Children, teenagers and adults can experience what it is like to live in a Spanish-speaking culture at a new event planned for November at West Virginia University.

Sponsored by the WVU Extension Service and the WVU Department of Foreign Languages, participants are invited to enjoy this cultures cherished traditions at the Spanish Language and Culture Immersion Retreat CHISPA (Campamento Hispano Internacional Siempre Amigos) Nov. 1-3 at the NationalResearchCenter for Coal and Energy on WVU s Evansdale Campus.

Attendees will learn from instructors who are native speakers of the language and live in Columbia, Venezuela, Honduras, Spain and other countries. Sessions are tailored to each participants age and ability level. Activities include films, music, art exhibits, games and dances.

“The retreat is an educational and entertaining experience which will teach people of all ages and knowledge levels about Spanish language and culture,”said Richard Fleisher, WVU Extension specialist and co-coordinator of the retreat.”Recent world events are teaching us that we need more understanding of other countries and cultures.”

Learning another language is becoming increasingly important in the global economy, Fleisher noted. Research has shown that learning a second language enhances studentsskills in their first language. Career opportunities and job-seeking skills improve for those who know a second language, he added.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, West Virginias Hispanic population has increased 10 percent in the last decade, and the current Hispanic population in the U.S. is 35 million. By 2050, one-fourth of U.S. citizens will speak Spanish as their first language.

Cost for the three-day event is $98 for adults and $78 for students, which includes activities, some meals and instructional materials. Fees for those attending Saturdays activities only are $68 for adults and $62 for students. Senior citizens 60 years and older are eligible for a fee discount.

Registration forms and payments will be accepted through Oct. 18.

Brochures and forms can be obtained through WVU Extension Service county offices and the WVU Department of Foreign Languages. For more information, contact the WVU Extension Service at P.O. Box 6031, Morgantown, W.Va., 26506-6031, Attn: Suzanne Gribble; by phone at 304-293-2694, ext. 3442; or e-mail: .