News Releases

Tanisha Joseph: From Sea Lots to UWI Spanish Degree

For Release Upon Receipt - January 12, 2021

St. Augustine

Three years ago, after watching an inspirational YouTuber, UWI St. Augustine student Tanisha Joseph decided to do some research on classroom resources that she could use to teach Spanish online. Having been certified by the Venezuelan Embassy, through the Venezuela Institute for Culture and Cooperation, she was further motivated to attain her Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish to be able to introduce a way for students and adults to be able to enjoy informal learning of a second language.

“The idea arose from my own personal struggles and challenges while trying to pursue my tertiary education. While I attended Morvant Laventille Secondary School, I was only allowed to pursue Spanish in forms 3 and 4. Given this fact, people wondered why I decided to pursue a degree in Spanish at The University of the West Indies, but because of my love for the language, I knew deep down in my heart I needed to purse it,” recalled Tanisha.

However, the road to success was not without its struggles. After starting her degree in 2010, she took some time off two years later. “I could not keep up with the first year into the second year. And although I tried to teach myself certain words and phrases, I guess it wasn't enough to pursue a tertiary education in the language. I was given a letter asking me to withdraw from university due to a low GPA - it teared me apart,” said Tanisha.

Being the self-driven, persistent person that she is, Tanisha was determined to find a way to finish. She applied for two years leave in the hopes of finding a stable job to be able to save money to complete her degree. It was during her leave of absence that she decided to pursue free Spanish classes at the Venezuelan Embassy. She enjoyed this informal learning experience so much that it made her goal to host online Spanish classes seem more attainable.

“I took many loans; struggled with high blood pressure; experienced family and personal challenges and I am happy to report, although my degree did not turn out the way I thought it would (always dreamed of graduating with honours), I persevered. I have an established Spanish class that I receive great feedback from, and I try to allow my past struggles and learning disadvantages inform the way I interact with and teach learners, because I realized that throughout my journey informal teaching was always most impactful for me,” said Tanisha proudly.  Additionally, the COVID-19 restrictions and work from home arrangements were the vehicle through which she was able to finish her last course to get her degree.

Although she had many oppositional forces, Tanisha persevered and challenged herself, even when she felt like giving up. “My programme, Spanish Lessons Online (S.L.O) was first created for adults on the go who wanted to be able to learn conversational Spanish at the basic/beginners' level and didn't have time for in-class teaching was created in 2017. I never would have thought that fast forwarding to today, we all would be subjected to online learning, but I am happy I have exposed myself to the idea years ago and to be able to call myself an innovator,” said Tanisha.






Photo: UWI St. Augustine 2020 Graduate, Tanisha Joseph.


About The UWI

For more than 70 years The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has provided service and leadership to the Caribbean region and wider world. The UWI evolved from a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948 to an internationally respected, regional university with near 50,000 students across five campuses: Cave Hill in Barbados; Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda; Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago; and an Open Campus. Times Higher Education has ranked The UWI among the top 1,258 universities in world for 2019, and the 40 best universities in its Latin America Rankings for 2018 and 2019. The UWI is the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists.

As part of its robust globalization agenda, The UWI has established partnering centres with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, and Africa including the State University of New York (SUNY)-UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development; the Canada-Caribbean Studies Institute with Brock University; the Strategic Alliance for Hemispheric Development with Universidad de los Andes (UNIANDES); The UWI-China Institute of Information Technology, the University of Lagos (UNILAG)-UWI Institute of African and Diaspora Studies and the Institute for Global African Affairs with the University of Johannesburg (UJ). The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science & Technology, Social Sciences and Sport. As the region’s premier research academy, The UWI’s foremost objective is driving the growth and development of the regional economy. For more, visit


(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of “The”)