Learning a second language may be easy and enjoyable for some, but it can be hard, frustrating and disappointing for others. Learning a language requires time, patience and effort, but the rewards of learning a second language are priceless.
Professor Xánath Caraza de Holland teaches Spanish II and Intermediate Conversation and Composition II at UMKC.
Originally from Xalapa Veracruz, Mexico, Professor Caraza came to UMKC in 2002 to get her Master’s in Romance Languages. After graduating, she started teaching assistant, later became a professor.
“I love and enjoy teaching,” Caraza said. “I like to help people discover the Latino culture through language. Becoming proficient in a second language is like living in two worlds; you’re in two languages all the time.”
“Learn as many languages as you can and enjoy the process of learning,” Caraza suggests. “Learning a second language will open the world and give you many opportunities in many ways, personally and professionally. ”
Besides teaching, Professor Caraza expresses her passion for literature and the Spanish language through poetry, short stories and fiction.
Her works have been published in important magazines, blogs and newspapers like www.circulodepoesia.com, a literature site in Mexico.
Her work has also been published in Pegaso, a journal of the University of Oklahoma, in its 2009 and 2010 annual editions. She has published work in Pilgrimage Magazine, Quercus Review, La Bloga and Utah Foreign Language Review, among others.
Among some of her works one can find: “Woman’s Work: The Short Stories” (Gril child press, 2010), “Cuentos del Centro: Stories from the Latino Heartland” (Scapegoat Press, 2009), “Primera Página: Poetry from the Latino Heartland” (Scapegoat Press, 2008) and “Más Allá de las Fronteras” (Ediciones Nuevo Espacio, 2004).
She is a member of several Spanish language organizations, including Latino Writers Collective, American Literary Translators Association (ALTA), Writers Place and Con Tinta among others.
Caraza said an important part of her job is to “Promote Latino culture and Latino writers.”
“We Latinos create art, books, literature, theater and film industry,” she added.
Students like Sydney Llewellyn, a communication studies and Spanish double major, enjoy how Caraza shares the Latino culture and encourages students to learn more about it.
“Señora Caraza does a great job of making her students aware of the exciting Latino events in Kansas City,” Llewellyn said. “For example, Professor Caraza once invited us to a Spanish poetry reading where she was reading her own poetry. In her classes we not only learn Spanish as a language, but we also acquire cultural knowledge.”
Her knowledge, experience, involvement and passion for the Latino culture and the Spanish language inspire her students to enjoy learning a second language.
Caraza motivates students to immerse themselves into the Latino culture, helps them get a better perspective of Spanish language and Latino culture and makes learning a second language interesting, enjoyable and challenging.