Café Hispano club attendees build natural conversation and participation skills to enhance their traditional Spanish course experiences.
Café Hispano is a language-learning café ran by Indiana University that encourages people who are learning Spanish to apply their skills in the weekly meetings. The meetings are led in Spanish with all skills levels welcomed.
Graduate student and director of Café Hispano for the 2022-23 school year Erika Sosa said that each meeting consists of casual conversations over a range of topics, such as the Day of the Dead and history. Some meetings may begin focused on one idea, but the format is very open-ended, allowing students the freedom to talk about whatever they want.
“This is a space that they can be themselves, make mistakes, and learn,” she said.
She said Café Hispano enables students to make connections and learn more about the Spanish culture that regular Spanish classes may not offer. It is an additional outlet outside of class for students to gain confidence in their speaking skills and learn more vocabulary.
Former student, academic advisor and lecturer at IU David Wren has been coming to the weekly meetings for over 20 years. He thinks Café Hispano gives students the opportunity to have real, two-way conversations that are not present in regular Spanish classes. As a former Spanish teacher, he has discovered that it is easier to draw conversations out of people without having to teach them something in the process; it is more relaxing that way.
“It’s a very good way to spend time,” he said. “It expands in a very, very fruitful way.”
He said Café Hispano is a healthy and educational way to learn to appreciate the language more and get extra practice.
IU sophomore Nicolas Pola said that Café Hispano allows him to apply the grammar and knowledge he learns in Spanish class to real-world scenarios. He said being in the club prioritizes communication and encourages people to have diverse discussions with each other.
“It will accommodate all levels of Spanish speaking to make sure that the communication is there,” he said. “It sets up a common basis for everyone.”
IU junior Carter Hayes said he prefers Café Hispano over ordinary Spanish classes because the extra speaking practice has prepared him for his next six months studying abroad in Chile. He also said it has improved the way he speaks Spanish.
“The free forum here gives you a lot more exposure, especially when you have instructors here who are from different parts of the Spanish speaking world,” he said.
Students interested in joining should contact Erika Sosa at email@example.com. Meetings are open to anyone and are on Mondays from 4:30-6 p.m. in the Spanish/Portuguese department in the Global and International Studies Building.