Comunidades #4-Casi Divas

La película

Activity Description

I watched a movie called Casi Divas, meaning Road to Fame exemplifies four women from the corners of Mexico seeking to be the next movie star. When the current "It Girl", Eva, has a mental breakdown and ruins the relationship between  her and the producer, Alejandro, when he claims she is too old for her part as "Maria Enamorada".  Many amateur actresses dream of being the next star coming from all over Mexico with a variety of backgrounds. He then establishes a nationwide talent search to find the next big thing. However, his girlfriend is rumored to get the part by default. These women suffer from many hardships and do almost anything to get a chance to become famous. 

What did you learn about the Spanish language/Hispanic culture from this activity?

I learned that the desire for stardom is not that different from America's various celebrities vying for attention. The typical shoe-in for a role of young heroine would be Yesenia from Mexico City born for the camera which says Hispanic viewers enjoy a flamboyant and determined role model to look up to. Also, I learned the acting industry in Mexico is extremely cutthroat where loyalties don't matter. Some resort to blackmail, bribery, and seduction to gain the role.  Still, the other girls auditioning for the role were friendly towards each other despite the fact they all wanted a role only attainable for one actress.  

What can you take from this experience that you can use in the future, personally or professionally?

I can use this movie as a cultural experience and when I converse with native Mexicans I can be educated on their cinema industry and discuss it with a semblance of understanding. Also, in my work environment I can learn to be courteous towards my co-workers instead of pushing everyone around in order to get to the top like these girls did. In the future I will hopefully remember this movie when I need a refresher on the cultural aspect, along with making my actions different than some of these girls did when searching for professional success.

Comunidades #5-Summer Salad Days

El podcast setenta y seis

Activity Description

This podcast was about the food etiquette and educational decisions for his growing son in Spain and how the recent weather has changed the temperament of many. The narrator, Ben, explains some Spaniards are experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), but now they're all cooped up inside during a sweltering May afternoon. With economic conformity in Spain becoming prevalent, local shops are having a hard time staying afloat. Especially since Spain has been having such terrible weather tourists and locals alike have stayed away.  Also, since Ben is British he talks about his culture shock in Spain even though he has lived here with his wife for over twelve years.

What did you learn about the Spanish language/Hispanic culture from this activity?

I learned that the Spanish culture all gathers around a huge salad in the middle of the table when dining for meals. Then instead of piling it on one's own plate, everyone reaches over every so often and grabs a bite with their fork. Ben is uncomfortable with this and I can relate because I wouldn't want a communal bowl of salad either even if it was just my family. Ben's family is growing and I learned that there are three types of schools his son could attend: public, concertado meaning it's private with some supplemental state funding, and the private schooling systems. However, it's shocking that many of these schools are built by six-lane highways, so the playgrounds aren't the beautiful, lush ones you see in Great Britain and America. This information has really opened my eyes to the daily lives of the Spanish people.   

What can you take from this experience that you can use in the future, personally or professionally?

I can personally take away from this experience how to navigate the education system because I have a real interest in living in Spain or country overseas one day. Coincidentally, my Uncle lives in Cataluña, so when I visit him and his family I will know to dip my fork in the salad bowl rather than take a portion for myself. This can be very valuable in the work environment as well because if I travel to Spain for business I can impress my colleagues with my knowledge of their culture and eating habits. This way in the future I will not only know of the culture, but I can look for local shops to shop in when I travel to Spain in order to keep the local trade alive.  

Comunidades #6-Sangría

Una restaurante

Activity Description

I went to the Mediterranean Tapas and Bar called Sangría and this restaurant depicted the many flavors and dishes of Spain and its surrounding countries. I had the seared scallops with parsnip mash potatoes and Veracruzana sauce which was my favorite dish of the night because they had various small appetizer dishes coming out at all times. Since "tapas" means appetizers I figured it was appropriate with the restaurant description and atmosphere. There was also a Hispanic band present singing all kinds of Spanish originating songs.

What did you learn about the Spanish language/Hispanic culture from this activity?

I learned that the Hispanic culture loves to douse all their meals in special sauces and they're usually very spicy like the Veracruzana sauce. The appetizers included chicken pintxo and shrimp croquettes with mojo verde. These dishes are so opposite from each other shape, size, and meat selection, but they both have a distinct spicy flavor which I've learned to always expect and joy when I eat Hispanic foods. Also, most of the waiters were fluent in Spanish, so I learned a bit about the language at this restaurant by listening to them speak. It was very difficult because they speak so quickly and with such ease. All of this added to the crazy Hispanic atmosphere that I know and love.

What can you take from this experience that you can use in the future, personally or professionally?

I can take away from this experience that a lot of Hispanic restaurants are usually similar because of the foods, wait staff, and overall environment. Especially the authentic ones like I attended because you're always trying new things which is something I can use in the future when trying new foods in Mexico or Spain. This way I will be brave enough to try the extra spicy dishes and impressive the natives with my acculturated tongue. Professionally, I hope to instill the same environment these restaurants have in my working career because they all have a good time, but still work hard in order to get their desired effect. In my personal life I can use this experience to not only try new things myself, but encourage my friends to eat the picante peppers like my waiter did. hese experiences will guide me to a more enriched life in the future.


What are two important things that you learned about the language/culture this year with Comunidades?

This second semester of Comunidades has helped me learn very interesting things about the Hispanic culture and the language likewise.

First off, I enjoyed listening to a podcast through an ex-pat's life, so I can get a feel for the culture through a familiar aspect. It was interesting to learn about the different food etiquette in Spain and how he had a difficult time adjusting to the customs. Also, his outlook on finding a good school program for his son really opens your eyes on the fact that every country educates the young generation in different and new ways. This was all in comparison to his life in Great Britain whose customs are not very similar, and helps show the diversity of Spain's people and their activities during their daily lives.  

Secondly, I loved experiencing a Hispanic atmosphere through my visit to Sangría because it strengthened my love for spicy foods, and conversing with my waiter helped improve my Spanish; he even taught me a few expressions for the everyday teen. However, when I overhear him speaking with his friends his conversation is much more loud and fast-speaking. I'm glad he encouraged me to talk even though a natural speaker is more versed than I am. I loved listening to live band and it was interesting to notice what music styles the Hispanic community was interested in as opposed to modern pop in America.

I loved learning about the Hispanic culture and having these experiences was so easy because I didn't have to fly all the way to Mexico or Spain. I'm glad these are a part of our curriculum and should be used in the future.   

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