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      Students say hola to Espanolandia

      N o habla Ingles aqui (don't speak English here)!

      T his was the message hung on the walls of the Northern Michigan University Great Lakes rooms Tuesday during the 22nd Annual Spanish Day.

      H igh school Spanish students immersed themselves into the Spanish language and culture by travelling to Espanolandia, a hypothetical Spanish country created by NMU students.

      "I think they're getting a lot out of it by being able to converse in Spanish at least, and then just do other daily activities because they don't get this in high school every day," said NMU Spanish and Zoology major Brooke Linn.

      "It's really fun, because you get to talk to other people and everybody is speaking Spanish, and I've never experienced something like that so it's really fun," said Quincy Russell, a junior at Marquette Senior High School.

      Once students entered Espanolandia, they were not allowed to speak English or they'd find themselves in a makeshift jail cell!

      NMU students created booths throughout the "country," such as a supermarket, customs, a bank, and even a pharmacy.

      "As a student, you learn better when things are hands on and you're forced to be in a position where you need to use your knowledge. So when I'm here, sometimes I don't realize how much I know until all of a sudden I need to pull for the words from my brain," said Anissa Godfrey, a senior at Gladstone High School.

      Students participated in Spanish competitions like skits, songs, and a Spanish form of quiz bowl.

      "Just the conversations that everyone is having with me is really helping me with it," said Boston Borke, a sophomore at Gwinn High School.

      Many of the students say being forced to use their Spanish skills has helped them apply what they've learned in high school.