Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Café con Inglés helps Spanish speaking immigrants with English

Loyola students volunteer at Cafe con Ingles in helping Spanish-speaking immigrants learn English. Courtesy of JSRI.

Editor’s Note: Quotes from Julian Son Ramos were translated by Daniela Martínez

Café con Inglés is a free weekly tutoring class where immigrant Spanish-speaking students can learn or improve their English. Held in the St. Anthony of Padua Church cafeteria after the Spanish Sunday morning service, Café con Inglés opens its services to all with the help of volunteers from the church and students from Loyola.

Founded 13 years ago by professor in the Jesuit Social Research Institute Susan Weishar, Café con Inglés has helped the students handle simple day-to-day tasks, like talking to a cashier while shopping, and more challenging tasks, such as finding work.

“This has helped me a lot with my job. I can go to stores, I can fill out an application in English, I can have conversations with people on the streets, in the stores, or wherever else. It is really important and it has helped me a lot,” Julian Son Ramos, who has been taking classes for two years, said.

The Loyola University Community Action Program has partnered with Weishar to help run the program every weekend by providing volunteers. The class starts with introductions and is later separated into groups of students and teachers depending on the skill level of each. The teachers use books and whiteboards provided by Weishar to help the students learn grammar, proper conjugation, and pronunciation.

“It’s so much fun to come and practice my Spanish because I do not know that much Spanish. It challenges me, and I always tell the students you are teaching me and I am teaching you,” LUCAP project leader for Café con Inglés Grace Lalomia said.

Weishar said the student volunteers help provide individualized attention to learners.

“There is an eagerness to connect and support and we are so grateful for the Loyola student volunteers in both LUCAP and service learning,” Weishar said.

The program has changed throughout the years, but their main goal of helping immigrants learn English, so they can connect and be successful in a new country is the most important one.

“It has changed my life, and I feel very happy. Additionally, I want to help others like siblings or neighbors so that they can also get better at English. With dedication and patience everything can be learned,” Ramos said.

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