Spanish language in focus (Issue 25, 2010)


Congress officials, Mr Luis Arias, Mr Jose Rodriguez, Mr Jesli Lapus and Mr Alberto Romulo

The inaugural Congress on Spanish as a Foreign Language in the Asia-Pacific Region (CE/LEAP) took place at the Instituto Cervantes in Ermita, Manila, at the end of last year. Dr Ana Maria Ducasse, Program Coordinator and Lecturer in the La Trobe Spanish Department was the Australian representative on the organising committee.

Over the course of a weekend – through workshops, talks and presentations, scholars from Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines analysed the curriculum of Spanish as a foreign language in order to create a uniform framework for teaching it.

‘This congress marks the first time Asia Pacific’s foremost scholars and experts in Spanish language gathered to discuss the state of Spanish as a second and foreign language on international level,’ says the Instituto Cervantes Director, Mr Jose Rodriguez.

The increasing number of people learning Spanish in the Asia-Pacific region gives evidence to the fact that being able to speak Spanish is not only required for easier co-existence in a modern multi-lingual society, but it is also very much needed in order to help break down the barriers in the business and commercial worlds.

‘The congress established a previously non-existent supportive professional network across the Asia Pacific. As Australian educators we have many years’ experience working with speakers from diverse Asian backgrounds. As a representative from the La Trobe Spanish Program my English as a Second Language teaching and testing background enabled me to offer invaluable insights at the inaugural CE/LEAP which focussed on the teaching of Spanish in the Asia Pacific. Our participation strengthened the ties La Trobe already has in the Philippines through the Philippines Australia Studies Centre and the partnership with Ateneo de Manila University,’ commented Dr Ducasse.

La Trobe University has taken a particular interest in promoting the teaching of Spanish language. The University recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Education of Spain, engaging to promote the use of Spanish language and research programs in Victoria. The University will also be a supporting partner of one of the most prestigious Spanish film festivals in Australia, La Mirada Film Festival.

As part of the Spanish Program, La Trobe offers subjects ranging from Spanish, Catalan and Portuguese language, as well as electives focusing on socio-cultural or literary topics.