Blue Sage Global Education!

Some new developments for the SiroccoBlue community!

SiroccoBlue started with many services, all derived from the Sirocco as a rich metaphor for cross-cultural exchange, diaspora, an enlarged concept of translation, and the ability of the arts to unearth obscured histories. Things have gotten much more simple and focused.

Blue Sage Global Education is my new study abroad development consultancy. It has one major focus: to build new study abroad programs or improve existing overseas study centers for universities and providers. The mission is to create and enhance programs and to make study abroad more inclusive. Blue Sage Global Education will soon become a non-profit. Please join the Facebook page to learn more about the mission and the “Study Abroad: A Guide for Program Developerse-book project! I will also be posting about scholarship opportunities on Facebook.

So what is going to happen to SiroccoBlue? The blog will now be dedicated to all types of creative writing & visual arts projects that involve the Sirocco, diaspora, and memory and movement between Spanish, Portuguese, and English (some short stories coming!). I’ll keep exploring Flamenco through the lens of Sirocco and I’ll continue posting the work of creative artists who invoke the wind system. Much of the writing pins on translation as a metaphor and that too will continue!

I have re-written the most widely read posts from 2016 and will soon be posting them on SiroccoBlue along with lots of new writing. And for those of you who like to see visual interpretations of transition inspired by the Sirocco, check out the Instagram page!

Thanks to all for your ongoing readership!

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!



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!

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”

Testimonial | Sirocco International Education Work

More testimonials on SiroccoBlue services are coming in on the LinkedIn page!

This one is from Dr. José Menezes, Dean of Graduate Studies at the Catholic University of Salvador (Universidade Católica do Salvador, UCSal), where I developed and managed the Brazilian-Portuguese language & culture program for students from roughly 300 U.S. universities heading to Brazil to develop language and intercultural skills: Continue reading “Testimonial | Sirocco International Education Work”

Testimonial | Sirocco Cross-Cultural, Multilingual Work

Some great testimonials on SiroccoBlue work are coming in!

This latest one is from Ayodeji Ogunnaike, a Ph.D. candidate at Harvard University:

“When I went to Bahia for some research on Afro-Brazilian religion and asked some professors if they knew anyone who could help me with translation, Jacob’s was the first name to come up, and after meeting him, it was immediately clear why. Jacob Continue reading “Testimonial | Sirocco Cross-Cultural, Multilingual Work”

Welcome to Sirocco Blue!

This site is built around the Sirocco wind system as a metaphor for diaspora, cultural crossings of all kinds, translation, and the far-reaching, transformational capacity of international education.

Here you will find some of my writing (on the Sirocco and also on themes relating to language, translation, education), a work history, and the services that I offer to students, universities, higher learning consortia, and third-party study abroad providers… and pretty much anyone looking to translate documents and manage translation projects between English, Portuguese, and Spanish. A diverse group! Continue reading “Welcome to Sirocco Blue!”

Sirocco Blue on the Radio | Recent Interview at Boston Expo

At the recent Small Business Expo in Boston, an organization called Radio Entrepreneurs was looking for interesting stories behind creative, new, local businesses for their radio show. When I spoke to the founder and explained the Sirocco vision, he thought it would be good to do an interview with one of the hosts. Continue reading “Sirocco Blue on the Radio | Recent Interview at Boston Expo”

Sirocco Blue Services

While I develop this blog into a website, please email me at for all inquiries and pricing, please “Like” the SiroccoBlue facebook page, & ask any questions via my Facebook account, Sirocco Azul

Translations (English, Portuguese, Spanish): Translation of creative writing, documents that have cultural or historical significance, documents that have a social justice component, documents for mission-driven nonprofit organizations and NGOs. There is a team of Native-speakers in each language that reviews the translations.

Translation Strategy Consulting: Analysis and description of your organization’s  linguistic identity (what you are communicating as well as how, as a brand) so that the spirit of your communication is easily described to any translation team. Creation of  localized translation strategies in line with this core linguistic identity, management of translation projects, and development of methods to target localized markets with culturally-sensitive and culturally-relevant communications. This service allows you to articulate your organization’s messages in a way that resonates and persuades cross-culturally.

Teaching: University-level classes (talks) and full-length semester courses in Writing (creative and expository), World literatures in English, Caribbean literature, African diaspora studies, Translation theory & practice, Spanish & Portuguese language (conversation and upper-level), and Pre-Study abroad prep courses involving independent research projects.

Master’s and Ph.D. Application Support: Assistance with writing a persuasive, compelling Statement of Purpose and Personal Statement for admissions to Master’s and Ph.D.-level programs in the U.S. (for U.S. and international candidates). I help you “translate” and share your background, training, and interests into two key documents that can make or break your application for admission and for scholarship funding.

Study Abroad Program Development: Creation and development of high-impact study abroad programs for U.S. universities and study abroad companies, specializing in Latin America, Spain, and Portugal. This leaves your organization with a fully-functioning study center in a given country (space, courses, safety, network, professors, language program, and more) for short-term and semester-long programs as well.

Creative Reviews & Publicity: In English, Spanish, and Portuguese, I review businesses and organizations that directly or indirectly work with Sirocco aesthetics or cultural geographies. These writing pieces are customized to fit the needs of the organization, can be advertised to a specific, localized market, and are also posted on Yelp and TripAdvisor (in addition to the SiroccoBlue blog).

More information on me, Jacob Dyer Spiegel, can be found on the Sirocco Leadership page. To learn more about how these services fit into a concept of translation that I am working on, please check out the writing on the blog (much is related to translation as a metaphor) and a post on the Sirocco as a moving translation system.

SiroccoBlue Translation System

Thanks to great feedback from readers & recent posts on the crossroads–those spaces of contact that necessitate translation and that, in the Yoruba and Yoruba Atlantic cosmos are presided over by deities of communication and translation–I have decided to focus on the translative aspects of the Sirocco in the blog writing and also in terms of the services that I am offering.

The Sirocco wind system moves from the Sahara, carrying, literarily, sand and dry, hot air to Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Turkey, and beyond. As a metaphor, the Sirocco carries thoughts, ideas, cultural patterns and traditions, and a rich concept of cultures in contact across geographical regions. The Sirocco generates other wind and weather systems, as well, moving across the Atlantic to the Americas. That the Sirocco winds influenced architectural forms from Sicily to Persia serves as a visual reminder that we can build physical and theoretical ‘structures’ around the wind’s impact. That is one of the ways I aim to follow the wind system–to “use” it as a way to understand cultural continuities and cultural-linguistic practices of multiple diasporas, the crossing of boundaries (via scholarships, study abroad, language study), and the crossing of languages and cultures via translation as a process and as a practice that puts ideas in motion across the globe.

The name of the Sirocco winds ‘Sharq’ (Arabic), ‘Scirocco’ (Italian), Sirocco (Spanish), Xiroco (Portuguese) is, just at the level of the word, a reminder that this massive wind system is also a system of languages in contact, moving fluidly across land and water. The etymology of the word ‘Sirocco,’ then,  reminds me that in this wind system and its movement, we have another model for the process of translation and the impact of translation.

Continue reading “SiroccoBlue Translation System”