The international experience is so important for young people today. Living abroad not only helps with language skills but it also results in more open-minded thinking.

Manuel Delgado

After 24 years at Bucknell, Professor Manuel Delgado, Spanish, has no thought of retiring. "Why?" he says. "Because I love teaching!" His joy in his profession is obvious as he describes the classes he teaches and the Bucknell en España program he co-founded years ago and continues to direct today.

The Bucknell en España Program is a chance for students to experience Spanish culture firsthand, he says. Each year, 40 students get the opportunity to study in Granada, Spain, where they live with local families, take classes at the Centro de Lenguas Modernas, Universidad de Granada, and immerse themselves in the language and culture.

"The international experience is so important for young people today," Delgado explains. "Living abroad not only helps with language skills but it also results in more open-minded thinking. Every year I am impressed by how profoundly the experience changes the students. They are different people when they come home."

On campus, Delgado teaches a wide range of classes that explore Spanish culture and include the works of Cervantes, Dali, Velázquez, García Lorca and Buñuel. He points out that even as his students are reading and analyzing texts that were, in some cases, written centuries ago, the lessons they contain apply to life today. For instance, he says, the concepts of freedom and justice as expressed in Don Quijote de la Mancha can easily be applied to how ethics are approached in any profession today. It is the life lessons that are most important, he says.

Delgado's students read complex plays and novels in their original Spanish and then analyze and write about them in Spanish too. This approach not only helps with the language itself but also requires students to apply critical thinking, a skill they will need for any future profession. "I expect them to write a lot because it is something that will be expected of them throughout their lives," he says.

Delgado also has his students explore drama through acting and roleplaying. "When students are acting they are really interacting-moving and living in the moment," he says. "This brings language and culture to life and gives them the experience of performing in front of a group."

Posted September 6, 2013

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