La Diada de Sant Jordi is Spanish for Valentine’s Day, which is celebrated on 23 April. This was part of the Spanish Week, which was organised by the Centre for Foreign Languages and Cultures and the UIC Spanish Club.

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Members of the Spainsh Club selling roses

Spanish Week is held annually and it allows students and staff to explore and get a real feel of Spain via activities, food, music and culture. The first day was Valentine’s Day as it is celebrated on a different day in Catalonia, which is located in the northeastern region of Spain. In order to allow people to have a better involvement, the Spanish Club made arrangements so that people who wanted to express their love and gratitude to the people most important to them could come and buy a rose from the Spanish Club.

Fans of ‘Le Petit Prince’ (The Little Prince) by Antoine de Saint-Exupery and novices alike turned up to the Learning Resource Centre (LRC) to witness the ‘Le Petit Prince’ Book Exhibition. This all took place during the lunch hour on the 23 April, which is also known as International Book Day.

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The Little Prince exhibition

The private collection belongs to Spanish Senior Lecturer at the Centre of Foreign Languages and Cultures, Ms Roser Cervera. Since 1986, she has accumulated over 400 copies of ‘Le Petit Prince’ in different languages.

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Many people came to the reading session

A reading of specific passages of ‘Le Petit Prince’ in different languages had been arranged during the exhibition. Ms Cervera was joined by UIC’s Deputy College Librarian, Ms Fung Ying Cham, who also helped arranged and organise this exhibition, to welcome everyone. Different languages could be heard ranging from Spanish to Arabic, as well as more familiar local dialects such as Chaoshan and Hakka. Overall, there were 30 different parts of the book read in various languages and dialects, which got a positive reception.

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Different speakers taking turns to read passages from the book in their own language or dialect

Ms Cham was very pleased with the exhibition and the reading session, "To celebrate the diversity of UIC community and to unite our voices through reading".

Ms Cervera explained how they did not have time last year to find enough colleagues that speak different Chinese dialects. Ms Cervera explained that “We hope that next year we can have more Chinese dialects represented and many more foreign languages so we can share each other’s culture in harmony.” She continued “With the theme of Le Petit Prince: the importance of looking beneath the surface to find the real truth and meaning of things. The fox teaches The Little Prince to see with one’s heart rather than with one’s eyes. Unfortunately as adults, we have lost that childhood skill of inquisitiveness as the key to understanding and happiness!”

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(from left) Ms Cham and Ms Cervera

On 25 April, there was a Spanish Exhibition and Spanish food festival.Members of the Spanish club set up tables with items that you would find in Spain, as well as offering some Spanish branded snacks for people to enjoy.

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Some of the snacks being offered

Year 2 ATS student, Fan Anqi, has been a member of the Spanish club since starting UIC and has even travelled to Spain. When asked why she was part of the Spanish club, she responded “I really like the Spanish language and the way it sounds.” She continued “I hope this exhibition will encourage more people to join the Spanish club as we are looking to expand. UIC has a club competition, and a couple of years ago, the Spanish club won. I want to keep the Spanish club going”.

Year 1 ELLS student, Li Zhaoyu, is a new member in the Spanish club, as she is passionate to study Spanish. “I hope the exhibition is interesting and allows for people to understand the different culture.”

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Members of the Spanish Club with part of their exhibition

Students gave a presentation about Spain’s diverse cuisine and drinks. DCC Assistant Professor, Mr Miguel Elizalde, was the guest speaker who introduced some regional curiosities about the northern region of Spain. The audience enjoyed learning about the different culture and the curiosities from one of the world’s most famous tourist destinations. Afterwards, the students were shown how to complete their Spanish experience by being taught how to make “Pà amb tomaquet” (tomato bread), which is a typical Catalan cuisine.

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Mr Miguel Elizalde talking about the northern region of Spain

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Students are shown how to make Spainsh cuisine

On 27 April, the Spanish club held a film screening of ‘Mirage’ and ‘Coco’.‘Mirage’ is about how a disturbance between two different time periods causes a worrying butterfly effect. As a result of this event, a happily married mother, has the opportunity to save the life of a boy who lived in her house 25 years prior. The film ‘Coco’ is an animation about a young boy who dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol. Desperate to prove his talent, the young boy finds himself in the stunning and colourful Land of the Dead.

The support that was clearly shown amongst the Spanish club, faculty members and students resulted in a successful Spanish Week.

Reporter: Samuel Burgess
Photographers: Samuel Bugess, Roser Cervera
Editors: Deen He, Marissa Furney, Étienne Fermie
(from MPRO)