In the past month, every Tuesday, I led weekly Business Spanish Workshops at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.
The idea started a little over a year ago when Brandon Ball founded the Black, Hispanic, and Indian Association (BHIA) student group and reached out to me in effort to connect current Carey students with Leadership Development Program (LDP) alumni. I joined Brandon as Co-President with the one request that I start the Business Spanish series as a club offering—free of charge—to all students. The goal was to align the group’s activities with the school’s pillars of disseminating knowledge and preparing future business leaders by creating a platform for all to learn and practice Spanish.
What makes the sessions really fascinating is that staff, alumni, and students are all involved. Sarah Holmquist, an Administrative Coordinator at Carey and an independent Spanish instructor, co-leads the sessions. Students organize group activities and practice their Spanish during the day. David Vallejo Moreno, a student in the Global MBA program, is a native speaker and available for students to practice with him between classes. Students are brilliant, engaged, and come from all parts of the world—Cameroon, India, China, Colombia, and the U.S. to name a few places—to improve their skills in what is the second most spoken language in the world. We provide a mix of easy-to-use conversation tools, some grammar to help structure command of the language, and accessible online resources.
One of our students, Yannick Detchou, recently interviewed for a position at the Inter-American Development Bank. He told me that during the interview he was tested on his Spanish skills, and not surprisingly, he did well. He said he received good feedback and felt confident. We are very proud of him and are pleased to know that the sessions are working in a meaningful way. His story underscores the importance of knowing multiple languages to remain competitive in today’s job market.
I can relate to Yannick, since I too was tested on Spanish, both oral and written, during my job interview at Johns Hopkins Medicine International (JHI). In my current position as an Associate at JHI, I work with clients from Latin America, and I am constantly communicating with them to understand their needs, run meetings, and provide quality service—in Spanish.
We have recently opened the Spanish Workshop at Carey through Adobe Connect for anyone at Hopkins interested in connecting remotely. The group meets every Tuesday from 5:00 PM to 5:45 PM at the Harbor East Campus in room 203A/B. If you would like to connect remotely, please do so through the Adobe Connect Business Spanish Workshops link.