It’s easy to spot the historical influence of the French language in the Upper Valley. But what about Spanish? Is anyone here joining the 38.3 million people speaking Spanish in their American homes, according to the U.S. Census Bureau?
French-speaking people from Canada have long migrated to New Hampshire and Vermont, and evidence of their presence is everywhere to be seen. You see it on street signs, such as Lahaye Drive in Lebanon, New Hampshire. You see it in business names, such as Boisvert Plumbing & Heating in West Lebanon, New Hampshire. You see it on your neighbors’ mailboxes, bearing surnames such as Thibidoux and Goodreau.
Spanish, by comparison, is a relative newcomer to the Upper Valley. The history of Hispanic migration to the area is just beginning. It’s still far easier to pick up some Spanish in Texas and California. But if you want to learn something about Hispanic culture and speak the language of Cervantes, there are multiple opportunities to pursue those interests right here in our own little corner of the Northeast.
This list will get you started.
- The Rassias Center at Dartmouth College bases its language instruction on a teaching model originally developed for Peace Corps volunteers. Classes tend to be short and intense. Offerings include weekend immersion classes, 10-day accelerated programs, weekly classes, and children’s programs. They meet at the Dartmouth College campus in Hanover, New Hampshire.
- Community College of Vermont, in Norwich, and River Valley Community College in Claremont, New Hampshire, provide a more traditional approach to language instruction. Each school offers semester-long introductory classes (Spanish I and Spanish II) for college credit.
- Spanish Play Group. Want to introduce your children to Spanish at an early age? Check out this free Spanish play group, designed for children four years old and younger. The group meets Thursdays from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Howe Library, 13 South Street, Hanover, New Hampshire.
- Buena Gente Social Club. Drop in for coffee and conversation (and maybe a pastry) every Tuesday and Friday at 9:30 a.m. at Umpleby’s Bakery Café, 3 East South Street, Hanover, New Hampshire. This group also organizes educational programs, potluck dinners, and movie nights.
- Tuesday is Spanish day at Bradford Public Library, 21 South Main Street, Bradford, Vermont, and at Tenney Memorial Library, 4886 Main Street, Newbury, Vermont. The Bradford folks meet at 2:30 p.m. The Newbury folks meet at 3 p.m.
Interested in adding French to your list of languages? Check out our blog post on learning French in the Upper Valley!