Students in a Spanish class at Vance-Granville Community College’s Main Campus recently enjoyed a visit from Valeria Rodríguez, a Spanish teacher at Warren County High School. Rodríguez is from Venezuela and is teaching locally through an international exchange program. A native of the capital, Caracas, she said she wanted to enlighten VGCC students about her home country. VGCC Spanish instructor Margaret Chaves-Smith welcomed Rodriguez to her class.
“I want to share some of the beautiful aspects of my country,” Rodríguez said. “It’s warm all year long, with two seasons, the dry season and the wet season. Caracas is called the ‘city of the eternal spring.’”
She told students about Venezuela’s national hero, Simon Bolivar, who won independence from Spanish rule for several South American nations. The country is officially known as the “Bolivarian Republic” of Venezuela, and the national currency is called the “bolívar fuerte.”
The approximately 31 million people in Venezuela are diverse ethnically, Rodriguez said, with the majority being called “mestizo,” meaning they have European, indigenous Native American and, in some cases, African ancestors. She added that Venezuelans are big sports fans, especially favoring baseball and soccer (or “Futbol”).
She rounded out her presentation with samples of Venezuelan music, dance and food, offering students some arepas, the traditional cornmeal staple that, in this case, she used to make small ham and cheese sandwiches.
Above: From left, VGCC Spanish instructor Margaret Chaves-Smith helps guest speaker Valeria Rodríguez demonstrate Venezuelan dance in Chaves-Smith’s classroom at the college. (VGCC photo)