"Los secretos de Santa Monica"

Author: Lauren Anderson

This past February 20th, Professor Botero and Mangione-Lora’s students went to Chicago to see a bilingual play called “Los secretos de Santa Monica”. This play is based on the fictional multicultural town from the popular radio soap opera (radionovela) ¡Qué Gente. Mi Gente! The residents of this small town experience adventures, romance, and conflicts typical of Latino soap operas. Students enjoyed the live performance full of drama, beautiful original music, and a comical and very entertaining script in English, Spanish and even Spanglish. After the performance the group was able to have a Q&A with the producers, directors, and the cast. Later we walked to ¡Qué Rico!, a Mexican restaurant just a few blocks away.  Students enjoyed authentic meals from chimichangas to enchiladas. After spending a wonderful day in Chicago we returned home to South Bend in our chartered bus. We are grateful for the support of the Institute for Latino Studies and for the Teaching Beyond the Classroom Grants that allowed us to have this experience.

Some selected comments from students:

“… The trip to see "Los Secretos de Santa Monica" in Chicago was a great way to increase my exposure to Spanish culture and the Spanish language. It was also super fun and an awesome way to get us students excited about learning Spanish…” Denis A.

“…The trip to Chicago was a highlight of this semester. It was a great way to experience the Spanish language outside of the classroom environment. I've always been a fan of theatre, so it was especially enjoyable for me. Also, the dinner at Que Rico was absolutely fantastic…” Moira G.

“…This trip was useful for both enhancing learning and forming relationships.  The Spanglish was perfect for our level class… This trip gave us an opportunity to get to know our professors better.  All in all, connections were made through this experiential learning excursion. So, for giving us an opportunity to better our Spanish and relationships, thank you…” Anne H.

“…I found that I understood more of the Spanish than I thought I would, which was a great feeling! The whole day in Chicago was very enjoyable – thank you so much!...” Katherine D.