incorporate different activities related to cultural aspects of the different Spanish-speaking countries.”
Zabala said the club was meant to be collaborative for all members.
“The idea is to have a spontaneous conversation with all the people without any strict structure,” Zabala said. “Just sitting down and talking about any topic like education, politics, daily life, etc.”
Originally, the association was called the Advanced Spanish Club and mainly catered to higher-level Spanish speakers. However, Zabala said the club is now more lenient and anyone on any speaking level is invited to join.
“It’s pretty much open to everyone now,” Zabala said. “People would come in and ask questions about grammar or sometimes even about the language itself because they want to start learning it.”
The club also touched on different cultural aspects of Spanish-speaking countries and discussed issues about things like celebrations or differences in the language and played games to review specific vocabulary words and language structures. Additionally, they facilitated different cultural activities, such as cooking lessons to make traditional dishes during the Spanish holiday, Carnival.
Lopez said she felt the Spanish Club was a good resource for students above the 2010 level to maintain and practice the language.
“There are not many places where they can practice Spanish outside of the classroom, and I think we created a strong community in which everyone and every culture was valued,” Lopez said.
For next semester, Zabala said the fate of the club isn’t certain, but he hopes to continue running it. Zabala said better organization is in the works, as well as utilizing their Facebook page more. Zabala said he hopes to resolve the scheduling conflict next semester and find a time for members to get together.
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