Cultural Connections

Students in upper-level Spanish and Italian classes create their own Telenovelas. While making the films, students demonstrate their ability to work together to complete a difficult project while using the target language in an authentic way.


Students in Spanish V studied the lyrics and music of the Puerto Rican rapper Residente, and then were asked to write a rap or spoken word piece of their own, on whatever social justice topic they felt most passionate about. They had to write, memorize, and perform their pieces for an audience of students outside of their own class. In the videos, they are performing in Ms. Díaz's Spanish IV class.

Teachers Sabrina Wilson and Sergio Ovalles connected their Spanish III classes with university students in León, Nicaragua over Skype to exchange ideas about political developments in both countries. Branson students had a chance to practice their language skills and articulate their ideas on complex topics with native speakers, as well as to hear a different, outside perspective on the United States. The Skype conversations are part of an ongoing collaboration between the San Francisco/Nicaragua-based organization Viviendas León and Branson. Branson students have had the opportunity to travel to León, Nicaragua for the language immersion, service-oriented trip.  

By Phoebe Zheng ‘19

Our Mandarin III class ventured into Chinatown, tried countless flavors of mooncakes, and practiced Mandarin with native speakers. We interviewed local Chinese people about how they celebrate the Mid Autumn Festival with their families. They talked about their traditional family gathering as well as the symbolic value of mooncakes to the holiday. 

We tried various mooncakes in bakeries, where the shop owners were very friendly (and patient) as we attempted to converse with them. We learned that mooncakes, eaten during 中秋節 (Zhong Qiu Jie: Mid Autumn Festival) are circular because it represents wholeness and coming together.

Branson Staff Share Life Stories

Branson Facilities Crew members José and Juan Quintanilla talked with Spanish IV classes about El Salvador and the Civil War. The students were learning about Oscar Romero.