by Militza Urdaneta, Upper School Spanish Teacher
In a language program, the cultural aspect has a great importance. We, the Spanish teachers, hope the living experience that students have in another language opens many windows to new worlds and the understanding of diversity. Last Friday, we ran a culinary experience by cooking Venezuelan Arepas in the Spanish II and III honors classes. The Arepa name comes from an indigenous word "Erepa" which means corn.
For the Venezuelans, the Arepa represents a connection with family and friends around the world. As a Spanish teacher, I wanted the students to experience the process of making the bread and also experience its flavors. They had the opportunity to make from scratch a very typical corn bread (polenta-like or a puffy tortilla) that is part of the Venezuelan table. Following a simple recipe, the students made the dough, shaped it to be round, and grilled around 200 Arepas which were tasted by almost all of the BWS community. It was amazing how my students enjoyed their experience. Their faces were sparked by their smiles and happiness, and they were motivated and actively engaged in this hands-on language activity. Finally, I end this little note in saying that "to learn a language and its culture entails being submerged in the target language and making sense of it through lived experiences".