In an effort to broaden the horizons of one young Caymanian, the honorary consulate of Spain in the Cayman Islands recently held a fundraising dinner with a distinctly Spanish feel at Luca restaurant. Spanish Consul Garth Arch speaks about the fundraiser and consulate’s new scholarship.
General Manager of National Concrete in the Cayman Islands, Garth Arch, fell in love with Spain and its people years ago after an immersion course, which he undertook in Granada.
“My Spanish teacher in high school, Mr. Ward, was a huge influence during my school years when it came to developing my love for the Spanish language,” he says.
Arch finally got the opportunity to visit Spain after completing his studies and work experience in the US.
“At the age of 26 I had the chance to take a sabbatical prior to returning home to Cayman, so I enrolled in a three month Spanish language course in Granada,” he says. “In the end I stayed over a year. It was a fantastic experience.”
Arch has been the Spanish consul for the Cayman Islands for two years and it has been his desire to provide a young Caymanian with the opportunity to enjoy a similar experience, so he created a new consulate scholarship to send one young UCCI student to Spain.
This year’s scholarship recipient is Kayla Manderson, who will experience an eight week immersion course at the University of Granada, having been chosen from several students who applied for the scholarship.
The consulate’s Spanish dinner concert (see page 27), which included stunning Flamenco performances, raised sufficient funds to pay for Kayla’s travel expenses, accommodation and tuition fees.
She says she is thrilled to be the recipient.
“I enjoy studying Spanish and hope to be absolutely fluent in it one day, even though it comes with its fair share of challenges sometimes,” she says. “I expect that the honorary consulate of Spain scholarship will be a big adventure for me. I have never travelled overseas alone and to travel so far solo will be my first accomplishment and I am looking forward to it.”
Kayla says the scholarship is also important to her because she had no plans to study abroad.
“So, eight weeks as an exchange student is an exciting opportunity I could not resist. Although there are many perks to this scholarship, the most important aspect for me is the language course. I fully intend to apply myself to the fullest and get the best out of this experience,” she confirms.
In terms of her career hopes, Kayla says she has narrowed it down to two options: law or education.
“I have yet to decide on which and so hopefully I will return with a firm decision,” she says.
UCCI Dean Brian Chappell says that UCCI is excited to have partnered with the honorary consulate of Spain in offering this scholarship opportunity to one of its students.
“This scholarship provides an opportunity for a top student to be rewarded for their hard work and dedication to their studies. Not only will Kayla be part of an intensive Spanish language programme, but she will also benefit tremendously from the complete cultural immersion. UCCI would like to congratulate Kayla for her achievement with this rare opportunity and we wish her the greatest success with the programme,” he says.
Arch says he anticipates the fundraiser and scholarship will remain an annual event.
“It’s so important that we in Cayman take advantage of the opportunity to learn another language, particularly Spanish, given our proximity to Central and South America and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean,” he says. “In my business, for example, we liaise with Spanish-speaking suppliers, so Spanish is extremely important for cultivating good business relationships.”
Arch hopes schools will introduce Spanish at a much younger age so children will be exposed to the language as early as possible, making it easier for them to learn it properly as they grow up.
He says he is delighted with the outcome of the Spanish consulate’s fundraiser to give a young Caymanian the unique opportunity to live and study in Spain and says he has many people to thank.