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Livia Sales-Genoves

Director of Spanish House, at Nazareth College


I studied law for 5 years in the University of Valencia, Spain, and when I finished my studies as a lawyer, I had the opportunity to teach a Labor Law course for high school students. The experience was wonderful; from then on, I knew what I wanted to do in my professional life. I taught for 21 years in Spain, and I was an advisor and coordinator for my students’ internships. My role as a student’s counselor and professor needed a high level of dedication, but it was worth it. Now in Rochester, I have the good luck to teach Spanish and to keep in touch with students; that makes me happy. I like to work in this country because I can see the differences between students from Spain and American students. It’s very interesting how the culture influences the behavior of young people. I would like to write a book about this topic.

The first thing I did when I came to Rochester was look for a place to be with students. In 2015, I was a volunteer at the Spanish House at Nazareth College. Five months later, the former Director of the House told me: “the Spanish House is now yours, I want to retire”. Since that moment, I have built a relationship with the Latin-American community in Rochester and currently we have some programs like:

  • Spanish Reading Book Club for intermediate Spanish level with people of the community who want to improve their Spanish language.
  • English Club with Esteban, for Latin/Hispanic people who want to learn English.
  • Learning Spanish through games for children from 4 to 12 year old.
  • Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, we celebrate it with Art exhibits, Open House, folklore dance…Spanish House was awarded for its commitment to preserving and celebrating Spanish Heritage Month authentically on behalf of the Governor of New York State, Governor Andrew Cuomo on October 2019.
  • Conversation hours with students.

As a lawyer and Spaniard, I was invited to be member to the Spanish Language Advisory Council of Alzheimer’s Association. On March 2017, the organization had the 6th Annual Spanish Language Conference, and I spoke about “Legal and Financial Planning.”

Even though I put all my effort into my work, I still enjoy doing activities outside the job. My two favorite things to do are swimming at the gym and hiking in the wilderness. I love these because I use them as a self-reflection technique, and they help me collect my thoughts on a daily basis.

I think I am a perfect Spanish professor--not because I am better than other professors, but because I am trying to improve my English and that makes me feel like I can relate and understand my students better. I always begin my classes by telling them, “I need your English as you need my Spanish.” That is the sentence I use to break the ice.

Right now my goal is to teach Spanish and to promote my language and culture around the Rochester community.