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Aside from studying abroad, the single biggest way students can improve their language skills and gain a deeper understanding of Hispanic culture is by stepping into their own backyards to meet and help the Hispanic population of Richmond, Virginia. Professors in the department are strongly committed to outreach and service and emphasize ways students can use their language skills to better their community.  

Students regularly volunteer in elementary schools with a large Hispanic population, visiting for an hour at a time to read children’s books in Spanish to school kids. At medical clinics, LALIS students and faculty provide translation services, offering immigrants a voice to describe their ailments effectively and guarantee proper medical treatment. By establishing relationships with Hispanic families, students learn about the many reasons Hispanics immigrate to the United States and about the problems they face, both in their home countries and this country.

Students can earn one unit by taking “Spanish in the Community” (Spanish 301) and dedicating themselves to volunteering in the Hispanic community for a semester. Students register for the course and track their volunteer hours, scheduling meetings with the director of the department’s outreach program as needed. For more information about outreach, contact us.