Employees at Goshen College received an email last Thursday from Norm Bakhit, director of human resources, offering an opportunity for free, non-credit conversational Spanish classes. The classes are funded by human resources and the Center for Intercultural Teaching and Learning as an attempt to “continue to develop and expand [Goshen College’s] intercultural opportunities,” according Bakhit's email.

Bakhit began plans for employee Spanish classes after informally gauging interest levels. He knew that the classes would be well received by employees looking for professional and personal development.

Logistics were his first task. He asked himself, “How are we going to do this?”

Materials will be provided to participants, assuming that they agree with a “good-faith commitment to attend all sessions,” according to Bakhit's email. Classes will be taught by Maria Sanchez-Schirch, instructor of Spanish at Goshen College.

The goal of the classes is for participants to be able to have a professional conversation with Spanish speakers on campus or in the community. Bakhit sees these classes as a way to connect with Latinos in the Goshen area.

“There is a population we can reach here,” Bakhit said. The classes are “a strong way to advance the intercultural mission on campus.”

Classes will meet once per week. Currently, two sessions are scheduled for Tuesdays from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. and Wednesdays from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. Ideally, classes will contain no more than 20 people, but accommodations for more participants will be considered based upon interest level. Over 30 employees were signed up by last Tuesday.

The 11-week class sessions will begin Feb. 7 and 8. Employees should send an email with session preferences and “Conversational Spanish” in the subject line to hr@goshen.edu by Feb. 1 if they are interested in taking the class.