Category: High School Spanish
And you thought that Christmas and Navidad were basically the same thing!
A large majority of the Spanish-speaking population around the world celebrates Navidad (in lieu of Hanukkah or Kwanzaa) – but for many it is a very different celebration that what you might expect. It turns out that your Christmas traditions might be more culture-specific than you think!
Certainly there are other variations in Christmas traditions between North Americans and Central & South Americans, but in this post we will discuss 3 big ones:
Christmas Tradition #1: Las Posadas
Las Posadas is a 9-day tradition (remembering 9 months of pregnancy) that remembers and reenacts that night in Bethlehem when Mary and Joseph were looking for a place to stay and there was no room for them anywhere in town except that humble stable. Una Posada is an inn or lodge in Spanish. And if you’re pidiendo posada, you’re looking … Read More »
Our online Spanish tutors are ready to work with you!
Common Ground International has recently invested in an online Spanish tutoring system to provide extra contact time with professional Spanish instructors from Central America.
The benefits are obvious:
You don’t need to drive anywhere
No one has to come into your home
You can schedule your sessions when they fit your schedule
You can log in from your computer, smartphone, or tablet
All of our tutors have worked with Common Ground International in the past – some of them even teach at our Spanish Immersion Programs in Costa Rica
Common Ground makes sure that our tutors are familiar with the latest trends and teaching methodologies and curricular goals for Spanish students
It’s very difficult to find a high quality Spanish tutor for $20/hr in a live session. Part of the reason we started this service is that we … Read More »
Two easy tips for how to study Spanish!
Almost all Spanish tests, when you break them down to their most basic components, are a combination of vocabulary and grammar.
If you can make sure that you know well and can confidently use the vocabulary and grammar that will be covered on the test, you will probably end up with a good grade on your test. Here are a couple of tips that teach you how to study Spanish:
Tip 1: Study your vocabulary from Spanish to English and from English to Spanish.
Don’t lose easy points because you can’t recall or produce the vocabulary that you’re responsible for. The mistake that many students make is only studying their vocabulary words from Spanish to English – or – from English to Spanish, and not studying the terms in both directions. The direction in which you … Read More »
Need some interesting, relevant Spanish class presentation topics? Let us help you get started with unas ideas:
Common Slang Expressions
Every day you say things that don’t translate well, they are the things that come out totally wrong when you run them through Google Translate or another online translation tool. ”Sick” and “Phat” might be two examples that most people over 30 never say and probably don’t even quite understand. Get into a Wordreference forum and you can see what professional translators are saying about your favorite expression. Many times they will even specify where they are from and how to say that expression in their part of the world.
Spain’s perceived linguistic superiority over Spanish in the Americas
Most people you speak to here in the USA and throughout Central and South America perceive the Spanish from Spain to be “better” than … Read More »
Day of the Dead: A Tradition of Celebrating Deceased Loved Ones
The Day of the Dead (celebrated Oct. 31 – Nov. 2) is one of the most colorful and meaningful Mexican & Central American traditions. It’s an opportunity for people to honor and celebrate the lives of their deceased loved ones, and comes laden with traditions of altars, offerings, food, flowers, and rituals. It’s a meaningful way to remember loved ones, but it’s certainly not all solemn and serious…
Take a look at how the Day of the Dead has appeared in pop culture in recent years:
“Day of the Dead”
This is a song by the Cuban-American singer/songwriter Voltaire, in which he sings as a U.S. tourist who goes to Mexico and has a fright on the Day of the Dead…
“Día de los Muertos”
The Spanish version of the same song with a twist, … Read More »
I’m going to study abroad in Latin America! What now?
Once you’ve made the decision to study abroad, what you do in the months leading up to your departure can make a huge difference in the kind of experience you have. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your program:
1. Learn about the country.
Who is the President? What are the major industries? Who are the most celebrated artists, atheletes, and leaders? What are the education and healthcare systems like? What has the country’s relationship with the United States been like historically? What’s in the news today?
Start looking for the answers to these questions, and not only will you have some insight into the place you’re going, but you’ll have a context in which to process your experience — and something to talk to the locals … Read More »
Formal Spanish Greetings- Getting Started
Whether you’re traveling to Costa Rica with us this summer or working with Latinos in your own community, properly greeting and conversing with the people you meet is crucial to getting off on the right foot. We’ve talked about the importance of greetings in Latin culture, but it’s also important to use an appropriate Spanish greeting based on the context and who you’re talking to.
Last month we talked about informal greetings and small talk, but here are some tips for making conversation in more formal contexts:
When you walk into the room
Buenos días Good morning
Buenas tardes Good afternoon
Buenas noches Good evening/night
These may seem basic, but they’re always appropriate. They can be used to politely greet one person or a room full of people. Also, when calling someone on the phone, it’s polite to use one of these … Read More »
Informal Spanish greetings
If you’re traveling to Costa Rica with Common Ground this spring or summer, you’ll be greeted a lot of different ways by Ticos (Costa Ricans). Greeting people is extremely important in Latin culture – you’ll do it dozens of times a day – so you’ll want to diversify your repertoire. Here’s some help for getting beyond just an awkward hola and learning some great informal Spanish greetings:
While walking down the street:
Buenas is the shortened version of buenos días, buenas tardes or buenas noches – it works anytime, and frees you from having to think about what time of day it is! This is a great basic for informal Spanish greetings.
The use of adiós as a greeting can be baffling. It’s most common when you’re walking down the street and aren’t going to … Read More »
What’s in store for High School Spanish students who stick with the language…stay on that path bilingual students!
Start studying Spanish in high school – and stick with it – and you’ll have an edge that will last a lifetime. Here’s a little taste of the advantages that aspiring bilingual students will encounter, in the order they’ll come his or her way:
1. Scholarship opportunities
You don’t have to be a native speaker to earn college scholarship money for your language skills. In fact, you don’t even have to know where you’re going to college yet! Your high school may have a chapter of the Spanish National Honor Society, a Spanish Club, or other organizations that awards scholarships to graduating Spanish students.
2. Better study abroad options in college
College study abroad is a life-changing experience for most, and certainly an excellent way to solidify … Read More »
Let’s Talk About el Día de los Reyes!
Have you ever wondered why there are “Twelve Days of Christmas“? Well, Biblical interpretations and Christmas traditions have changed over the centuries across various regions and sects of Christianity, but the 12 days are generally taken to represent the time it took the Three Wise Men (Magi) to get to Bethlehem bearing gifts for baby Jesus. The 12 days begin on Christmas Day and end on January 5th, followed by el Día de los Reyes.
January 6th – the actual last day of the Christmas season – is called el Día de los Reyes or el Día de los Tres Reyes in Latin America (Three Kings Day, also known as Epiphany or Twelfth Night). El Día de los Reyes is considered to be the anniversary of the day that the Three Wise Men arrived … Read More »