Community-based LearningSpanish

Spanish faculty at Gustavus Adolphus College believe it is important to apply learning to real world situations. For this reason, a focus on Community-based Learning has been emerging in our courses. Some expressions of Community-based learning we apply are: volunteering, community service, service-learning, internships and other forms of community engagement. Our students are encouraged to connect what they learn in the classroom with the outside world.

A recent survey revealed that employers prefer graduates who have had experience working with the community over those who haven’t.

As a liberal arts college we educate our students in a holistic manner, focusing on individuals and how they fit into larger communities.

Student Views

Annabel Landaverde

"Throughout the years I've made sure to participate in community outreach, but I never expected it to intersect with my classes. A significant portion of my Spanish class this fall was dedicated to a community project that facilitated ongoing cultural exchanges between Spanish students and Saint Peter Latino families. This experience further shaped my identity as a Latina, but more importantly, it has reminded me that no matter where I am or where I decide to go, I will always be a bridge between Anglo and Latino communities." Annabel Landaverde, senior Political Science, LALACS and Peace Studies

Amanda Olson

“Having the opportunity to work with the St. Peter Latino community was one of the best experiences I have had at Gustavus because I was able to take my passion for language and culture outside of the classroom. I believe the experience in general helped to break stereotypes on both sides, and I am so excited to see what is to come with the Community Engagement programs in the future.” Amanda Olson, senior Biology and Spanish, minor in LALACS

Costa Rica

“A special part of the J-term in Costa Rica was the opportunity to work with elementary and middle school aged children for three days. This experience makes students stop and think about how they best learn, both in general and specifically when learning another language, and apply their thoughts to creating a lesson plan for their students. It was such an uplifting moment to see how the children’s faces lit up when they answered questions correctly, learned something new, or were able to play games. —Megan Lieser '12, Education

Costa Rica

“Though Spanish is not going to be my career, in my life, I would love to use the language to raise the voice of the immigrants. The Dream Act service project resembles what I would like to do after I graduate from Gustavus." —Laura Leland '13, Biology

Costa Rica

“The service learning activity with Niños de Papel was a memorable experience. We learned about the children in need in Colombia and they learned a lot about us. It was a good opportunity to speak with native speakers. I learned about the situation of many children in South America and now I am conscious of how I can help. I think they had fun learning about our lives at Gustavus. It was great to see another culture!" —Ross Larson '15

"One thing I think is supremely important is a study of real people--especially Latinos in the U.S. As important as all of my courses in history, language, and Literatures, what has served me most is the ability to understand, communicate with, and interact with everyday Mexicans in the US—immigrants of all stripes." —Jacki Christopher '03

Related Links

Other programs of interest

Big Partner Little Partner

Make sure you check the Center of Servant Leadership regularly for service learning and volunteer opportunities involving Spanish and Latino communities in the area!