The Organization of Latin Americans (OLA) was created at the end of the Spring 2015 semester. Our aim is to promote the understanding of Latin American cultures across campus. It is also a great opportunity for students to get to know fellow Latin Americans and speak together in their native language.
The biggest event the Organization has held was Mariachi Night during the Fall 2015 semester. We celebrated Mexico’s Independence Day in September with piñatas and authentic Mexican food. The mariachi band played traditional Mexican songs from the moment the doors opened until the event was over. It was a great opportunity to share our passion for Mexican culture with the rest of the John Cabot community, and, for a few hours, feel as if we were back home.
We had another opportunity to share our culture with the community at the Day of the Dead event. Known as All Saints’ Day in other parts of the world, in Mexico we mourn our dead by celebrating their lives. We cook their favorite food, light candles, and set up an altar for them in the cemetery or at home. For the celebration at JCU, we set up an altar and watched a film called “The Book of Life”. We chose this movie because it explains the origins and importance of the Day of the Dead.
The Organization of Latin Americans is a great resource for students from Mexico, Central America, and South America: even though we are all from different countries in Latin America, being able to speak Spanish and share similar cultures makes being away from home a bit easier.