Conversing, laughing, learning—this is what happens every Tuesday afternoon between 2 and 3 p.m. in the Schneider Hall Café. Mesa de español para negocios, meaning Spanish for business table, is an informal weekly meetup that brings together a group of students, faculty and staff to practice Spanish and enjoy conversations focusing on general business topics.
“The idea behind the mesa is to reach the business students at their own school and support whatever level of investment they have made already in learning Spanish,” says Dr. Irma López, professor and chair of the Department of Spanish. “It offers them an opportunity outside of the classroom to sharpen their Spanish language skills by reaffirming what they already know, by expanding on this knowledge and by speeding up their fluency. It also provides an occasion for them to learn more about the Hispanic culture, all at no cost to the student.”
According to the May 2013 edition of “The Economist,” approximately 51 million Latinos in America make more than 16 percent of the population. With around $1.2 trillion in spending power, Latinos are becoming more and more influential in the marketplace, meaning more advertising dollars are being spent to hit the growing demographic. “For any business student looking to get the jump on future opportunities, these figures should make them eager to avail themselves of this free service that is offered to them by Western,” says López. In today’s globalized business world, knowledge of other languages is becoming essential.
Whether students seek to improve listening skills, boost cognitive flexibility or increase awareness about the traditions and customs of other cultures, mesa de español para negocios offers beginners, intermediate and native speakers an opportunity to learn about and celebrate the language they study.
Mesa de español para negocios will resume Tuesday, Jan. 14. For more information on the table and how you can get involved, visit wmich.edu/spanish/academics/tutoring.html. Information on other campus foreign language tables can be found at www.wmich.edu/languages/.