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Puertas Abiertas, opening students up to the professional opportunities speaking Spanish can bring

An image of a door in Puerta Abierta

Under the current circumstances, if we can’t take students to Latin America, can we bring Latin America to New Zealand? This unique, week-long programme brings together 15-20 tertiary students taking at least a 200-level paper in Spanish at universities around the country. Students meet other like-minded individuals who are also passionate about the language and they are instructed to only speak Spanish for the entire week. The programme consists of lectures on Latin American culture delivered by specialists, speaker sessions featuring people who use Spanish in their professional lives, and participate in activities where they can apply their learning. One of the main objectives of the programme is to encourage students to continue on their Spanish learning journeys by exposing them to the endless professional possibilities by speaking the language.

In this programme students:
• recognise the value of continuing to study Spanish
• connect their passion of learning Spanish with their future career and life pathway
• increase their knowledge and understanding of Latin America (including its importance to New Zealand)
• increase their language competence and cultural knowledge
• network with other students studying Spanish

“Heading into this programme I did not really think about what I would get out of it, I just thought it would be a great opportunity to meet people and practice my Spanish. In reality this week has far surpassed my expectations and has helped me to see how my Spanish language skills are an important part of my own identity. The opportunities this week has opened up for me in terms of the confidence I now have to connect with Latin Americans and to feel confident to travel for work are enormous.” – 2020 participant

We are looking to deliver another programme in July 2022. Details will be posted when available.