Experiential Learning

Student Reflections

RLL students who participated in the Fall 2018 inaugural RLL 496 course, “Tutoring Language and Narrative in Immigrant Communities” wrote about their experiences tutoring Puerto Rican students at Buffalo Public School 43. Supervised by classroom teacher Morgan Gibeault and mentored by RLL Associate Professor of French Maureen Jameson, they quickly learned how to put their foreign language skills to good use. Following are some of their takeaway impressions:

Alyssa Reese

Senior, Biomedical Sciences Major/Spanish Minor

…”I am by no means fluent in Spanish, however, experiencing a connection through language and helping with pronunciation and language skills was amazing. I would highly encourage students from UB to take part in this amazing experience of translating for and learning from these students. It was one of the most fulfilling, fascinating, and exhilarating experiences of my life and I will cherish the memories that I have made with the boys. I also plan on continuing to volunteer in their classroom next semester.”

Aisling Cantillon

Biomedical Sciences Major/ Spanish Minor

…”I have learned so much about Puerto Rican lifestyles during my time at PS 43 and I am thrilled to have had another opportunity to experience it myself through Governor Cuomo’s program, New York Stands with Puerto Rico. I was a volunteer for two weeks this January alongside 30 other SUNY/CUNY students responsible for the reparation of 3 homes that were damaged by Hurricane Maria. I was able to immerse myself in the culture and learn more about the socioeconomic and educational disparities that exist that led the three boys in my classroom to be the way they are. I can now understand more compassionately what these students have come from and why they love their homeland with such a strong sense of pride. I am forever grateful to have developed a connection with the students at PS 43 and the homeowners in San Juan through these experiential educational opportunities and I hope to continue to have similar experiences in the future.”

Ashley Naranjo

Junior, SSC/Health and Human Services Major/Spanish minor

…”As an intern, I learned that in the future this is something that I would like to do again. I grew a fond connection with the students and it was a great experience. It also helped improve my Spanish greatly by having to speak solely Spanish and using vocabulary that usually isn’t used in a Spanish course. If I could give other interns advice, it would be to be patient. There isn’t a lot of resources available to the school or the students in Spanish and it is up to you to try and accommodate for that. Take translating worksheets, readings or anything else needed seriously because that is their only source of information and if you have questions ask. It is important that you know what is going on because in that way you will be of great help to the students as well as to the teacher.”

Ashley Naranjo (R) with PS #43 students.

Buffalo Science Museum field trip: Ashley Naranjo (R) with PS #43 students