Not all countries have their own languages, in fact, far from it. The native languages of many countries are rooted in their back stories. La Academia’s Silvi Hilman hails from one such country – Argentina.
The World Atlas states, “Spanish is the most spoken language of Argentina. This fact can be accredited to the history of the country as a Spanish colony and the widespread use of the language at independence. Today, the vast majority of the population, 40.9 million, speak this language.”
Argentina; famous for its tango, its fine wines, Evita and… ‘the hand of God’!!!
When we caught up with Silvi for this month’s In the Staffroom, there was plenty of reminiscing about Argentina, where she grew up speaking the Spanish language natively.
Q Silvi, hi! It makes a change to chat with one of our Spanish teachers about a different country than Spain. We’re looking forward to you telling us more about Argentina.
A Hola! Yes, I was born in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina.
I’m the middle one of three sisters. Always fighting with both! Sisters! And Latin American spark! It’s a fiery combination.
As most people who leave their own country to live somewhere else, the most memorable memories are all around food. I have lovely memories of growing up in warm and sunny Buenos Aires. My early recollections are all around “fiestas” with my massive family, or “asados ” (barbecues) with friends.
I can still recall the tastes and smells of spending new year with the family around the pool, eating watermelon and ice-cream as a child with cousins, aunties, uncles and grandparents.
Q Do you still manage to spend any time in Argentina these days?
A Sure. We go every couple of years. I’ve passed my love of Argentina to the next generation. Even though my children are grown now, if we decide to go back to Argentina, both my children won’t miss it. And it’s great to see the family and all our friends who are still there.
Q We all have an attachment to our home countries. But what makes Argentina so special for you?
A I love the weather, the sunshine. It’s very rare to have a rainy day in Argentina, and if you do have one, you just stay in. Imagine if we did the same in Manchester? We’d always be stuck inside; we’d never leave the house!
And I adore Argentinian food! The empanadas, the alfajores, de dulce de leche… I can keep going on forever…
Q La Academia is probably best known for teaching the Spanish language. Do you have a particular field of expertise?
A I teach Spanish to the mini ones at La Academia. I love interacting with them and teaching them through songs, puppets, stories… they absolutely love it!
I love teaching adults, too, we all become great friends. I’ll occasionally tell them about some of the pickles I got in to because of the English language when we arrived here 20 years ago. I could write a book. But some of my tales are too embarrassing to share publicly!
Q And when school’s out, what keeps you busy?
A I love going for long walks with my husband and the dog, seeing friends, going for meals out and I especially love travel, going on holidays to different places every time.
At La Academia, our children’s language courses are often the beginnings of lifelong love affairs with Spain, thanks to Silvi’s fun and engaging teaching methods. Get in touch for more details about course schedules and availability.