Learning a new language means encountering a new culture. It entails the possibility of approaching, knowing, and comparing other people’s cultural keys and values. Language not only reflects but, through its use, it is also capable of transmitting those cultural components.
For the migrant population learning the native language in the host country is of utmost importance to achieve greater autonomy in their social interactions, and to decide, more freely, the degree and depth of their inclusion in the host society. However, this process of learning and acquiring a certain communicative competence can be a frustrating experience due to the multiple conditions faced by this group. When illiteracy is added to the unfamiliarity of the language, a series of difficulties arise for both the teaching team and the learners, who must make an extra effort to activate various resources and, especially, the memory.
At the Abrazando Ilusiones Foundation we believe that teaching Spanish to this social group requires a clear attitude of commitment, since the ultimate objective is not to compensate for deficiencies, but to contribute to a social transformation based on solidarity and equal opportunities. Therefore, understanding the language as an instrument for dialogue, agreement, and cooperation between individuals, we actively seek new strategies, methodologies, and resources to apply to the specificity of our Spanish students (all of them awarded by the foundation with scholarships that cover 100% of the cost of the course).
There are multiple courses that the foundation has offered since its beginning in this area and the project Con Ñ de Sueño is currently in the implementation phase, which includes two Spanish courses for the migrant population (separated according to the level of proficiency in Spanish) in order to equip students with fundamental communication tools and enhance their sociolinguistic and intercultural skills, thus helping to pave their way towards a future full of dreams.
Translator’s Note: in Spanish, the word ‘sueño’ means ‘dream’.