GCC’s BEST Center to Offer Spanish Classes

‘Survival Spanish’ Series Focuses on Workplace Communication

Batavia, NY- Recognizing that over 55 million Spanish-speaking people make up the United States population, and that businesses across Western New York have customers, employees, patients or colleagues that speak Spanish, the Business and Employee Skills Training (BEST) Center at Genesee Community College has announced a new ‘Survival Spanish’ series. Each of the four sessions is perfect for beginners of “español” focusing specifically on medical, business, agricultural and law-enforcement professionals.


“I am very excited about these new, practical classes,” Jan Montanye-Castillo, course instructor said. “Many of the participants will immediately want to learn essential phrases and specific vocabulary to use on the job or in the community. There will be a question and answer period in each class to begin addressing those needs.”


Montanye-Castillo is originally from Pennsylvania. At age 16, she became a Rotary Exchange Student to Mexico, where she married and lived for 32 years, teaching English and Spanish during much of that time. In 2007, Jan returned to the U.S. with her family and she now coordinates a medical-dental outreach program for migrant farmworkers in Western New York.


In each interactive class, students will learn the proper terminology, body language and strategies to provide quality service to customers or improve productivity with employees. Courses will be taught by first-language Spanish speakers, Montanye-Castillo, and also by Deputy Sheriff Ivan Carrasquillo. Both instructors have experience working in the medical, business, agricultural and law-enforcement fields in the Western New York area.  


Deputy Carrasquillo, of the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office, has 26 years of law enforcement experience and received the Deputy of the Year Award in 2011. He holds an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice from GCC and currently serves as a school resource officer for several school districts in Wyoming County. Carrasquillo grew up in a bilingual Spanish-speaking family and has assisted in numerous criminal investigations with interpreting skills and translations.


The courses are all taught at GCC’s Batavia Campus with the following schedule:

  • Medical Spanish  (Tuesday nights) January 17 – March 7, 2017, 6 – 8 p.m. / Batavia Campus

Topics may include, but are not limited to, physical problems, emergency situations, preventative healthcare, cultural understanding, making a personal connection with patients, questioning patients about their symptoms, gathering and conveying basic information, informing and instructing about on-scene emergency treatment, hospital supplies and much more.


  • Business Spanish  (Thursday nights) January 19 – March 9, 2017, 6 – 8 p.m. / Batavia Campus

Topics may include, but are not limited to, telephone conversations, customer service, handling complaints, money transactions, compensations, contracts, human resources, cultural understanding, finances, invoicing and investments.


  • Agricultural Spanish (Thursday nights) March 16 – May 11, 2017, 6 – 8 p.m. / Batavia Campus

Topics may include, but are not limited to, machinery, crops, animal care, animal body parts, cultural understanding, communicating with veterinarians, facility terminology, technology, daily conversation, and emergency situations.


  • Law-Enforcement Spanish -Open to law-enforcement professionals only (Monday nights)  April 3 – April 24, 2016, 5 – 9 p.m. / Batavia Campus

Topics may include, but are not limited to, legal and illegal situations; describing vehicles and traffic violations; describing drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs; how to query witness or suspects; describing people – ethnicity, sex, age, hair color, physical characteristics, clothing, legal status, etc. In addition, directional words, commands, interview scenarios, who, what, when, where, why and how questioning, numbers, colors and the Miranda Warning will be covered. Sample dialogues to assist with realistic work-day situations will also be provided.


“I encourage anyone who is considering taking one of these courses to have no fear!” Montanye-Castillo added. “Expect to relax and have fun. ¡Tú puedes aprender español! (You can learn Spanish!)”


Each of the four ‘Survival Spanish’ sessions is $226 for the 16 hours of instruction. Beyond the ‘Survival Spanish’ series, the BEST Center will also offer a Spanish for Beginners course for those that want to learn a new language. It will be offered at the Batavia Campus on Tuesday nights from March 14 – May 9, 2017 from 6 – 8 p.m. Topics may include, but are not limited to, greetings, phrases, common day-to-day situations, commands, directions, colors, numbers, body parts and food. Relax, enjoy and learn!


To register for classes, visit the BEST Center website at www.bestcenter.org or call (585) 345-6868. For further information on the BEST Center offerings, including other courses or non-credit programs, contact program coordinator Jennifer Wakefield at jgwakefield@genesee.edu or by calling (585) 343-0055 ext. 6602.


For more information, contact Marketing Communications Associate Director Donna Rae Sutherland at (585) 343-0055 ext. 6616, or via email: dsutherland@genesee.edu.


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