I am currently a student in Spanish 420 here at Kansas State University, which is a Spanish Conversation class. One requirement for taking this class is to have a native speaker of Spanish be your peer-buddy throughout the semester. I found my amazing buddy through the Go Teacher Program sponsored by K-State. This program allows dedicated English teachers from Ecuador to participate in a 9 month professional development program to become certified English teachers when they go back to Ecuador. The program focuses on the Go Teacher participant’s listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in English. In January 2013, the College of Education and Kansas State University excitedly welcomed 106 Go Teacher participants. One of which happens to be my peer-buddy, Isabel Sarango.
In my Spanish class, it is required that we meet for a minimum of 15 hours per semester and talk 30 minutes in English and 30 minutes in Spanish each time you meet. I have found that this is an amazing way to practice my Spanish. Isabel is 28 and has 2 of her own children at home. She studied to become an English teacher in Ecuador, but found that she wanted to do more. So, when she discovered the Go Teacher program sponsored by K-State, she knew she was destined to further her education to support her children. Isabel has inspired me to become a better Spanish speaker, and I am happy that I have gotten to know her.
We have many international students on campus at Kansas State, many of which do not have many American friends. If you befriend an international student, you will quickly see how amazing it is to learn about someone else’s culture, like I did with Isabel.