Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 25th 2017 Contents B4 life
guardian.co.tt Thursday, May 25, 2017
Latin Arts festival hosted for
Spanish language students
PETER RAY BLOOD
More than 400 students and their teachers
are expected to attend the 2017 edition of Vista
Latina, a Latin American arts and culture fes-
tival, hosted by Trini Tica International (TTI).
The festival, which takes place at the Lion's Cul-
tural Centre, Port-of-Spain, is in its second year
and event organiser Aleah Guitan said the response
by several secondary schools across T&T had been
Guitan is a lecturer at Arthur Lok Jack Graduate
Businesss in Mt Hope and she has been attached to
the main campus for the past three years. "I teach
Business Spanish to the students pursuing their
Masters degree," said Guitan.
Guitan has a Bachelors degree double major in
Spanish and Latin American Studies from UWI, St
She also has a Masters degree in Latin American
StuDies, with emphasis in culture and development
from Universidad Nacionale in Costa Rica, attained
She began TTI in 2013 when she returned home
from Costa Rica.
Vista Latina is Guitan's brainchild. She hosted the
festival for the first time last year, through her com-
pany TTI, as an opportunity for students studying
Spanish to gain further exposure to the language
and culture of some of T&T's Spanish speaking
Guitan receives no subsidy from the Ministry of
Education or government to produce Vista Latina.
She said: "This entire project is finances by Trini
Five embassies have agreed to participate in this
year's edition of Vista Latina: Cuba, Mexico, the
Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and El Salvador.
Last year, the participating embassies hosted talks
with the students about their respective countries.
During the day they would host short talks with the
students about their countries---discussing culture
Added attractions of Vista Latina include a Latin
dance workshop hosted by Nalini Akal of N9 Dance
company, and performances by the Ernesto Salsa
Band, a Latin music band originally from Venezuela.
A main feature of the day's activities is the Con-
versational Club where students have discussions
with facilitators in Spanish.
"The entire day is dedicated to immersing students
in Latin American culture and language to help im-
prove their appreciation and understanding of Span-
ish language and their Latin neighbours," said Guitan.
"When I conceived of this festival it was really to
help students improve their Spanish language skills.
I lived in Costa Rica for two years and that immersion
really helped my understanding and appreciation of
the people, the culture and lifestyle of Costa Rica
itself, and Latin America overall."
Guitan is a major advocate for establishing deep-
er ties between Latin America and T&T, noting the
immense potential for socio-economic partnerships
and overall national development.
She added: "We have a great deal to learn from and
to offer each other. With Vista Latina the opportunity
alone for students to spend the day immersed in Latin
culture, makes a big difference in appreciating the
language. Many of the schools attending this year,
came last year and I am happy that the students and
teachers found value in it."
This week Guitan said that she was overwhelmed
by Friday's event, especially with the response she
She said: "I have over 400 students and teachers
registered to attend from school across Trinidad.
Unfortunately there are no attendees from Tobago.
Winners of the Pan for Blue title, St Paul's Anglican Primary School. PHOTO: TONY HOWELL
"I am somewhat taken aback over there not
being any students from Tobago because when
I first started my business a school from Tobago,
Mason Hall Secondary, was my first client. They
did an exchange programme in Costa Rica with
me and was also the first school to host Cos-
ta Rican students at their school and homes.
Since then Bishop's Tobago has participated in
Vista Latina takes place on May 26 from 10
am to 4 pm at the Lion's Cultural Centre, Port-
of-Spain. Interested schools should contact
Aleah Guitan at 782-8422 or 751-6278, or via
email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Spanish lecturer Aleah Guitan
is the founder of Trini Tica
International, producer of
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