Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

William Hoffa


In my experience as a language learner and traveler, I have seen how the application of language in a meaningful context can increase students’ motivation and increase overall language proficiency. Western Washington University like many institutions of higher education does not have the resources to provide contextual language learning experiences to all of their students. This capstone will address the need for contextual language experiences through the design of a four-week Spanish service-learning course run through the Center for Service Learning at Western Washington University entitled “Learning Spanish through Community Interaction in Skagit Valley”. This course will address the needs of university Spanish students as well as a lack of interaction between the migrant and non-migrant communities in Skagit Valley, Washington. Students will volunteer with Spanish speakers at two separate partnering organizations while concurrently completing intermediate Spanish courses and reflection sessions. The course is organized with a critical approach to service-learning that focuses not only on cultural awareness but also on power structures. Additionally, David Kolb’s experiential learning theory and Robert C. Gardner’s Socio-Educational Model for second language acquisition are combined to create an environment where students can practice and increase their Spanish proficiency, as well as promoting critical reflection. The overall goal of this program is to give students the knowledge, skills, and awareness to better contribute to their community.


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | International and Comparative Education