New Virtual Hybrid Courses for Fall!

Save the date for September 2021! NOVA will offer two 3-credit virtual hybrid course for the fall semester: SPA 233 (Introduction to Spanish Civilization and Literature) and SPA 205 (Spanish for Heritage Speakers I).

To register for SPA 233 you must have completed SPA 202 or have equivalent proficiency. Students will gain an understanding of Spanish culture and literature through poetry, short stories, theater, film and painting. All readings and discussion will be conducted in Spanish.

SPA 205, designed for students who have grown up in a Spanish-speaking household, aims to foster an appreciation of Hispanic and Latino cultural-linguistic heritage. The course will also help you develop your understanding, speaking, reading, and writing skills to native or near-native level. We will focus on reading development, orthography, lexical expansion, formal grammar, facility in writing and composition, and an introduction to selected representations of literary texts.

SPA 233 and SPA 205 will meet once a week on Zoom. Students will also engage with each other and the professor through discussion boards, blogs, videos and more. Dates and times will be announced in the coming weeks.

Questions? Contact Dr. Martha Davis at

Cool Words in Spanish (Part III): Alma gemela y media naranja

Like an English speaker’s “soul mate,” Spanish speakers can describe someone as their “alma gemela” (literally, “soul twin”). What in English is someone’s “better half,” in Spanish is one’s “media naranja” or “half orange.”

The Spanish poet Antonio Machado captures the idea of “una alma gemela” in one of his most famous poems:

“¿Qué es amor?”, me preguntaba
una niña. Contesté:
“Verte una vez y pensar
haberte visto otra vez.”

“What is love?”, a young girl
asked me. I answered:
“Seeing you once and thinking
that I had seen you once before.”

Don’t forget to tell your “media naranja”, “alma gemela” and all the special people in your life what they mean to you!

Cool Words in Spanish (Part II): Sobremesa

Translated literally as “upon” or “over” the table, sobremesa describes the Spanish custom of sitting at the table after a meal, enjoying conversation and coffee or other drinks with family and friends. Sobremesa occurs both at home and at restaurants and is why it is considered impolite for the your server to bring you your check immediately after you finish your dinner or lunch. You are expected and encouraged to linger. Sobremesa is great for the body and soul!

Cool Words in Spanish (Part I): tocayo/tocaya

I have at least two sets of tocayos in my classes this semester. It’s been fun teaching them this new word that does not have a direct equivalent in English. A tocayo or tocaya can mean “namesake”, but it is also someone who has the same name as you. If your name is Jacob and your classmate is Jacob, too, you can greet him by saying, “¡Hola, tocayo!” You can explain this connection by stating, “Somos tocayos.”