Spanish in the Community: Students Reflect on Hispanic Cultures in the United States


  • Donna Reseigh Long

    1. Ohio State University
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      Donna Reseigh Long (PhD, The Ohio State University) is Associate Professor of Spanish at The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.


Abstract: The changing demographics of many communities has created a need for individuals and agencies to understand the many cultures represented by Hispanics in the United States. Advanced college-level students of Spanish experienced U.S. Hispanic cultures first hand, through participation in a community-based experiential course with a service-learning option. Results of a qualitative study indicate that subjects enrolled in the course formed positive and accepting attitudes toward Spanish speakers and their cultures, regarded their cultural experiences as worthwhile, and found a sense of fulfillment through contacts with native speakers of Spanish in the community. There was also evidence of a strong link between participation in service-learning activities and academic achievement in Spanish.