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Mary Crouch at James Clemens earns grant to study in Spain

Mary Crouch has earned the Joanna B. Crane Scholarship from the Alabama Association of Foreign Language Teachers. Crouch teaches Spanish at James Clemens High School. (CONTRIBUTED)
Mary Crouch has earned the Joanna B. Crane Scholarship from the Alabama Association of Foreign Language Teachers. Crouch teaches Spanish at James Clemens High School. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – A grant from the Alabama Association of Foreign Language Teachers will help Mary Crouch to study in Spain.

Crouch teaches Spanish at James Clemens High School.

Crouch earned the association’s Joanna B. Crane Scholarship. An Auburn University graduate student, Crouch studies abroad each summer and will use the grant at the University of Salamanca, one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious universities.

Along with deferring costs, the grant will allow Crouch “to travel more and participate in more activities while in-country.” Salamanca, capital of the province of Salamanca, lies in the Castilla y Leon region and is about 200 kilometers west of Madrid.

“The wonderful thing about being in a Spanish-speaking country for me is that there is a fully constructed cultural and linguistic context. Participating in communication is strongly encouraged,” Crouch said.

“The chance to explore the culturally diverse cities of Spain is truly priceless and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Crouch said. She will visit Madrid, Barcelona, Granada and Sevilla and taste the culture with lessons in guitar, cooking and dance at the Universidad de Salamanca.

A winery tour, bullfights, kayaking and festivals also are on Crouch’s itinerary. She will live with a host family.

With these experiences, Crouch can incorporate language, culture, up-to-date techniques and second-language acquisition back in her classroom at James Clemens.

Studying and living abroad “is an absolute imperative for all language teachers. It gives one the ability to broaden perspectives and mindsets,” Crouch said.

Other American teachers will be studying in Salamanca. Crouch will take classes with other teachers and graduate students in Spanish language and literature from all over the world.

Crouch has taught in Decatur, Fayetteville, Tenn. and as a Fulbright English teaching assistant at a university in Ibague, Colombia. She earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. She expects to finish a master’s degree at AU in 2015.

Crane, the scholarship’s namesake, was an influential foreign language teacher in Alabama.

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