¡Presente! Gallery Visit Brings Students Closer to their Heritage, Course Content, and Community

In line with Georgetown’s mission to offer students with opportunities to “build community, and empower lives of purpose, service, and leadership,” Curriculum Enrichment Grants (CEGs) offered by CNDLS support course-related activities that strengthen the intellectual climate and provide students with first-hand experiences and exposure to the material they read about in their coursework.

Professor Levenson (Spanish and Portuguese) incorporated Georgetown’s Curriculum Enrichment Grants in her Advanced Spanish for Heritage Speakers course to organize a field trip to the National Museum of the American Latino’s ¡Presente! Gallery exhibition.

Levenson’s field trip to the ¡Presente! Gallery centered recognizing multicultural identities. Levenson reported that, “the interaction between shared American and Latino identities is complicated, but both identities are of great importance. We visited the gallery to show students that their Latino identity has been shared by generations of people with their common heritages and histories. Their Latino identities are valuable, powerful, and fundamental to informing their worldview and that of millions of others.”

Levenson’s students shared their reflections following the field trip. We’ve collected some of their insights below:

Enriched sense of identity 

A few students in Levenson’s class were moved by the gallery’s displays of Mexican culture, feeling a sense of pride and personal connection to their heritage. One student, Olga, mentioned, “I enjoyed listening to the life stories and experiences of Latines from all walks of life and identities within the United States. It reminded me that not all Latines look the same, and that fact does not diminish our individual experiences.” Another student, Brenda, said, “The more contemporary artifacts and archival items made me feel especially proud of the accomplishments of the Latino community as I could see myself represented in many of them.”

Bringing course content to life 

The opportunity to be exposed to course content outside of the classroom granted students a stronger grasp of the significance behind their syllabus content. Phillip agreed with this idea: “The exhibit itself was very informative and helped reinforce the rich levels of diversity within the Latino community. Seeing the exhibits in person really brought what we discussed in class to life.” Olga added: “Having discussed topics like immigration and cultural integration in class, it was exciting to see artifacts, other archival items, and more information in general related to them… I would certainly recommend this experience to future Herencia class students as it put into context many of the topics we covered in class, as well as related to my own heritage/family.”

Building stronger relationships 

Participating in field trips and course activities with fellow students and faculty off-campus offers the space for both peer and faculty relationships to strengthen, which can then support  the classroom dynamic, once everyone returns. Following their trip to the gallery, Phillip said, “going as a group allowed me to hear from my peers and professor, who in some cases, had a connection with the items on display. The lunch was also wonderful because I felt like I got to know my classmates a lot better. Beyond mentioning all of our takeaways from the exhibit, we had a relaxed outlet to just talk and to enjoy each other’s company.” Clarissa shared her thoughts on this, as well: “I’m really glad I was able to attend this trip and do think that it created a great relationship with my peers and Profesora Levenson.”

Apply for a curriculum enrichment grant by submitting this application, which CNDLS accepts on a rolling basis. See our Funding Opportunities page for more details and examples of other faculty CEG projects. 

References

University mission statement. Governance. (2019, June 19). https://governance.georgetown.edu/mission-statement/