Bilingualism Benefits the Brain

Here’s a podcast from the Diane Rehm Show about the benefits of bilingualism on the brain. Perhaps it is not surprising to know that the greater your fluency in a second language, the greater the benefit. A bilingual brain works harder and is stronger and it is never too late to reap the benefits. Sign up for a language course today!


Working to Live or Living to Work?

This is a very interesting article about work-life balance in Spain from the Spanish newspaper, El País. It reminds me of when I was living and working as an English teacher in Spain soon after graduating from college. I was told many times how Americans “vivís para trabajar” while Spaniards “trabajamos para vivir.” I wasn’t sure if that was true or not nor which culture had the right answer. I knew that the American economy was strong and that the Spanish way of life was very agreeable. If we could just combine the two…

Nevertheless, the author finds that Spaniards suffer from greater stress and insufficient sleep when compared to their neighbors in Western Europe. This author shows how taking pride in your professional life has positive outcomes for both the individual and the country. I also learned why Spain is not in the same time zone as Portugal and the UK. Read on to learn more!


Congratulations, Student Video Award Winners!

For their final project, the students of Humanities 295: Poetry and Prose of Latin America and Spain worked in small groups to film an original adaptation of a piece of literature they have studied this semester. The videos included Acts II and III of Federico García Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba and readings of Pablo Neruda’s poetry in Spanish and English. After the in-class screening of the videos, the class voted for Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Video. Congratulations to all!

best actors

Best Actor: Alan Morris and Best Actress: Kay Wood

best video

Best Video: Act II, The House of Bernarda Alba

Pictured L to R: Adeline Umubyeyi, Kay Wood, Glancy Rosales and Lydia Nure


El Día de los Muertos

Throughout Latin America families honor their deceased relatives on el Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), which is celebrated on two days, November 1st and 2nd. November 1, Día de los Inocentes, is a day dedicated to the memories of children who have died.

The holiday blends Aztec and Catholic traditions. Unlike Halloween, the days are looked on as a celebration of life and respect for the dead. Families will visit cemeteries and place flowers on their relatives’ graves and make other offerings to them, often of their favorite food or other items. Many will spend the night in the cemeteries reminiscing about their loved ones. In Mexico, people will eat calaveras de azúcar (sugar skulls) and pan de muerto (bread of the dead).

Photos by Amy Wopat

ofrendas dia de los muertos 3 dia de los muertos 2 dia de los muertos


New Spanish Course for Spring 2015!

SPA 233: Spanish Civilization & Literature
Course # 56177 (3 Credits)
Tuesdays & Thursdays 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Expand your knowledge of Spanish literature – from Medieval jarchas and El Cid to costumbrista and feminist short fiction – in its historical context.

Prerequisite: successful completion of SPA 202 or equivalent fluency.

Questions? Contact Prof. Martha Davis at


Teatro Milagro Visits NOVA

Teatro Milagro, from Portland, Oregon, performed their bilingual Spanish-English play Cuétame Coyote on Thursday, October 16th in the forum of the Schlesinger Center. The actors fielded questions from the audience after their performance and led an acting workshop later in the afternoon from 3:30-5:30. In the workshop students enjoyed learning techniques from Boal’s theater of the oppressed, such as creating still images of colors, objects and world issues and sharing stories of personal journeys.

Thank you to the Office of Student Activities and to the student volunteers from S.A.L.S.A. for making the events possible.

Milagro I

Milagro 3

Milagro 2

Milagro 4Milagro 5

Students Attend GALA Theatre’s Production of “Cancún”

Honors option students from Prof. Davis’s Spanish 202 and Humanities 295 classes visited GALA Hispanic Theatre on Saturday, October 4th. They enjoyed seeing the Catalonian playwright Jordi Galcerán’s comedy Cancún performed by a dynamic and energetic cast. The students were joined by a number of other students of Prof. Davis’s HUM 295: Poetry and Prose of Latin America and Spain course, who had read and discussed the play in class. 

Thank you to Prof. Amey and the Honors Committee for sponsoring the honors option students’ night out!