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Culture in the Classroom - Spanish at CFIS

If culture is our roots, then knowledge must be the tree from which they grow. At CFIS we often talk about our students being global citizens, about how we seek to provide them with a perspective that far reaches beyond their comfort zone. By utilizing the teachings and experiences found through our complementary programs: Round Square, UNESCOIB and Travel Studies, our students are exposed to cultures from all around the globe. 

Of course, being a full French immersion school, the assumption would be that our students are well versed in the cultures of other French-speaking communities, and this is true. But that's only one part of our Global Citizen goal. Exposure to peoples from all walks of life, both today and throughout history, in study and experience help our students bridge the gap between where, as a society, we have come from and who we will grow to be.

In recognition of Cinco de Mayo, we are celebrating one of the international aspects of CFIS by talking about our Spanish Language Studies.  

First a little context: Cinco de Mayo or the fifth of May is often regarded as a day to celebrate Spanish, and especially Mexican, culture. It "celebrates the date of the Mexican army’s May 5, 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War", but should not to be confused with Mexico's Independence Day, which is celebrated in September.  

Much like St. Patrick's Day is a far bigger celebration in North America than it is in Ireland, Cinco de Mayo is the same. Nevertheless, the date serves as an opportunity to talk about Spanish culture, and for us at CFIS to discuss the benefits of being multilingual.

We've talked many times before about the benefits of French immersion (in fact you can download an entire infographic here). French immersion education is great for brain development, it helps improve first language skills, and it opens doors for post-secondary education and careers. All the same, is true of Spanish. 

But why is Spanish chosen as the third language taught at CFIS? 

Why not Mandarin? Or Farsi? 

Well, as many people will intuitively know, French and Spanish share the same linguistic root. As this Lingoda blog post notes, "When the Spanish and French languages are compared in this way, they are said to have a lexical similarity of 75 percent." 

Not only do both language originate in Latin roots, they both also use masculine and feminine nouns, have similar conjunctions and use similar accent markers.  

All of which is to say that becoming familiar with one language, will aid in learning the other, and subsequently other Latin-based languages. When you can relate to any language it becomes far easier to understand, connect to that culture and grow to become a global citizen.

If you think of language like food, and Latin as a high-quality grocery store full of ingredients there are no limits as to what you could learn to cook. Maybe a French pastry, perhaps Italian gnocchi, a Portuguese Caldo Verde, or especially on Cinco de Mayo - Spanish chilaquiles.

To learn more about Spanish language acquisition at CFIS, contact our Admissions team at