Marta Escartín, Program Director
A native of Zaragoza (Spain), Marta has her M.A. in Hispanic Philology from the University of Zaragoza and is currently working on doctoral thesis on second language acquisition. She loves classes, an arena where she could express her passion for language, literature and life, in general. Coordinator for SILC, a French teacher association, during the last 17 years, Marta pioneered the first program in Zaragoza to host foreign students for a week at a time to live in families and take Spanish classes. It was there that Marta was bitten by the bug for teaching Spanish as a second language.
During the last 12 years, Marta has been working as a Spanish language and literature teacher at School Year Abroad (Spain). She prepares many of her students for the AP Spanish Language and the DELE (the only official Spanish language diploma recognized worldwide for further studies and employment). In 2007-2008 she requested a leave from SYA to teach for one year at Choate-Rosemary Hall in Connecticut where she could delve more directly into the American culture and the world her students come from, thus achieving a better, firsthand understanding of her students’ experience abroad. In 2009 she traveled again to the States to work at Middlebury Monterey Language Academy (MMLA) as a Spanish teacher and to prepare the basis for this summer program.
In what little spare time she has, Marta is an avid mountaineer and educator of outdoor experiences, and she organizes groups of SYAers on weekend hikes and ski trips.
Languages, communication and tolerance are some of the most important ingredients of her favourite recipes for the table and life!
María Ángeles Errazu, Spanish Teacher
A leading figure in the SYA Spain staff, Ángeles helped found the host family community in Zaragoza in 1998 when the school moved here from Barcelona. No stranger to international education, she began her studies at the French Institute of Zaragoza and completed them at the University of Zaragoza with an Education degree, followed by a Master’s and Doctorate in Spanish Philology, being honored with the Premio Extraordinario de Licenciatura. Later, she completed further courses at the Institute of Science and Pedagogy, granting her national accreditation (ANECA) to teach at the college level.
For over 30 years Ángeles has been teaching Spanish literature and language classes at all levels, including university, starting at the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Education of Zaragoza. That momentum carried her into the SYA ranks where she has been teaching a variety of subjects: Spanish Language, Spanish Literature, AP Spanish Literature and Spanish Journalism. After ten years as Host Family Coordinator, she stepped down and focused on textbook writing and the creation of our Phonetics program.
The Fernando el Católico Foundation awarded Ángeles with a prize for extraordinary research and an endowed fellowship for her dissertation. She has participated in numerous programs and conferences, published four books and several articles, and is a member of a variety of professional associations in the field of Spanish literature and language. When not frolicking around with SYA’s Summer School students, Ángeles occasionally give classes and talks at outside schools and universities or travels to the coastal village of Salou to put her feet up and enjoy the Mediterranean air.
Soledad Gutiérrez, Spanish Culture Teacher
Sole is a long-time veteran of SYA – 14 years and counting – and a passionate advocate for the arts. In addition to earning her Master’s in Art History, Sole did a post-graduate program in Cultural Management at the University of Barcelona in 1993, she worked in the professional art world organizing exhibits for contemporary artists, mounting exhibits for artists Manuel Nietro, Beato, and Francis Mean at Gallery 500 in downtown Barcelona. Recognized for her success in this area, Sole worked at the Tapies Foundation of Barcelona and with independent curator Rosa Martínez on international projects like “En el espíritu de Fluxus,” “Thinking of you” at the Kontshalle in Goteborg (Sweden), and those of other Spanish artists. Once in Zaragoza, Sole was hired by the Pablo Serrano Museum to set up similar shows with local artists like Roberto Coromina, Santiago Gimeno, and others. In parallel, Sole published articles on Zaragoza artists Martín Durbán and Marín Bagües in the local art magazine Revista Pasarela de la Artes.
Sole’s contagious passion for the arts has inspired her to lead SYA groups to artistic and cultural landmarks all over Zaragoza and, on school trips, throughout Spain. Four years ago she created an art elective, Contemporary Art and Its Roots to continue her favorite focus in the arts and help students become more actively involved in the creation of new art. This is the fourth year she has taken her students to see the well-known collections of contemporary art in Paris. Countless graduates from her classes come back to share their passion as art majors and lifelong culture vultures, like their inspirational teacher Sole.