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Parents Challenge Language Barriers in Parents’ Weekend

Expressing support for their children, Latino, monolingual parents eagerly attended UCLA’s 2014 Parents’ Weekend. While filling lecture halls and beaming with pride over their college students, Spanish-speaking parents proved the language barrier was not a hurdle.

UCLA’s 15th annual Parents’ Weekend, held from October 31st through November 2nd, is a family event that draws in thousands of families from around the world. Unfortunately, this three-day event offers lectures and workshops exclusively in English.

Despite the language barriers of Parents’ Weekend, Latino, monolingual parents make a point to attend the annual event.

Among such parents are Hector Hernandez and Jovita Hernandez, both of whom originate from Michoacán, Mexico. Despite a limited understanding of English, they make an effort to attend the event.

For the Hernandez family, Parents’ Weekend allows them to rally behind their daughters Alia Hernandez, a second year human biology and society major, and Elena Hernandez, a UCLA alumna with a degree in history.

Because their daughters are first generation college students, they feel the need to go above and beyond to express support for their children.

“Es importante alimentar al bebe, hasta en los 24 años,” said Hernandez.

Originally from El Salvador, Pedro Alarcon Quijada and Rosa Alarcon Granadeño also make sure to participate in Parents’ Weekend to support their son, also a first generation college student. They note that parents’ support is crucial for graduation and retention rates.

“El tiempo de calidad con nuestro hijo es muy importante. El se tiene que sentir soportado por nosotros para que no sienta que no se va a graduar,” said Pedro Alarcon Quijada.

After attending lectures and expressing gratefulness for UCLA, both families expressed desire for Spanish presentations, “o por lo menos aparatos de traducción,” said Quijada.

Despite a limited understanding of English, both families enjoyed the kind environment created by UCLA, where parents from numerous backgrounds stand united in support of their students.

“Es una gran experiencia poder conocer a profesores tan educados. Estoy muy agradecido por lo que UCLA ha hecho por mis hijas,” said Hector Hernandez.