March 1, 2015: Past meets Present meets Future

Nelson Atkins KC with MA Taylor Jose Viquez and Clara 2 28 2015

José Víquez, PhD candidate at UMKC (orchestral conducting) is the face of the Romance Language House of the past (2012-13). He came to visit with Professor Capuano (not pictured) and his former Truman orchestra colleague, Clara Miller-Broomfield (far right) at their recent presentation at UMKC. Clara has been living in the Romance Language House since August 2014. At José’s right is Taylor Libbert, our most recent addition to the Romance Language House (January 2015) and to her right is Dr. Maria Antònia Martí Escayol, Professor of History at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, and Visiting Professor of Catalan at Truman State this semester. (At the Rozzelle Court of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.)

February 24, 2015: Former RLH resident returns to put the Mesa on film!

Bethany Boyle

Bethany Boyle, former Romance Language House resident (2012-13) returned to the Mesa de Conversación last Thursday evening with her cameraperson associate to take footage of the Romance languages in action: Spanish, French, and Catalan students interacting in all three languages! She and her classmate are preparing a sort of documentary of student activities for her Broadcast Production class (COMM 355). The photo above is Bethany (left) in Costa Rica and the photo below is one of the scenes during Bethany’s visit (left to right, Andrea, Taylor, Maria Antònia, Eber). Welcome back, Bethany! ¡Vuelve siempre que puedas! All are welcome to join in the Mesa de Conversación each Thursday 5:30-7:00 in the Chariton Room (Missouri Hall)

Mesa Feb 19 2015


Former RL House resident to study Portuguese at Middlebury College

EmmaMerriganDec2014 (103 of 16)[1]

Photo by Tim Barcus

Emma Merrigan (’14), long-time Romance Language House resident (2012-2014) will be attending the prestigious Middlebury Language School’s Intensive Summer Program for Portuguese on the campus of Middlebury College (VT). Through this full immersion program, Emma intends to develop her Portuguese skills as a research tool for her graduate work in the literature and cultures of Spain and Latin America. Graduate work where? That’s not quite been determined yet, but she’s been accepted at the Univ. of Kansas, Washington Univ. of St. Louis, and the Univ. of Illinois-Urbana Champaign. Current residents remember Emma well, since she’s just been gone since December, when she graduated and took a high school Spanish teaching job while she prepares for her doctoral program this fall. Boa sorte, Emma, e volta quando tiver saudades!

February 10, 2015: Amélie Viewing

On February 10th, members of the RLH gathered to view the classic French romantic comedy Amélie. Amélie tracks the escapades of a lonely French waitress who decides to commit random acts of kindness toward both the people in her life and total strangers. Many of our residents attempted to listen strictly to and comprehend the French, while those primarily studying Spanish used the English subtitles. Much of the conversation regarding the film took place in Spanish. A wonderful, tri-lingual movie night!

Submitted by Keilah Sullivan

RLH Student of the Week: Derek Benjamin

Every week, the Romance Language House will be hosting a student of the week. We have a wonderful variety of students residing within the RLH with different interests and plans. This week, we interviewed Derek Benjamin, who has lived in the RLH for the past two and half years. Derek is currently studying abroad in Spain, but he will be returning to the RLH in the fall to begin his senior year at Truman State University.

Derek Benjamin

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What language(s) are you studying?

Spanish & French

What are some methods you use to develop your language skills outside of the classroom?

To enhance my studies, I spend a significant amount of time listening to various podcasts in Spanish and French, focusing the majority of said time on United Nations publications. This practice has allowed me to become acquainted with various accents and quite diverse topics. Additionally, I read newspapers in both languages. For Spanish, I tend to read only El País and El País Semanal. For French, I read Libération and Le Monde. All of those newspapers are of quite good quality, and they include very informative articles.

What has been your favorite language-related course thus far?

Spanish Phonetics and Phonology allowed me to work closely on my pronunciation of Spanish, focusing on the major pitfalls of native English speakers. In addition, it introduced me to the various accents of the Spanish-speaking world, something which I have found to be invaluable.

How do you intend to use this/these language(s) in the future?

I intend to make lots of use of Spanish and French in the future, given that I hope to make a career out of my love of languages.

My plans upon graduation are to complete a Fulbright in Spain, two years of the North American Assistantship in Language and Culture in Spain, and then two years in France through the TAPIF program. Then, I plan to complete a Masters in Conference Interpretation

What organizations are you involved with (in addition to the Romance Language House)?

I am involved in Sigma Delta Pi (the Spanish Honors Society) and Hablantes Unidos.

What would you tell a prospective member of the RLH?

I would advise that, when considering to join our community, you hope to make a commitment not just to our community but also to your own learning. Our learning environment works best when everyone participates and actively seeks to learn.

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Let us know if there are any additional questions you would like to ask our residents! Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day weekend.

Dates Set for 2015 Spanish Immersion Weekend: April 10-12

The Spring 2015 Spanish Immersion Weekend will begin on Friday, April 10, with a two day stay at the Pine Ridge Retreat in Keosauqua, Iowa. For forty hours straight participants will think, interact, eat, sing, dream and of course talk all in Spanish… the closest you’ll get to full immersion in the Midwest! This annual event has always been closely tied to and sponsored by the Romance Language House (formerly, Casa Hispanica) and the Casa Hispanica (RLH) Spanish faculty. It’s not too late to register, but there’s a limit of 14 openings. Explore this 1 credit option by contacting Prof. Lucy Lee or Prof. Tom Capuano ¡Vengan a practicar el español en el paisaje idílico del sur de Iowa!new painting with geese copy

February 2, 2015 Romance Language House residents welcome visiting professor of Catalan!

On February 2nd, several Romance Language House residents (Taylor, Eber and Clara) welcomed Professor Maria Antònia Martí Escayol of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona to the United States for her one-semester long introductory course in Catalan, in which they are also participating. The night before, these same three residents, along with fellow classmates from “Catalan Language and Culture,” gave Professor Martí Escayol a warm American welcome to that special brand of language and culture sharing that makes the Romance Language House so unique: they took her to her first ever Super Bowl party at the Dukum! Explaining the rules of American football, however, was “una mica complicat”!

January 29, 2015 Mayan mythology at the Mesa

Professor Tom Capuano and two Casa residents (former and current) made the January 29 Mesa de Conversación the place to marvel over the Mayan mythology of the Popol Vuh. Elizabeth Ditch and Keilah Sullivan are studying the civilization and cultures of Guatemala in preparation for their March, 2015 internship at the San Lucas Mission in San Lucas Tolimán with the Guatemala Stove Project. They will be assisting this NGO with the construction of new stoves in Mayan campesino communities, in an effort to improve indoor air quality and help prevent smoke-related illnesses.

January 12, 2015 — Club de Film y Poesía Derriba la Casa

The Film and Poetry Club brought down the house on the evening of January 12 with poetry readings by Professor Lidice Alemán and Professor José Carreño, and breathtaking English translations by Emma Merrigan of selections of Maridos  (2007) by Angeles Mastretta. Emma has been specializing in technical and literary translation at Truman, Lidice read from her “Ultimos apuntes,” and José Carreño, who just had his Vigilias published in Mexico (2014) read selected poems. Casa residents got to enjoy live poetry — the best kind there is — in all its human intensity!

New leadership for Spring 2015!

On December 19 the baton was passed to Sebastian Maldonado, the new Student Assistant (“SA”) of the Romance Language House. Sebas extends a warm welcome to all current and future / prospective residents for the Fall 2015, and looks forward to fielding your comments, questions and emails about whether the Casa is the place for you. Contact him at

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