Spanish & Portuguese in the United States

The Sirocco winds begin in the Sahara Desert and can be understood as a metaphor for movement across nations, cultures, and regions. They carry African sands, seeds, dust, and sediment as they regain force in their transit across the Mediterranean. Trade ships were also carried by these winds. Ideas and memory are carried by these winds. Even architectural forms have been designed around the Sirocco, from Sicily as far east as Iran.

These winds also serve as a metaphor for the movement of languages through migration and exchange.

Though reports vary, the United States has either the second or third largest Spanish-speaking population on the planet. If the Spanish-speaking population continues to increase (roughly a 13% increase in 2015), then the United States could be the largest Spanish-speaking country on Earth. The United States does not have an “official language” in its constituton, much to the dismay of those in favor of erecting walls and supporting “English-only” language policies.

In numerous Massachusetts and Rhode Island communities, Portuguese (Continental and Brazilian) and Portuguese-based Cape Verdean Criollo are the second and third most widely-spoken languages, ahead of Spanish. Check out this interactive map based on U.S. Census reports from 2011.

This language diversity, despite what could become an increasingly hostile culture for immigrants with a new president-elect, is something that must be celebrated. It is an enormous opportunity, particularly for the younger generations who come from monolingual English-speaking homes, to hear and live with and capture the joy of the sound of languages like Spanish and Portuguese. It is an unparalleled moment of language contact, from the big cities of the U.S. to even the smaller towns.

For this reason (and of course to share stories in written form that will inspire) one of the SiroccoBlue projects is to develop a trilingual series of short stories that explores language use and the joy of the sounds of Portuguese and Spanish for children. It will include other languages too: the language of dreams and memories, of music, and even animal companions who speak across Cambridgeport streets.

While the winds serve as a metaphor for the movement of language through migration, the Sirocco can also be seen as a symbol for exchange. Global education and exchange initiatives have always been at the core of the SiroccoBlue services. And soon, with the e-book project “Study Abroad: A Guide for Program Developers,” an all new website will be launched specifically for international education program development. More to come on that work soon!

Like the Facebook Page to get the latest on these projects!

 

 

“Kings of This Music”: From Camarón de la Isla to Pedrito Martínez

When Pedrito Martínez sings for Yemayá—as he did at the beginning of his show in Boston last week—the crossroads open: oceanic crossroads, lived crossroads, crossroads of transformation, crossroads rooted in Cayo Hueso, Havana, where Pedrito grew up, Elegguá’s crossroads where choices are made, destinies are reversed, and intention translates into meaning. A man seated in the back of Villa Victoria Center for the Arts, feeling the space change with the music, Continue reading ““Kings of This Music”: From Camarón de la Isla to Pedrito Martínez”

Announcement – eBook coming!

In early 2017, I’ll be releasing a practical eBook on how to build study abroad programs and how to turn around study abroad program performance in 90-days.

Based on years of developing and directing programs in Brazil, Cuba, and Spain, the content is designed to help universities and third-party providers build and manage solid, high-impact study abroad centers. Two courses and consultancy services are connected to this project!

Please subscribe to the mailing list and like our Facebook page for updates!

Scholarships & Grants for “Minorities”

“Minorities” is a misnomer and I put it in quotes for that reason. The world’s true minority is, without a doubt, “white” (however that is defined). Continue reading “Scholarships & Grants for “Minorities””

Scholarship Opportunities for College

One of the Sirocco Blue readers sent a list of new scholarship opportunities. Continue reading “Scholarship Opportunities for College”

Pedrito Martínez & Band, Tonight in Boston!

Cuban singer and percussionist Pedrito Martínez and his band have been a huge hit in Manhattan for nearly a decade. A master of Cuban music, Martínez goes beyond the traditional form, drawing on complex rhythms, jazz, and pop. Martínez’s musical talent Continue reading “Pedrito Martínez & Band, Tonight in Boston!”

Tomatito: Legend of Time | Concert Review

Led by legendary Flamenco guitarist, José Fernández Torres (known around the world as “Tomatito”), and accompanied by his son (José Fernández “Tomatito Hijo”), a royal Roma lineage tore through Boston’s Berklee Performace Center on Sunday night.

Continue reading “Tomatito: Legend of Time | Concert Review”

Incredible Flamenco Show in Boston!

Tomatito, one of the great Flamenco guitarists who follows in the line of Paco de Lucía and who played with Camarón de la Isla, will be performing in Boston this Sunday, Oct 30th, at 7:30 PM! With him, José Maya and a full ensemble take the stage. Continue reading “Incredible Flamenco Show in Boston!”

Grande Show de Flamenco em Boston | Domingo, Dia 30!

Compartilho com vocês, admiradores da música mais profunda do coração, notícias de um show fenomenal do enorme Tomatito! É flamenco de verdade, com José Maya na Dança e grupo completo.

unnamed

Continue reading “Grande Show de Flamenco em Boston | Domingo, Dia 30!”

Testimonial | Study Abroad Leadership & Development

In early 2012, just after completing a Fulbright research grant in Brazil, I was hired by CIEE to assess the study abroad programs in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, identify which parts of the operation could be salvaged, and take apart and rebuild the programs. Catharine Scruggs, long-standing Executive Director of all CIEE programs and an important figure in all of CIEE’s expansion and development initiatives, recently shared some reflections on my work as Resident Director (2012-2015), the same type of services I am now offering as a freelance consultant:

“I first met Jacob Dyer Spiegel in early 2012 when I interviewed him for a Resident Director position for the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) programs in Salvador, Brazil. During his tenure as RD, Jacob impressed me because of his ability to assess program strengths and weaknesses, work with senior management to effectively re-create an international study center, build partnerships, and transform the curriculum around student-centered learning models. Continue reading “Testimonial | Study Abroad Leadership & Development”