December 31, 2015 by  
Filed under Learning Spanish and Bilingualism

Here is a great New Year’s Blog posted by Transparent Spanish and reposted with permission. My New Year’s Resolution is to post more regularly to this blog. I am organizing the office as I write this and have completed digital conversion of Levels 1-3 for Conversational Spanish. One more level to go and that project will be complete. Stay tuned for HUGE GROWTH for Habla Language Services in 2016, including more Medical Spanish and Legal Spanish classes as well as planning for Costa Rica 2017 Immersion Program. There may even be a trip to Cuba involved!!

Spanish Language Blog – New Year’s Eve and traditions in Spain

New Year is here and this is one of the most important celebrations in Spain. Do you feel like brushing up your New Year vocabulary? Check out our previous posts on this subject. You can also check posts on Christmas vocabulary, Christmas food and the Spanish Christmas lottery.

Let’s go through some of the traditions in the Spanish-speaking world for this very special and last night of the year.

Las 12 uvas (The 12 grapes)

In Spain the tradition for New Year’s Eve is organized around grapes. Yes, grapes. Every December 31 at 11:55 p.m., families and friends gather in the local main square to listen to the bells tolling at midnight to indicate the change of year. While the bells toll, you are expected to eat one grape after another, up to the 12 grapes that take us to the following year. There should be a wish connected to each of the grapes.

The change of year is always broadcast from the Puerta del Sol tower clock, where this tradition started, so most families actually gather around the TV or radio. The broadcast is kind of tacky and old-fashioned, but totally worth watching.

The most important part of this tradition is actually not choking with the grapes, as they fill up your mouth trying to follow the pace of the bells. You should try it out some time! Here’s a video on 2014-2015 change of year.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Lencería roja (Red underwear)

In Spain people usually use red underwear (braguitas y calzoncillos) on this night, to bring good luck and love for the following year.

Bear in mind it should be brand new. In other places in Latin America, for example, the colour they choose is yellow (in Colombia) and pink (in Argentina).

Los propósitos de Año Nuevo (New Year’s Resolutions/Intentions)

It is typical in Spain to make New Year Resolutions. Here you have a list of the most common ones:

  • Perder peso. [lose weight]
  • Trabajar menos. [work less]
  • Ejercitarse más. [work out more]
  • Aprender un nuevo idioma. [learn a new language]
  • Acostarse más temprano. [go to bed earlier]
  • Despertarse más temprano. [wake up earlier]
  • Ser más agradecido. [be more grateful]
  • Dejar de fumar. [quit smoking]
  • Reclamar menos. [complain less]
  • Aprender a cocinar. [learn how to cook]
  • Beber más vino y menos cerveza [drink more wine and less beer]
  • Ser más paciente [be more patient]
  • Pasar menos tiempo en Facebook [spend less time on Facebook]
  • Leer más libros [read more books]

¡Feliz año nuevo!

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Spanish Christmas Camp for Children – Fiesta Navideña

December 3, 2013 by  
Filed under Learning Spanish and Bilingualism

Give your children the bilingual edge. Have them learn Spanish in a fun, interactive environment serving Campbell and San Jose, CA.

christmas camp

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¡¡Explora!! Spanish Summer Camp For Kids in Campbell, CA

Give your children the bilingual edge. Have them learn Spanish in a fun, interactive environment serving Campbell and San Jose, CA.Spanish for kids, Summer Camp Campbell, Summer Camp San Jose

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Get Ready for Spanish Finals!

April 30, 2013 by  
Filed under Learning Spanish and Bilingualism

I am available to tutor you or your child for Spanish finals. I have the grammar background and experience to help with high school through college level. I taught high school Spanish for Heritage Speakers as well as Level 3. I have also tutored many Spanish 2 students and have worked with children including preschool age.

I majored in Language & Culture Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz and received honors. I took many Spanish courses including the path for native speakers. However, I learned Spanish as a 2nd language, so I know what questions and doubts you may face when trying to make sense of all the grammar. I can help with communication as well. Contact me. I have a reduced rate if you come to the Habla Language Services classroom. Or, May 6-24, I can come to your home or study area.

I also have a Master’s Degree from the Monterey Institute of International Studies in Hispanic Studies and worked as an interpreter for the U.S. Department of Justice.

I served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Costa Rica for 2.5 years and also studied in Mexico and Chile. When you hire me as a tutor, you are getting an expert in language and culture.IMG_4297

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Short-term Contract for Spanish Teachers

February 5, 2013 by  
Filed under Learning Spanish and Bilingualism

Short-term contract opportunity for Spanish teacher in NYC, Atlanta, Houston and Jacksonville. Must live there or be within commuting distance. Contact Angela directly. This is for teaching adult professionals.

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The Happenings at Habla Language Services

January 31, 2012 by  
Filed under Learning Spanish and Bilingualism

Here’s what’s going on at Habla:

  • Beginning Spanish Class tentatively planned for Mondays between 10 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
  • Intermediate Spanish Class: Tuesdays at 2:30, but somewhat flexible.
  • Advanced Spanish Class: Mondays 2-3 p.m.
  • ESL Adv. Beg: Mondays 6:30-7:30 p.m. (may add or switch this)
  • Medical Spanish Workshops: Feb. 25-26 and March 10-11; 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

I have kept my Thursdays free so that I can go out and meet with various business contacts to discuss teaching either English or Spanish. I work with your schedule and venue. If you’d like me to come to your place of work to teach either English or Spanish let me know. I have experience teaching English to restaurant servers and will be working on getting certified for CE units for Spanish for Chiropractors and Medical Spanish workshops. I also have experience in many more areas, so contact me and let’s see how I can meet your English or Spanish needs.  I continue to work at bridging the language gap between English and Spanish speakers.

We are looking at doing Costa Rica July or August 2013 and will be updating the website soon.


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Latin American Film Festival

September 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Learning Spanish and Bilingualism

Due to popular demand, here is the document you have requested for the Latin American Film Festival.  I just ask that if you access the Latin American Film Festival document, you write a quick comment here on my blog and please become a fan of my Facebook Page.

Also, I am giving it to you in MS Word form so you can edit it according to your needs. Please remember to give me credit (I inserted my name in the footer). Have a fantastic Spanish Heritage Month!!

Please note that prior to the film festival, I sent home permission slips to their parents. For those that did not want them to see certain movies, I gave them alternative research assignments. They went to the library while I was showing the movie and researched a related topic.

Also, I first had them work in groups doing oral presentations on Latin American countries. Then they got to learn more by seeing the movies. They had to turn in a written journal on each of the movies. If it was a short YouTube video, one or two sentences were o.k. If it was a long movie, I required at least a page. I had them type it, so I could read them more quickly and effectively. I showed a total of 20 movies and each one was worth 10 points, so it made grading easiest to give due weight to this project compared to the oral reports and a few other things we did 2nd semester.

Remember, these are native speakers that needed work with amplifying vocabulary and improving their written skills. We spent the 1st semester in the text book studying vocabulary, reading comprehension, and grammar. All they wanted to do was watch movies. So I let them watch movies until they were SICK of them. They had to pay attention and write their thoughts on each one. For the full-length movies, I gave them a lesson on how to write a movie summary and review. If they were absent during a short movie, they had to make it up. If they were absent during a long movie, I gave them an average score for that particular movie (or you can do whatever works for you to make grading easy and fair.) When a movie allowed for Spanish selection, we watched it in Spanish, or with Spanish subtitles. Many of my students were actually stronger in Spanish than English anyway.

  1. Venezuela: YouTube: Venezuela, Angel Falls, Delta Canaima, www.witaga.com
  2. La República Dominicana: You Tube: Republica Dominicana un país inagotable
  3. Costa Rica: YouTube: Costa Rica [campaña oficial ICT]
  4. Costa Rica: www.olivafilms.com Choose the versión español
  5. Cuba: YouTube: Cuba Travel Doc – Part 01 AND Cuba Travel Doc Part 02
  6. Puerto Rico: YouTube: Puerto Rico: The 51st State?
  7. Peru: YouTube: Macchu Pichu from user: denniscallan
  8. Panama: Panama Deception, Netflix
  9. Argentina: Evita (PG)
  10. Cuba: For Love or Country, Netflix (PG-13)
  11. El Salvador: Salvador, Netflix (R)
  12. Nicaragua: Under Fire (R) Netflix Instant Play
  13. Guatemala: When the Mountains Tremble (Netflix Instant Play)
  14. Ecuador: Globe Trekker: Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, Netflix
  15. South America: Motorcycle Diaries (R), Netflix Instant Play
  16. Uruguay: YouTube: Documental español sobre Uruguay user: zeva2002
  17. Honduras: YouTube: Hoduras Querida, user: puntarock1
  18. Bolivia: YouTube: Bolivia Pueblos Indigenas, user: roncon
  19. Paraguay: 11 minute documentary from Frontline: http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/paraguay604/video_index.html.
  20. Colombia: Plan Columbia, Netflix Instant Play



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Training for Spanish Now Available for Download

June 27, 2011 by  
Filed under Learning Spanish and Bilingualism

Due to demand to have Habla Language Services Workshops available virtually, Gina Covello has recorded her workshops and they are now available through automated download.

You can also choose physical upgrades to receive the booklets or flashcards that go with the workshop. Some documents are free and the workshops vary in price from $4.95 to $69.95. You can use Paypal or Google Checkout to pay for the products you wish to purchase. See Habla Language Services Digital Training Page for more information on the products for sale which include:

  1. Basic Spanish
  2. Spanish for Chiropractors
  3. Spanish for Homeowners
  4. Spanish for Bankers and other Financial Experts
  5. Spanish for Construction
  6. Spanish for Missionaries (including purchasing a translation of your testimony)
  7. Mexican Fiesta Workshop and Package
  8. Résumé Writing Tips (Free)
  9. Bilingual Avon Recruiting Brochure

A note about Gina Covello, the founder of Habla Language Services. Ms. Covello has a Master’s degree in International Policy and Hispanic Studies with an emphasis on translation and interpretation from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. Her undergraduate degree from the University of California includes English Literature with a double major in Language and Cultural Studies (honors). Her studies have included a semester at the Escuela Americana de Traducción e Interpretación in Santiago, Chile and a quarter at the UNAM in Mexico City. She is also an alumna of the United States Peace Corps, Costa Rica. Ms. Covello has an Adult Education California Teaching Credential and over fifteen years’ experience teaching English, Spanish, and Business Communication. She is also a member of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.

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Medical Spanish Workshop for Health Practicioners

July 27, 2010 by  
Filed under Learning Spanish and Bilingualism

“I’m a nurse, why do I need to know Spanish?” When you know Spanish, you increase your marketability if you are looking for work and your job security if you already have a job. Typically, you do not have be completely fluent in Spanish; you just have to be communicative.

We are offering a series of two 2-day workshops. By participating in these workshops,  you instantly increase your employability. Class 1 meets February 25-26, 2012 and Class 2 meets March 10-11, from 9:00-4:00 in San Jose, CA.

These workshops are geared toward beginners and we recommend that you participate in both to fully learn the competencies covered.  At the workshops, you will learn how to:

  • Conduct patient intakes
  • Give treatment instructions
  • Role-play typical scenarios
  • Ask questions specific to your circumstances
  • Use present, past, future and command forms of verbs

Certificates of Participation will be issued. Contact us for more information or to sign up.


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Practice the Spanish Basics

December 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Learning Spanish and Bilingualism

O.k. I don’t LOVE this, but it is kind of cool to be able to click on the words all in one place to hear the pronunciation. It is a little strange using children’s voices. And we do not use ordinal numbers for the dates of the month in Spanish – maybe in Spain they do. But it is good practice for the ordinal numbers nonetheless.  I think this is definitely from Spain, but you can still use it to practice some of the basics. For a really intensive, interactive workshop, contact us; we go over this content and more!

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