Staff Spotlight: Anneyé on Growing up in Cuba, and Her Love for Writing and Teaching

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My name is Anneyé Blanco. I’m a Spanish Teacher and Spanish Academic Coordinator at CLC Montreal. I was born and raised in Sibanicú, a small town in Camagüey province, Cuba.

I’ve always loved languages. As a child, I used to “read” Russian and German magazines, and make up stories from the unintelligible words. I fell in love with English during my teen years. That’s one of the reasons why I decided to pursue university studies in English Language with French as a Second Foreign Language at Universidad Central “Marta Abreu” de Las Villas. I’d love to learn other Romance languages, like Italian and Portuguese. I’d also like to learn some basic Japanese to communicate with my Japanese colleagues at CLC.

I’ve recently published a piece about my childhood, “An 80’s child in Communist Cuba.” If I were to describe this period in a few words, I’d quote a song by Carlos Varela, one of my favorite Cuban songwriters, “I didn’t have Santa Claus or a Christmas tree . . . and as such I could live inventing toys once a year.” Despite the economic crisis caused by the Soviet Union disintegration, I had a happy childhood. Playing with friends on the street and hearing stories on the porch around a homemade oil lamp is what I remember the most.      

My favorite hobbies are writing and reading. But if you had asked a few months ago, I would’ve said drawing, playing chess and dancing Zumba. I’ve been doing the first two since my childhood.

My passions are teaching and writing. I love them because they allow me to share my experiences, knowledge, and views of the world with others. Most of all, they enable me to be a constant learner and expand my horizons. Pursuing graduate studies at Concordia University fueled my passion for teaching. My professor of Methodology was a great source of inspiration: she became my role model as a language teacher. I also taught two courses of Spanish there and facilitated a Spanish Conversation Workshop—they were both very enriching experiences in terms of professional growth.

Regarding writing, my passion for it came out from my need to put my thoughts on paper and develop my creative side. I write every day—it’s like caffeine. (I still need a cup of coffee in the morning, though.) I write mostly in English. For the moment, I am exploring different types of writing—poetry, short stories, essays. I would like to write a book someday, so this is definitely a step towards that goal.

I’ve been living in Montreal for seven years. I came to pursue a teaching exchange between the University of Havana and College Montmorency. I was a teacher in the former. (I’m not that old—I was in my twenties when I came.) I love mostly EVERYTHING about Montreal. Its multiculturalism and open-mindedness are two of my favorite things. The biggest challenge is being far from my family. I’m glad I stumbled across CLC during my job search!

My typical day at CLC consists of teaching Spanish (private and/or group courses) and doing curriculum development. As the Spanish Academic Coordinator, I also conduct interviews/placement tests with potential teachers and students, respectively. I like the atmosphere at the school because there is a sense of community and familiarity that makes everybody feel welcomed and at ease.  

Aside from an old file with Chess and National Contest Winner diplomas (and a most cherished Master’s Degree in Hispanic Studies), my biggest accomplishment is being able to speak different languages and, thus, communicate with people from all over the world.  The most significant difference has been connecting with people with different cultural backgrounds. Besides, CLC has allowed me to gain valuable experience in adult teaching and academic coordination.

CLC is a place where you’re going to meet very talented, open-minded individuals. As a student, you’ll enjoy honing your language skills in a relaxed atmosphere, in (and outside) the classroom. If you are a teacher, you’ll be thrilled to find a place where you can interact with teachers, students, and staff on a daily basis. Like I mentioned before, CLC is a community, a place where you can make new amigos!

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