As a Spanish minor, I have the opportunity to participate in a service learning program through one of my classes called Ayuda y Aprende. It literally translates to: “Help and Learning”. I’m about 8 weeks into the program now and have been visiting Klondike Middle School, a local West Lafayette middle school about 10 minutes away from my house. Every Tuesday afternoon, I go to the school for about an hour and a half and help students who speak Spanish with their homework. For 45 minutes I help with homework, and for another 45 I speak in Spanish to the student and talk about anything from sports to family to schoolwork. It’s a nice way to get some extra practice speaking Spanish—because what’s learning a language if you can’t communicate in it! Anyway, I really love this program. The kids I’ve met usually have come from Mexico, but there are some Chinese immigrants with whom I help to speak and read English. Some Mexican students have only been in the United States for a few months, and have been thrown into a school system that uses a completely different language from what they know. The kids are often shy about speaking English because they are afraid other kids will laugh at their poor English skills. The students that are in the program with me have made it a personal goal to eliminate the stigma that speaking poor English is bad, and to push the students who struggle to overcome their shyness to speak and practice their English-speaking ability. All of the kids that I’ve helped have actually been really capable of learning how to speak English very well. They just never try because it’s easier to speak Spanish and they don’t want to feel embarrassed when they speak English. The program has helped me practice my Spanish-speaking skills, and enabled me to help better the kids English-speaking skills. It’s a really awesome opportunity and many Purdue students take advantage of it, so if you ever get the chance, take SPAN301 SPAN302 and participate in Ayuda y Aprende!
— Patrick Davis, Movement & Sport Sciences