The purpose of this course is twofold: (a) to develop students' communicative abilities in Spanish, that is, speaking, listening, reading and writing, and (b) to increase their awareness and understanding of Hispanic cultures and societies. Homework and classroom activities are designed to help students build their oral proficiency, expand and perfect their knowledge of vocabulary and grammatical structures, improve their reading and writing skills, and develop their critical thinking abilities. The material for this class includes short stories, newspaper articles, poems, songs, cartoons, video clips and a novel, such as Cesar Aira's La Villa. At the completion of this course students will feel confident discussing and debating a variety of contemporary issues (cultural and religious practices, family relationships, gender stereotypes, political events, immigration to the USA, etc.).