Spanish week was in full flight from 23 to 27 April. It kicked off with a Valentine’s Day celebration (La Diada de Sant Jordi) in the main entrance of the Learning Resource Centre (LRC) and the main entrance of T29-SSAC.

Members of the Spanish Club at UIC

In the northeastern region of Spain called Catalonia, they celebrate Valentine’s Day on 23 April. According to the legend, Saint George was a very brave cavalier who saved a princess from a dragon that was about to eat her. The blood coming out from the dragon became a rose, and that became the symbol of love from the cavalier to the princess. The expression is “A rose for love, a book forever” because the tradition in Catalonia is that men would send a rose to their beloved ones and women will offer them a book in return. Therefore, on 23 April, the Spanish club arranged so that people that want to express their love to their loved ones or their gratitude to their colleagues could come and buy a rose from the Spanish Club.

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The exhibition showed many elements of Spanish culture

There was also a ‘Games Festival’ where people could come and learn more about the different cultures of Spain, Spanish cuisine, and music. The Spanish Club had prepared fun games and food from Spain, as well as teaching visitors how to make their own rose.

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Spanish style snacks were on offer

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A mini football goal was set up

Year One Applied Translation Studies (ATS) student, Huang Qiaochu, explained why she liked being an activity planner for the Spanish club, “I like Spanish culture and I want to learn Spanish in the future.”

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Some expressions in Spanish were displayed for attendees to practice

An ‘Education sharing from students’ session was arranged with some students sharing their experiences from their time in Spain during their Summer Programme in one of the world’s top business schools, Escola Superior d'Administració i Direcció d'Empreses (ESADE).

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Anything that Spain was known for was on display at the exhibit

Another student that helped with the activities, Year One Applied Translation Studies (ATS) student, Chen Qitong, explained that “Last year I went travelling in Spain and I think it is very interesting so I joined this club.” She also added, “I love the food too!”

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UIC students attended the exhibit

‘Movie Night’ showcased ‘Una Mujer Fantastica’ (A Fantastic Woman), which is about two people, Marina, who is a young waitress and aspiring singer as well as her older lover, Orlando. The story follows as they plan for their future.

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There was a lot of interest with Spanish culture

“I have been interested in Spanish and been involved in Spanish related activities since high school. Then, during my time at UIC, I heard there was a Spanish club, so I joined,” said Year One Public Relations and Advertising (PRA) student, Li Xifei, when asked how long has she been interested in Spanish culture.

There was also an ‘Open lecture: Cooking culture’ held on 27 April. Students presented the ‘Cooking Culture of Spain’ and ‘Spanish Etiquette’. Students learnt about the cultural background of Spanish food, as well as the curiosities and history from one of the world’s most famous tourist destinations. They were taught by DHSS Senior Lecturer and Spanish native, Ms Roser Cervera, how to make a Pà amb tomaquet (tomato bread), which is a typical Catalan dish from the northeast of Spain.

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Ms Cervera showing the students how to make a traditional Spanish sandwich

Year Three Accounting student and Vice-President of the Spanish club, Chen Yuming, has been involved with the Spanish club for three years. Worried he may become trapped in a ‘fixed’ life, Yuming said “The main purpose was to experience another lifestyle and culture”. When asked about what interested him the most about Spain, Yuming explained that he likes the close relationship of the Spanish people. He really admires how the Spanish communicate with each other and thinks others can learn from this.

Year Three Management of Human Resource (MHR) student and President of the Spanish Club, Li Yannan, is a three year veteran of Spanish Club. Yannan explains how Ms Cervera offers the Spanish club support since she is Spanish. They learnt a lot about the culture and people from Ms Cervera. Yannan hopes that the Spanish club can attract a larger audience in the future when they do events or activities. She acknowledges that not everyone wants to learn Spanish but she believes that most will have an interest in the culture.

Yannan really wants to go travelling around Spain and hopes that when she has learnt enough about the culture she can join her friend who is in Mexico. “For a long time I have always wanted to go to Spain. I have a friend from China who I admire as she went to Mexico and learnt Spanish.”

Reporter: Samuel Burgess
Photographers: Samuel Burgess, Ben Wen
Editors: Deen He, Samantha Burns
(from MPRO, with thanks to ELC)