Adrian Espinoza Staines

May 2019

If you can't get into Irene Alonso Aparicio's course, take him. He's sooooo chill and fun to have. Very relatable and understanding. You won't feel pressured if you're spanish isn't perfect, he's super understanding and will take the time to personally help you out. Adrian is soooo underrated and doesn't believe he's a good professor but he is. Cons: He doesn't post powerpoints until the chapter is finished so you cant follow along with the slides, have to take notes. Take him!

Dec 2016

Adrian is a passionate instructor that expects you to engage with the material. If you don't know a lot about Spanish and Latin American history he won't hesitate to explain things to you. This is one of the best classes I've taken at Columbia. There should be an option to take this instead of CC. The readings were all relevant, except the religious texts at the beginning which were really difficult to read. However, Adrian explained everything and was always open to provide background information and handouts in english to help us understand! Although this class is known to be challenging, it was worth it because Adrian made it interesting, so at times it didn't even feel that hard. It was cool that sometimes Adrian would adapt the discussion based what we were actually interested in talking about. Even though Adrian can be very sarcastic, which might make you feel judged for being completely lost because his accent can be difficult to understand, he's actually a funny and encouraging professor that is willing to help you do well in the class. This class is more "about learning" than anything else so he doesn't like mundane summaries and does not judge you if you make Spanish mistakes as long as you bring up something interesting. Although he is not an easy professor, and sometimes the workload might seem impossible, he makes his students, including non-native speakers, feel comfortable and welcome to contribute to the class discussion. He even brings food and snacks to class!

Jan 2015

Adrian is an incredibly kind person and an excellent, knowledgeable instructor - I enjoyed Hispanic Cultures II despite the department-mandatedly boring curricula. Despite the weekly readings which were often pretty mundane (but challenging), Adrian enriched our academic experience with his own knowledge of the topics and texts covered, encouraged classroom debate, and understood when we were confused or sleep-deprived during midterm season. I HIGHLY recommend this class, but mostly recommend any class Adrian teaches - he is a gem and one of the smartest and most compassionate instructors and people you'll find at Columbia. If you participate enough, attend class, and write papers that exhibit dedication to the topics, you'll get a grade you're happy with.

Dec 2013

Absolutely one of the best Spanish classes I have ever taken. The course material was interesting, albeit very depressing at times. Most of what we read or watched was in Spanish (obviously) and was very well-organized to take us through Mexico from the 1910 Revolution through the modern drug trafficking happening today. There were one or two duds in the readings (that is, material that appeared to be a poor choice) but outside of those, most of it could be easily understood and gave us insights into the history of Mexico. There was also a trip to see a real Day of the Dead altar, which was pretty nice too. Adrian himself, however, really made the class stand out. He has a really laid back demeanor and can be really funny at times. His Spanish can be a bit fast at times but if you ask him what a word means or ask him to repeat himself, he'll gladly oblige. He seems really dedicated to helping you understand the language first and foremost, and has positive things to say about every student. It can be hard to feel that your Spanish is good or even adequate, but Adrain will really help you feel like, yes, you can do it. And it's not just language he'll help you with! If you're struggling to come up with an essay topic, or want advice, he'll point you in the right direction. I wanted to write about something before it was formally presented in class, and he suggested an awesome resource and gave me pointers. As for grading, his grading is very generous. A lot of the work is mostly credit/no credit (at least I think it was, he never really was clear about it) and he appears to appreciate insights more than actual language. That's not to say he doesn't care about his language, but if you can make good points he'll appreciate them even if you're struggling with Spanish. All in all, I wish I could take this class again! If you get the chance, please take this class, you won't regret it!