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Guest shares foreign experience

Spanish III students traded in the monotony of workbook exercises and dialogues for a different kind of learning experience. After a week of studying Mexico, students entered the classroom on Nov. 6 to find a fiesta complete with brightly colored decorations and food from a local Mexican restaurant.

As a part of the celebration, teacher Beatriz Foth invited Diann Widaman, a bilingual children?s pastor at First Baptist Church of Reedley, spoke to the students about Hispanic culture and history.

?It?s important to share cultures with others so people do not become narrow minded,? Widaman said. ?If we learn about and understand how other people live and where they come from, we can live together with them and keep people from feeling culturally superior to one another.?

Widaman was born in the United States, however, she shares a long heritage of Mexican culture with her family.

?Family is very important in the Mexican culture,? Widaman said. ?It is not unusual to have a 40 year old brother living with your parents.?

Along with the family aspect of Mexican society, Widaman also introduced the class to authentic foods of the area.

?Its all about the flavor in Mexico,? Widaman said, ?In Spain, they aren?t accustomed to using the peppers and spices we do in Mexico. Our ancestors may have been Spanish, but we have evolved in a very different direction.?

Through time spent studying abroad in Spain, Widaman discovered first hand the major cultural differences between Spain and Mexico. One key contrast comes in the traditional dishes of the two countries.

The cuisine of Spain holds true to a more European custom, which has more of a bland and simple design. Any dish that reflects Mexican heritage is sure to encompass rich, spicy flavors that are not found in Spain.

Among the traditions celebrated in Mexico that Widaman discussed, she revealed that the famous Cinco de Mayo is more of an American holiday than a Mexican one. In fact, the day is hardly thought of in Mexico.

A more important celebration in Mexico is El D

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