Spanish Club’s Dia de Muertos Ofrenda 2019 in Whipple Center
photo provided by Nick Tratz

Spanish Club uses events and activities to enrich students language skills

Music, movies and world travel in Spanish Club educate students on Spanish culture.

“Spanish Club is about providing opportunities for students to practice Spanish and learn more about Spanish and Hispanic cultures,” club adviser and Spanish instructor Nick Tratz said. Tratz has been the adviser since he was hired nine years ago.

Spanish Club usually has about four or five consistent people who attend. Students don’t need to know any Spanish to join. “We meet on Wednesdays in JH 18 at 2 p.m.,” Tratz said. 

The students lead the club and decide what they want to do while the adviser facilitates and offers up their ideas. “We do different events on campus like a bilingual play from Portland, an Ofrenda (ritual display) for Dia De Muertos in Whipple, conversation meet-ups, watch Spanish movies, and do Spanish Christmas caroling,” Tratz said.

Spanish class with their ofrenda
photo provided by Nick Tratz

“I really enjoyed the Christmas caroling; that was a hoot,” Tratz said. “We sang about four or five songs caroling door to door in west Roseburg.”

This year the students have requested to watch more Spanish movies. The last one they watched was Coco. In the last meeting, they talked about the play coming up in April and Tratz’s experiences and travels to Peru. He showed them a slideshow also.

“Down in Peru, they use a lot of rickshaws. They call them toritas or bulls because they look like little bulls going down the street,” Tratz said. While in Peru, Tratz spent a lot of time in the Sacred Valley which is near the Incan heartland, the center of the Incas’ culture and civilization.

Tratz shared Incan agricultural practices at the last meeting. “They were such master builders and so good with the terracing and working out drainage systems that worked effectively to manage the high amount of runoff in the mountains,” Tratz said.

“They have this one area with a bowl in the ground and seven different terraces, and each terrace has slightly different soils. They actually have done studies to see where the soils came from, and some came from the Amazon. It was an agricultural testing facility basically to see what crops would grow in which soils at slightly different elevations and microclimates,” Tratz said, “It’s fascinating to see all the technology that they had, and the Incans didn’t even have the wheel, so it’s pretty amazing what they were able to do.”

Also in their last meeting, the Spanish Club discussed bringing a play from Portland. The play is called Huinca and is about Javiera, the daughter of a Chilean exile who returns to her native country to practice law and work with the Mapuche people. The play may be scheduled for April 9 if it is agreed in their next meeting.

Huinca play
photo provided by