Civil Servants Complete Spanish As A Foreign Language Course

Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Donna Forde, speaking at the closing ceremony of the Spanish as a Foreign Language course, hosted by the Republic of Colombia, today. (Credit: C. Pitt/BGIS)

Director General, Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Donna Forde (centre) and Colombia’s Embassy Political Affairs Second Secretary, Heidi Cortes (third from right) with participants of the Spanish as a Foreign Language course at Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, today. (Credit: S. Forde-Craigg/BGIS)

Twenty-seven civil servants from various government departments have received certificates following the completion of the Spanish as a Foreign Language course, hosted by the Republic of Colombia.

Speaking at the closing ceremony today at Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Donna Forde, noted that the training of Barbadians in a foreign language is a priority for Government, as it seeks to achieve its development goal of becoming a fully bilingual society.

Ms. Forde thanked the Government of Colombia for hosting the training and highlighted that since establishing diplomatic relations with Colombia in 1972, the two countries have engaged in several technical cooperation projects. One such project has been the Spanish language course for public servants, and she hopes that the relations could extend into other areas.

“This kind of practical exposure to the language, as offered by the Government of Colombia, is really very important, and it’s an example of our strong bilateral relations with Colombia. And we’re very happy that even after a pause for COVID-19, you were able to start back this project,” the Director General stated.
Ms. Forde told the participants that learning a foreign language opens opportunities and provides a repertoire of experiences. She also commended them for taking up the initiative to learn another language and encouraged them to practise what they had learnt because “if you don’t use it, you lose it”.

Colombia’s Embassy Political Affairs Second Secretary, Heidi Cortes, said she was happy to see the culmination of yet another course where Barbadian civil servants were introduced and immersed into Colombian culture.

“This remarkable programme, initiated by the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2013, has been an annual undertaking since then, [and] has become an example of cultural exchange and linguistic enrichment…. This initiative embodies the essence of South-South cooperation where all parties contribute to its success,” Ms. Cortes said.

Instructor of the course, Diana Ramírez Moya, highlighted that in the course, which began on October 23, 2023, students learnt about Colombia’s cultural topics, such as ethnic groups, currency, Christmas traditions, food and music.

She said they also learnt vocabulary related to their basic necessities, for example describing places, personalities, and the workplace, as well as grammar – the present tense, articles, nouns, and gender.

Ms. Ramírez Moya told the class of 2023: “I’m filled with a deep sense of pride and joy. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all my students; your enthusiasm has made this course unforgettable. Your achievements are a testament to your dedication and perseverance. I hope that this experience will encourage you to continue studying in Spanish and it will help you to excel at your careers.”

During the closing ceremony, students showcased what they had learnt during the course by doing presentations in Spanish, which included singing a Marc Anthony song, ‘Vivir Mi Vida’, playing the song ‘Colombia My Beloved Land’ on trumpet, and speaking about themselves and the course.

Author: Sheena Forde-Craigg


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