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.
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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nd77kB7Hvpo
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!
My name is Matias Torres and I am form Argentina. I will be the Spanish language assistant at Willamette this year. I am 29 years old and I am teacher of English language and culture. I live in a province called Mendoza which is very famous because it became a Great Wine Capital recently and also for the great steak you can eat there.
Even though I have lived in Mendoza all my life, I love traveling and I take advantage of every opportunity to do it when I can. I lived for five months in Wyoming in 2007 while I was on another interchange program and I got the chance to visit many states of the US. I have also been to some parts of Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Italy and Spain and some parts of Argentina as well.
I am very eager to answer all questions that you may have either on the Spanish language or on my culture. Soon I will be publishing my tutoring hours and the Spanish table schedule. You are more than welcome to stop by. I hope to see you around soon!
In order to let you know a little bit more about Mendoza, the city where I come from, I decided to upload some pictures taken by the Instagram user @jedidiahjenkins. He’s on an epic journey called #OregontoPatagonia. He’s been cycling around the continent and I found it interesting that he actually started his journey here in Florence, Oregon! A couple of weeks ago he stopped by my province and he took the last three pictures you will see below. I’ve been following since last November and I recommend you following him if you are an Instagram user as well.
The other pictures and the video as well are part from a campaign that Mendoza’s government is doing to help Mendoza become one of the 7 Wonderful Cities of the World (currently it is in the top 21!). So if you want to help my city win, go to http://www.mendozamaravillosa.com/ !!!
My name is Ivan Miranda; I am originally from Bolivia, South America. Prior to residing in Oregon, I lived in Illinois where I got my Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Languages. In Bolivia I earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics, and here in Oregon I taught Spanish at the University of Oregon for two years while doing my Masters in Spanish. Currently, I’m taking MBA classes, this is my second year!
In Bolivia I used to own an FM Radio Station where I took my first steps in the practical business world. Currently, I work as a Spanish/English Medical Interpreter (part time) and teach Spanish privately to business owners, administrators, attorneys, and health professionals.
I love to travel; I visited many states and cities in the U.S. and many countries in Europe (I lived in Germany for two years). During my academic breaks in Germany I visited south India, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives Islands. In South America I visited Uruguay and Brazil (many times), and in Bolivia I traveled almost everywhere.
In my free time I play soccer, tennis, and chess. I also enjoy biking, hiking, dancing, and swimming.
I hope we are going to have a very productive and rewarding academic year!!
My name is Luisa Fernanda Grajales and I’m the new Spanish language teaching assistant here at Willamette. I’m Colombian, born and raised in Medellín. By the way, Medellín is the second largest city in Colombia with an estimated 3.5 million people. It is located in the central mountain range of the Andes and it is the capital of Antioquia’s department. Here are some pictures!
I’m a Fulbright scholar and I will be here for a whole year. I really hope to share some of my culture, my customs, and my knowledge of the Spanish language with you. I truly want, at the end of this year, to go back home with a greater understanding of American people and culture. In addition to this, I would love to learn about all the different cultural groups gathered here at Willamette. So, if you see me around the university, just come and say ¡HOLA!
In the following video you can get a glimpse of my beautiful city!
The end of the semester is approaching and you must be busy with exams and assignments, but we’d like to invite you to the last movie night of the academic year. This time you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy an Argentine film which will show you a different and interesting aspect of the Argentine culture. Come and enjoy, food and drinks will be offered too!