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Latina students surprised how much Czechs are interested in learning Spanish

Students Pilar Martínez from Venezuela and Daniela Morales from Mexico have not been idle during their semester-long exchange at Masaryk University – both teach Spanish in language schools in their free time.

Student Daniela Morales from Mexico (on the left side)  and students Pilar Martínez from Venezuela.

And they are enthusiastic about not only the motivation of their students but also the great interest Czechs have in Hispanic culture in general.

It was Pilar's idea to enrichen her time spent in Brno by teaching Spanish. She is enrolled in a Romance language bachelor’s degree programme at the University of Salamanca, and she already had experience with teaching and wanted to continue. So before moving to Brno, she contacted several language schools, and quickly found two jobs: one at a primary school in Šlapanice, where she teaches teachers, the other at Hispanica language school, where she teaches another six groups of adults.

“I didn't know what I was getting into, so I was very nervous at first. But after the first class I was already impressed by the interest Czechs have in our language and culture. I was surprised they wanted to learn Spanish just because they like our language, music, and culture. A lot of people are also learning because of business or because they plan to go to Spain to study or to travel around Latin America or just because they know that in the future Spanish will be one of the most spoken languages in the world. Teaching such enthusiastic people is just a win; it makes everything go so much easier,” Pilar explains.

Drawing, pantomiming, and using simple language

Pilar wanted other Latino students to have a similar experience, so she shared her great experience with her friend Daniela, who is studying English but had always wanted to try what it was like to teach Spanish. Pilar didn't even have to persuade her to give it a try. After her first few months in Brno, the Mexican student began teaching a trio of complete beginners and one more advanced student on a one-to-one basis.

“I've been enjoying teaching since the very first lesson. But I have to say that I started with the most challenging one – teaching a group of complete beginners who don't even speak English is a really difficult task. But it is more fun than I thought. In the beginning we involved a lot of drawing and miming, and I had to learn to speak simple language, but after a few weeks we are having basic conversations. I look forward to every class, we laugh a lot. I'm very happy for this experience. I'm enjoying it very much, and I'm getting to know a different side of my language,” says the Mexican student.

Both students agree that, thanks to the Spanish lessons, they also appreciate their culture, traditions, and language much more now than before – especially when they hear others speak admiringly of their heritage. They are also more aware of cultural differences that they used to take for granted. And following the example of the Czechs, they would like to learn to walk everywhere and be on time.

Thanks to the lessons, they have also become more familiar with the Czechs and their character, which they are very happy about, as they are in contact with mostly international classmates. “It's great how many international students study in Brno. In one semester I met so many people from different parts of the world like never before. The semester at MU has completely changed our lives, and we are already thinking about going abroad again,” says Pilar.

However, both will find it very difficult to leave Brno, as they believe the city has great vibes and is just the right size. “We were thrilled by this unknown town. It is full of students and everything you need. We have found a little bit of home here, and it will be hard to leave. We will especially miss the Czech langoš and Kofola. And most of all, our skilled Czech students. We hope to meet them soon, perhaps in Latin America,” says Daniela.