Category Archives: My Spanish Space

October 12th

¡Hola a todos los que nos leen!

On this occasion I’m writing to show you how Argentinian people spend October 12th which was formerly known as “Día de la Raza” (Race Day; Columbus Day).


Since November 3rd, 2010 by the presidential decree 1584/2010 signed by the former president, Argentinians celebrate October 12th as the day of “Respect towards Cultural Diversity.” Argentinian government, reached that decision after considering and reflecting upon the human rights expressed in our national Constitution.

Before, October 12th,  commemorated Columbus “discovery of America” in 1492 which later resulted in the famous Encuentro de Dos Mundos and provoked  a drastic change in the world economics and America’s demography. Numerous lives changed and many cultural practices disappeared.

Nowadays, commemorating the day of Respect towards Cultural Diversity, Argentinians are looking to promote from all the public social institutions the reflection upon our history, encouraging the dissemination of Human Rights specially among the few Indigenous people, as stated in our Constitution, about equality and granting respect towards identity and the right to a bilingual and intercultural education.

It is a day to remember, reflect and work on the well being of all cultures and specially to increase tolerance towards diversity. Argentina has done its bit, and hopefully, it can encourage many other countries to do so as well and maybe in a not so distant future make a better world.

¡Buenas noches!

PS: Enjoy and reflect upon the following video and song of “Calle 13”.





“Mafalda” is a famous and witty Argentinian comic that deals with issues about the society, education, politics, family life among other topics of general interest.

Over the years, the little black haired girl who doesn’t like soup and dreams with an ideal world has reached the hearts of many people around the world.

Image result for mafalda y la sopa

(Translation: “Soup is to childhood, what consumerism is to democracy!”)

Image result for mafalda y la sopa

(Translation: “It may be sad Raquel, but in moments like this one ‘MAMÁ’ is just a pseudonym “)

But who is the master mind behind Mafalda? That is  Joaquín Salvador Lavado Tejón, better known as QUINO. He was born and raised in Mendoza Argentina and currently lives in Guaymallén (a city in the province of Mendoza). At the age of 84, he’s celebrating Mafalda’s 52nd anniversary.

Image result for primera aparicion de mafalda

September 29th, 1964. Mafalda’s first appearance.

Image result for mafalda y quino

Here we see Quino and Mafalda in San Telmo, Buenos Aires.

However, Mafalda is not alone. Her father, Quino, gave her a family and a bunch of friends to play and share her innocent and witty perspectives of the world:

-Felipe: a 7 years old boy who loves crosswords and the Lone Ranger but hates school, getting up early and doing homework.

Image result for llanero solitario en ingles mafalda y felipe


-Manolito: a 6 years old boy who loves money and Rockerfeller and hates the Beatles, discounts, and hippies.

Image result for Mafalda y manolit

-Susanita: a 6 years old girl who loves marriage, the idea of having children, and maybe Felipe. She hates divorce, poor people, and uncomfortable ideas.

Image result for Mafalda y susanita

-LIBERTAD: (FREEDOM) is a little girl older than she looks. She loves revolution and culture, but she hates complicated people, why can’t everyone be simple and honest?

Image result for Mafalda y libertad

-Guille: he is a baby and Mafalda’s little brother. He loves writing on the walls and having his pacifier on the rocks.

Image result for Mafalda y guille

-Miguelito: is a 5 years old  boy. He loves abstract, useless speeches, and jazz.Image result for mafalda y miguelito

-Mafalda’s parents: Her mother mamá or Raquel and her father papá love each other  deeply and love their children. They hate cooking anything but soup and the cost of life.

Image result for mafalda y sus padres

I hope you enjoy Mafalda’s ideas as much as I do. She dreams with an ideal world and if we work together it is not just a utopia.  Let’s be more like this curious, innocent, lively, rebellious, and highly ironic girl.

Have a nice weekend!


Image result for Mafalda si a l a vida



Noche de Cine

Hello everyone,

Don’t miss our first movie night of the new year tonight, 2/19 at 7:30 in the World Languages Studio in Ford 101!

We will be showing Son of the Bride (El Hijo de la Novia), an award winning Argentinean film, and there will be subtitles and popcorn!

We hope to see you there!

Getting to know your Language Assistants even better!

May you walk in beauty

By frojasga on Oct 2, 2014 in MexicoUSEdit


I was born in El Sauce, Michoacán, México. This is a small ranch five kilometers north of Cotija. The readers of this short piece may be aware that the country of Mexico is composed of 31 states and one federal entity, known as El Distrito Federal (Federal District) also known as la Ciudad de México. The Mexican state from whence more immigrants have come to the USA is Chihuahua; number two on that list is Michoacán. A poor economy is the primary reason for immigration from one country to another practically anywhere on planet earth. Mexico is a very mountainous, arid, land. Only 7% of the country is considered fertile. The state of Nebraska alone produces more corn than the country of Mexico. Illinois and Iowa in that order produce more corn than the Cornhusker state. Granted, not all the crop is utilized or grown for human consumption (cattle feed and gasoline additives). Wealth and power in México is controlled by the elite, roughly 2% of the population. We are speaking about a country of 110 million individuals. The disparity between wealthy and poor is simply astounding.

In March of 1974 when my family and I crossed the U.S.-Mexican border and came to live in Parkdale, Oregon. I was a little over two years old at this time. I grew up in Hood River and Wasco Counties of Oregon. Some may say I am an anomaly, as I maintained my mother tongue as I acculturated to life in the U.S. Historically, most immigrants become English dominant or monolingual during the second or third generation. The pressure of society for newcomers to learn and speak only English has lessened in most urban areas in the last ten years, in my estimation. In fact, I have witnessed a tidal wave of young people engage in the active and eager participation of learning a second (or more) language. In rural areas, the immigrant communities, especially the children, are strongly “encouraged” to speak English and to not speak their first language. Children are not fools. They will do what it takes to be accepted by those around them. It takes a persistent soul to maintain two or more languages in the face of adversity. It is fairly rare for individuals to maintain their first language given that the k-12 educational system has focused its instruction in English. Simply speaking one language does not signify that a person has a high degree of mastery. Study is what it takes to improve one’s language skills. This is a process of life-long work if the participant cares to undertake the challenge.

I look forward to meeting more students, faculty and staff at Willamette University. I am thrilled to be a part of the World Languages Studio as a new Spanish Language Assistant.

May you walk in beauty (Navajo saying),

Fernando Rojas-Galván


Willamette University

Hola Willamette

By mtorres on Oct 2, 2014 in Argentina

Hi everybody! this is Matias Torres and I am the Spanish language assistant this year at Willamette thanks to the Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant program and  Willamette University. First I am going to tell you a little bit about myself. I am 29 years old and I am originally an English teacher in Argentina. I work at four different places there. I teach English language and literature in English in two bilingual high schools and I also teach two classes (English Language II and Children and Young Adult Literature) at a Teacher Training College. I also teach business English and I am the interpreter and translator at a company that produces and exports grape juice concentrates.

Even though I got my teaching degree in 2009 I have been teaching for 9 years now and last year I decided that I was going to apply for a scholarship to teach and study abroad. The process was not easy at all but it was worth the effort! Only 23 teachers out of 80 were selected to participate in the program and I was very lucky to be selected by Willamette to be a language assistant here.

In Argentina, I live in a province called Mendoza, which is located in the Midwest of Argentina. Mendoza is a very famous province for the wine production, So much so that some years ago it became the eighth Wine Capital total of the world! Here is a video that you can see to get to know little bit more about what wine represents to Mendoza.

Mendoza Capital Mundial del Vino

As regards traveling abroad, this is my second time in the US. The first time I was living in Wyoming for five months on another exchange program in 2007. After we finished with the program I traveled with my friends to many parts of the United States. That trip really marked my life since I developed a taste for traveling. After that, I have been to some countries in Latin America and to a couple more in Europe as well.

I am really happy to be here and I hope I can help as many people as possible! Hope to see you around!

Who am I?

I grew up in a town that is fourteen thousand feet above sea level. The place is called, Potosi, located in Bolivia, South America. Somebody once said Potosi is “the Tibet of the Americas.” The city, which is cold all year round, is the opposite of the Amazon (temperature wise and altitude) – also in Bolivia. Potosi is the place were I started my academic career; from elementary to high school. As soon I finished high school, I moved to Cochabamba, to continue my education. The University of San Simon there become my Alma Matter, there I studied economics. In 1997 I moved to Germany where I studied the language (German) and experienced the culture for more than two years. In 2000 I arrived in the United States, at that time I did not know any English, so I took one semester of intensive English class at Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois and followed two years of general education classes at the same institution. By 2004, I transferred to Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois, where, in 2006, I graduated with Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Languages. In 2008 – 2009 I attended the Masters in Spanish Program at the University of Oregon, and currently I am an MBA student at Texas A&M University.
Growing up, studying economics, and working in Bolivia; traveling to some Latin American, Asian, and European countries, being in Germany for two years, and currently living and studying in the United States make me a walking example of cultural interaction who wants to share and transmit his experiences.