2014

How It All Began...

National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated annually from September 15 to October 15. It is an observed holiday by Latin America, Canada, and the United States. It became an official observed holiday under President Lyndon B. Johnson as a week-long holiday and then was changed to a month long observance by Ronald Reagan in 1988. The holiday was lengthened to cover the multitude of Hispanic traditions and independence days that occur during this time frame. Seven countries celebrate their independence days within this month. Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua celebrate their independence day on the 15th of September. Mexico’s independence day is on September 16th, Chile’s is on the 18th, and Belize on the 21st. There is also Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a Mexican holiday celebrated on October 31st, which is the honorary celebration of family and friends who have passed away. Hispanic Heritage Month is a rich celebration that covers the spectrum of Latin American heritage. LU organizations will be hosting numerous events during this month so students can dive into the culture.

Famous Quotes

“What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.” ― Gabriel Garcia Marquez

“Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away.” ― Frida Kahlo

"When people hear me sing, I want them to be happy, happy, happy. I don't want them thinking about when there's not any money, or when there's fighting at home. My message is always felicidad - happiness." ― Celia Cruz

decorative border Celebrating Mexican-American Life Through Art

Carmen Lomas Garza is a Mexican-American artist from Kingsville, Texas. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in art and a Master’s in education. Her inspiration for art started at a young age seeing her mother paint, embroider, and do other crafts. As an activist in the Chicano Movement during the 1960s and 1970s she wanted to shed a light away from the discrimination and oppression and highlight the tradition, culture, and community experienced throughout a Mexican-American lifestyle. Garza’s work can be used as an educational tool at home and in the classroom as her paintings reflect cultural identities, religion, and class divide.

"Tamalada" 1988

Garza’s work hits close to home as she reflects her childhood growing up in South Texas. One of her pictures even displays a summer day with family at South Padre Island. Her paintings give viewers a warm, inviting, homely feel from the bright colors, typical household and community settings as well as the various family members and friends scattered throughout the paintings. Despite it reflecting Hispanic culture anyone can feel connected to her artwork from the everyday settings depicted in the scenery. From a household kitchen to a backyard birthday party, Garza’s vision of love is a universal statement that anyone can understand no matter what culture they identify with.

“Some of us were made to feel ashamed of our language, our traditions, our food. You don’t think about it, but everyone eats burritos and tacos, Mexican food, food from Cuba, from South America, without even questioning it, but when I was growing up we were the only ones eating those things.” ― Carmen Lomas Garza

decorative borderThe Wailing Woman: A Mexican Ghost Story

Once, a Spanish soldier married a beautiful native woman and they had two children whom the soldier loved very much. However, the soldier came from a rich family. His parents and relations disapproved of his wife and threatened to disown him unless he married a Spanish woman. Not wishing to lose his inheritance, the soldier put away his native wife and sent for a bride from Spain. The soldier's wife was filled with a terrible, jealous rage. To revenge herself against her unfaithful husband, she drowned their two children in the river. The soldier was horrified when he heard what she had done, and tried to have her arrested. But his wife, driven insane by rage, jealousy, and guilt, escaped into the wilds. She roamed through the land, searching the water-ways for her children. But she could not find them.Finally, in agony of body and mind, she drowned herself in the river too. But the woman's spirit could not escape to heaven because of the weight of her terrible crime. And so La Llorona, the Wailing Woman, spirit still wanders the earth, wailing in guilt and grief. She is condemned forever to search in vain for her children. But she will never find them, for they are no more. Credit: www.americanfolklore.com

Hispanic or Latino?

The term Hispanic or Latino, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, refers to Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race. On the 2010 Census form, people of Spanish/Hispanic/Latino origin could identify themselves as Mexican, Mexican-American, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban, or "another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin." According to the 2010 Census, 50.5 million people, or 16% of the population, are of Hispanic or Latino origin. This represents a significant increase from the 2000 Census, which registered the Hispanic population at 35.3 million or 13% of the total U.S. population. Read More: Hispanic Heritage Month | Infoplease.com

Las Voces: Voices in Hispanic Poetry

“The Men”

I'm Ramón González Barbagelata from anywhere,
from Cucuy, from Paraná, from Rio Turbio, from Oruro,
from Maracaibo, from Parral, from Ovalle, from Loconmilla,
I'm the poor devil from the poor Third World,
I'm the third-class passenger installed, good God!
in the lavish whiteness of snow-covered mountains,
concealed among orchids of subtle idiosyncrasy.
I've arrived at this famous year 2000, and what do I get?
With what do I scratch myself? What do I have to do with
the three glorious zeros that flaunt themselves
over my very own zero, my own non-existence?
Pity that brave heart awaiting its call
or the man enfolded by warmer love,
nothing's left today except my flimsy skeleton,
my eyes unhinged, confronting the era's beginning.
The era's beginning: are these ruined shacks,
these poor schools, these people still in rags and tatters,
this cloddish insecurity of my poor families,
is all this the day? the century's beginning, the golden door?
Well, enough said, I, at least, discreet,
as in office, patched and pensive,
I proclaim the redundancy of the inaugural:
I've arrived here with all my baggage,
bad luck and worse jobs,
misery always waiting with open arms,
the mobilization of people piled up on top of each other,
and the manifold geography of hunger.
Translated by Alfred Yankauer

Pablo Neruda, 1904-1973


“His Story”

I was born under a crooked star.
So says my father.
And this perhaps explains his sorrow.
An only daughter
whom no one came for
and no one chased away.
It is an ancient fate.
A family trait we trace back
to a great aunt no one mentions.
Her sin was beauty.
She lived mistress.
Died solitary.
There is a well
the cousin with the famous
how shall I put it?
profession.
She ran off with the colonel.
And soon after,
the army payroll.
And, of course,
grandmother's mother
who died a death of voodoo.
There are others.
For instance,
my father explains,
in the Mexican papers
a girl with both my names
was arrested for audacious crimes
that began by disobeying fathers.
Also, and here he pauses,
the Cubano who sells him shoes
says he too knew a Sandra Cisneros
who was three times cursed a widow.
You see.
An unlucky fate is mine
to be born woman in a family of men.
Six sons, my father groans,
all home.
And one female,
gone

Sandra Cisneros, 1954-Present

Latino Cardinals Around the Globe

Juan Rodriguez at the London Bridge. Summer 2014.

A 2010 graduate of Memorial High School in Port Arthur, Texas, Juan is a double major in communication and modern languages and expects to graduate in Spring 2016.

"My summer 2014 Study Abroad took me to Spain. During my trip I visited Sevilla, Granada, Madrid, and Salamanca as well as London, Rome, and Paris."

Denisse Ledesma at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. Summer 2014.

A graduate of Central Medical Magnet High School in Beaumont, Texas, she is a Spanish major with a concentration in teaching and is expected to graduate in 2016. During her study abroad trip she visited London, Sevilla, Granada, Madrid, Salamanca, Rome, and Paris.

"Lamar University made my wishes come true. Study Abroad gave me the opportunity to be a student in the oldest and prestigious university in Spain, the University of Salamanca. I made new friends all over the world, visited so many prestigious museums like the Louvre in Paris, Museo del Prado in Madrid, palaces, and the La Giralda, the biggest Cathedral in Spain. I stepped on one of the most famous bridges, the Tower Bridge in London. I visited the Vatican, where I witnessed the mass of Pope Francis. All of this was made possible as a result of taking the opportunity to study abroad with the help of my family and Lamar University. While I was in Europe I sent my mom pictures, and she would in turn forward them to my family in Mexico. My relatives are so proud of me because I have had the opportunity that they did not have. They feel as though they have traveled with me through my journey’s pictures. I am now a more prepared and skilled student at Lamar University. Study abroad changed and made an impact in my life, and hopefully I can return next summer to visit my host family and my wonderful teachers."

Carla Marcia in Paris, France, outside the Louvre Museum. Summer 2014.

A 2007 graduate of Alief Hastings High Schoo in Houston, Texas.  She is a biology major and Spanish minor and is expected to graduate in Spring 2016. During her study abroad trip she visited Sevilla, Granada, Madrid, Salamanca, Paris, and Holland.

"My experience studying abroad was amazing. I had the opportunity to study at the University of Salamanca in Spain for three weeks. During my stay we explored Madrid, Sevilla, and Granada with the university. In school I learned more about Spanish grammar and the history of Spain. During this trip, I met a lot of people from around the world and learned more from Spain and European cultures. After school ended I stayed in Europe to explore more of Spain, France, and Holland. It was a great experience and I would recommend it to anyone who has the opportunity to join the LU study abroad program."

Javier Flores in El Real Alcazar en Sevilla, Spain. Summer 2014.

A 2012 graduate of West Brook High School in Beaumont, Texas, he is a Spanish major with a minor in kinesiology and is expected to graduate in May 2016. During his study abroad trip he visited Sevilla, Granada, Madrid, Salamanca, and Italy.

"I was given the opportunity to Study Abroad in the University of Salamanca in the summer of 2014. Never in my twenty years of living did I picture myself studying in a foreign country. Studying Abroad has increased my confidence tremendously. Studying abroad has helped me become a better young man. Visiting a foreign country helped me understand more about their culture, traditions, lifestyle, and so much more. Not only did I go to Europe to study in Salamanca, Spain but I took advantage of the opportunity to visit the country of Italy. Italy is beautiful, a country that I have always wanted to visit since I was a child. Studying Abroad-Spain helped my dream of visiting Italy become a reality. Studying abroad has been one of my biggest achievements thus far. By studying abroad, my wish of vising Spain and Italy came true. I recommend everyone to study abroad in a foreign country; it could be France, China, Spain, or Peru, go out of your comfort zone and explore the world."

Angelica Perez in Plaza de España, Sevilla, Spain. Summer 2014.

Holding a B.A. in Pedagogy from Mexico, she is currently in the Post Baccalaureate Certification Program at Lamar. During her study abroad trip she visited Sevilla, Granada, Madrid, Ávil, and Salamanca.

"My experience in the Study Abroad Program. As a mother of four, it was a hard decision to go in a study abroad program for three weeks since I had never been away from my children more than a couple of days. Honestly, now, I don’t regret it a bit. It was a wonderful experience. I can’t tell which part was my favorite, I just can’t choose. The visit to Museo del Prado was exciting and the only bad thing was the short, short amount of time that we stayed there. Standing right in front of a work of art such as “Las Meninas” or “Las Lanzas” which I had seen before just in a book, is just an amazing experience that words just can’t help to describe. Besides that, the beauty of the cities that I visited is incredible. Madrid with its “Plaza Mayor”; Sevilla with its “Real Alcazar” and “Plaza de España”; Granada and its incredible “Alhambra”; Avila and its wonderful wall (“Muralla”) surrounding the city, and the beautiful Salamanca with its historic University and Cathedral are all such marvelous places. I’m Mexican, and since Mexico and Spain have an interrelated history I didn’t feel like a stranger, I felt right at home. Not only the experience to travel to another country and continent is amazing, also the fact I have memories that I can share with my family, friends and now with my students is just a way to let all of them know that the world is more than just our city and a lot more than just what we see in the TV or in a book. That is exactly what I learned on this trip: that the world is for us to know about its cultures and enjoy its places."

Miguel Medina at La Boca del Diablo in Portugal. Summer 2013.

A graduate of Tec de Monterrey in Mexico, he is a double major psychology and modern languages. During his study abroad trip he visited Sevilla, Madrid, Salamanca, and Lisbon in Portugal.

"I studied abroad in Spain during the summer of 2013. While I was there, I had the chance to travel to Portugal. Studying abroad has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. This experience encouraged me to pursue a second major in modern languages, in addition to my psychology degree. Every day was a new adventure that completely changed the way I now view the world. I learned things that I could have never learned inside a classroom and that are only possible to learn when you are out there, experiencing new things. My recommendations for those who have the desire to study abroad are not to be afraid, to take the chances and enjoy every moment of their journey."

Andrea Llamas-Perez, internship at the Panama Canal Expansion. Summer 2013.

A 2008 graduate of Lic. Manuel Concha Marista in Celaya Gto. Mexico. She is pursuing a Masters in Civil Engineering.  She participated is in the Study Abroad Program to Spain Study in the summer 2012  and in the summer of 2013 to Panama.  While in Panama, she had the opportunity to participate in an Internship at the Panama Canal.  During her Study Abroad trips, she had the opportunity to visit Spain (Ibiza, Sevilla, Granada, Madrid, Barcelona & Salamanca); Portugal (Lisbon); Czech Republic (Praga); Panama (Panama City).

“In the summer 2013 as a LU Civil Engineer undergraduate student, I took my first Study Abroad trip to Spain.  As a part of my second study abroad program with LU and I had the opportunity to intern in one of the top ten engineering projects in the world, the Expansion of the Panama Canal. For three months, I worked with the best engineers from Panama, United States and around the world. This opportunity has changed my professional and personal life. I am really happy for all the support I received from Lamar and the Civil Engineer department.”

Marielva Guerrero in Lisbon, Portugal. Summer 2013.

She graduated from Lamar University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish with Teacher Certification.  She participated in both the summer 2011 and 2013 Spain Study Abroad Programs at the University of Salamanca, Spain.  Spain (Sevilla, Granada, Madrid, Barcelona & Salamanca), Ireland (Dublin), England (London), Italy (Rome and Vatican City), and Portugal (Lisbon).

“My name is Marielva Guerrero and I’m proud to say that I had the privilege of being part of the LU Study Abroad Program.  I have been fascinated by this program; it gave me the experience of reliving the literature I studied inside a classroom and seeing the beauty of cities and towns where many well-known writers made history.   I also had the opportunity for personal enrichment by getting out of my comfort zone, meeting and studying with people from different countries, living different cultures and opening new doors for future career and study plans.   As of today, I’m a Spanish Teacher at NISD and I am so thankful to have this experience because I can tell my students about the process and the benefits of traveling and studying abroad. My students love to hear stories about my experience around Europe.  I have been interviewed by my students from journalism about this experience. I strongly believe that the Study Abroad Program is an immense opportunity that Lamar has been offering to its students. I highly recommend it!”

Amy Becerra in Barcelona, Spain. Summer 2013.

She a graduate a 2009 of Kountze High School in Kountze, Texas.  Ms. Becerra graduated in May 2014 with a Bachelors in Psychology and a minor in Spanish.  She participated in the Spain 2013 Study Abroad Program.  While in Spain, she visited the cities of Sevilla, Granada, Madrid, Barcelona, and Salamanca.

“I always had the desire to study abroad, but I did not think it was something feasible for me, until I spoke to my Spanish professor, Señora Norma Zarzosa.  I am so grateful for that conversation, because it led to the unforgettable experience of studying abroad in Spain, as well as to friendships and memories that I will always hold dear in my heart. My experience abroad not only helped me in my academic life, but my personal life as well. While abroad I was able to do my cross-cultural research for my McNair project, take classes, practice my Spanish, and live life like a true Spaniard. I loved everything about my experience abroad: the historical architecture, the aroma of croissants in the morning, the music filled streets in every corner, the charm and magic of every city, the laid back atmosphere, the friendly people, the freshness of the air, and of course, the love of soccer that everyone shares in Spain. Because of my experience in Spain, I am more open to trying new things, I have gained a different perspective on life, and I am currently applying to the Fulbright U.S. Student Program to be an English Teaching Assistant in Spain for a year. While I was in Spain, I was told and I am finding to be very true, is that for those that come to Spain, they always find a way to come back again.”

Brittany Birdwell in Granada Spain. Summer 2013.

A graduate of Hardin Jefferson High School in Sour Lake, Texas.  She currently is a Modern Languages-Spanish major and is expected graduation 2015.  During her 2013 Study Aboard trip, she visited Spain (Sevilla, Granada, Madrid & Salamanca), and Portugal (Lisbon), France (Paris).  

“My experience during the 2013 Spain Study Abroad Program, was one that has changed my life in many ways, I had to overcome many obstacles. First, I had to overcome “culture shock.” My first “culture shock” experience was on the airplane ride from Miami, Florida to Madrid, Spain. It was my first time ever on an airplane. On the plane, I had to sit next to someone I had never met before, this gentleman was from Spain originally, but lived in Mexico. He didn’t speak any English.  I had to choose whether to spend a thirteen hour trip to Spain in complete silence or to have a conversation with this man.  I chose to have a conversation with him and I believe was one of the best choices that I have ever made.  Little that I know that it was a choice that was preparing me for the life that I was about to live for the next 37 days. By the time I made it to Madrid, I felt confident speaking Spanish. Now, I could go into any store and bargain prices on items that I intended to buy. I had the privilege to study at the University of Salamanca among some of the elite of Spain. I met people from all over the world.  I also visited three different countries.  Each of these places all had their own characteristics that made them uniquely beautiful. I had never imaged that I would have the opportunity to go to Spain. I really enjoyed and appreciated my experiences: taking classes at the university, eating the Spanish food such as paella, and being a part of the 2013 Spain Study Abroad Class. I have made lifelong friendships with the people that I met through 2013 Spain Study Abroad Program.  Our experiences and memories will be cherished these for a life time!”

Richard Rosario in Granada, Andalucía, Spain at the Alhambra Moorish Palace. June 2012.

A 2010 graduate of West Brook High School in Beaumont, Texas, he is a accounting and finance major with a minor in Spanish and is expected to graduate in May 2015. During his study abroad trip he visited Sevilla, Granada, Madrid, Salamanca, Portugal, and Mexico.

"Studying abroad opened my eyes to a whole new world that existed outside of what I called home. It forced me outside of my comfort zone, and gave me the ability to adapt to a different environment. I studied at the University of Salamanca in Spain and took excursions to Portugal. I never imagined when I applied to Lamar that I would have the opportunity to study abroad, especially in Europe. Studying abroad helped me tremendously with my Spanish. I am now more comfortable speaking and writing it, and can even do entire oral presentations in Spanish. I spoke Spanish before I studied abroad, but I didn’t feel confident enough to write or to even translate or present something in Spanish. Now, I can say I have experience as a legal assistant, thanks to a friend I made in Spain who introduced me to the firm where she worked, where I translated orally and written for the attorneys. Recently I got a job at the Diocese of Beaumont as their Assistant Director of Community Development, thanks to the skills I learned while studying abroad. Whether I decide to pursue a career in business or decide to go to law school, studying abroad has given me a competitive advantage to do either of the two careers, if not both."

Natasha Gonzalez Strother, in the Tropical Forest of Belize. Summer 2012.

Natasha Gonzalez Strother is a 2013 Lamar University graduate with a Bachelors in Biology and double minors in Chemistry and Spanish. Her Study Abroad Program took her to Belize in the 2012 to study Tropical Marine Biology and Tropical Watershed Ecology with the Biology Department.

“I visited Belize with the Biology Department for a little over two weeks in the summer of 2012. My Lamar study abroad is one of the best experiences I have had. The favorite part about it was that we were experiencing everything we were learning about. We learned about ancient culture while walking through the Mayan ruins, we memorized medicinal purposes of many exotic plants while passing through the tropical forest, and we studied about different types of marine life while snorkeling in the coral reefs and that is just the tip of the iceberg.”

“We were “roughening it” to get the experience of how so many locals really lived; electricity and internet was very limited to none at all, no air-conditioner, no hot water, no cell phone,  and many other things.  I admit, at first it was tough, especially with the hot-humid climate in Belize, but you get used to it. The experience really made me evaluate what is really important in life and appreciate what I do have, even the little things like having ice in a drink. Also, the lack of outside communication and social media made us bond as a group, we were all that we had, for 2 weeks we were each other’s family and  that is something I will always cherish.”

Marielva and Anel Rodriguez, Castillo de Coca in Castilla y León, Spain. Summer 2011.

Anel Rodriguez is a 2009 graduate of Nederland High School in Nederland, Texas. She is a Modern Languages-Spanish major and is expected to graduate in the fall of 2014. She participated in both the 2011 and 2013 Spain Study Abroad Programs. Her Study Abroad trip gave her the opportunity to visit Spain (Sevilla, Granada, Madrid, Barcelona, & Salamanca), Ireland (Dublin), England (London), Italy (Rome and Vatican City), and Portugal (Lisbon).

“My experience as a study abroad student was, in one word, AMAZING! I learned so much and met many new people from different countries and cultures, and we all bonded because of the love that we shared towards the Spanish language. My Lamar classmates and I created a very strong friendship and sense of leadership and solidarity. Thanks to Mrs. Norma Zarzosa and Dr. Christine Bridges, we lost our fear of traveling alone and learned to open ourselves to new rewarding experiences. I encourage all the students that can have the opportunity to study abroad to do it and take new chances to a once in a life experience.”

Michael Zarzosa, Belize. 2011.

Michael R. Zarzosa is a 2011 Lamar University graduate. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. Mr. Zarzosa is also a recipient of the Beck Fellowship. He is currently in graduate school at Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine as a third year veterinary student as well as pursuing a concurrent Masters of Public Health at the University Of Minnesota School Of Public Health. He attended the Study Abroad Program in 2010 with the Department of Biology (Tropic Biology) and again in 2011 for the Beck Fellowship Undergraduate Research.

“Both of my Study Abroad exposures (for school) were to Belize. However, I have also been to Guatemala, which I also consider to be an invaluable trip and vital to my total lifetime education. During the summer of 2010, I spent about 45 days in Belize on Ambergris Caye. The majority of my time was spent on my own, preparing the groundwork for a research project. This was in fulfillment of the requirements for the Beck Fellowship, though it was my second time to travel to Belize for research work, and was undoubtedly an integral component to me getting to where I am today, as a third year vet student attending Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. I have become acutely aware of exactly how important opportunities abroad are in the increasingly competitive arena of professional education.”

We Invite You to Explore With Us!


Tanya Leon and Luis Lopez. Castilla y Leon, Spain. Summer 2011.


Saul Lopez, Jonathan Camargo, Jacqueline Hernandez, and Richard Rosario. Lisbon, Portugal. Summer 2012.


Ernesto Alvarez, Vicky Reyes, Tanya Leon, Monica Lugo, Luis Lopez, and Eric Adams. Castillo de Penafiel, Spain. Summer 2011.

Want to study abroad? Visit lamar.edu/studyabroad for more information.