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California State University Bakersfield to offer Basque classes with the support from the local Basque club


Unai Nafarrate, Basque teacher at CSUB as well as for the Kern County Basque club
Unai Nafarrate, Basque teacher at CSUB as well as for the Kern County Basque club


The Basque community in Bakersfield, one of the largest in California, has made one of its dreams come true: a Basque language class on the local campus of California State University (CSUB). The course is called “Basque Language and Culture” and will be taught by Unai Nafarrate originally from Arrasate. The project has materialized thanks to the support of the local Basque club, Kern County Basque club, who is taking care of the teacher’s salary. Nafarrate, will also teach Basque classes at the club. Steven Gamboa, Professor at CSUB, has told that there are already 24 students enrolled in the University class.

Bakersfield, CA.  The Department of Modern Languages and Literature at the University of California in Bakersfield now offers a class on Basque language and culture, where students will have the opportunity to get more acquainted with the Basque Country’s language, aspects of its literature, history, and its music.   Teaching the course is Unai Nafarrete and classes are being offered on Mondays and Wednesdays from 12:20-13:50. 

This course has been a dream of the local Basque club for a long time, according to Steve Gamboa, Professor of Philosophy at CSUB, and one of the supporters of the initiative.  “We have organized various events at CSUB related to Basque studies: we host an annual symposium on Basque Studies and in 2008 we held the Euskal Herria Mugaz Gaindi conference.  But until this year we haven’t been able to offer a class on Basque Studies to our students, and with the budget cuts, it didn’t seem possible to hire anyone.”

Support from the Kern County Basque Club

This is when the local, Kern County Basque Club, got involved, “I started to talk to club members about the possibility of collaborating.  The university created a visiting professor position and handled the visas, and the club provided the financial support.  As part of the agreement, the professor also agreed to give Basque classes to members in the community,” Gamboa explained.

The university course enjoys an enrollment of 24 students; four of those are of Basque origin.  The rest were attracted by this unique opportunity to study Basque and the Basque culture,” Steve said.  Unai Nafarrate has bachelors in Basque Philology and taught a similar class last year at the University of California in Santa Barbara. 

The Basque Studies Consortium

The Basque Studies section at the university is part of the Basque Studies Consortium, a group that aspires to promote such courses at US universities.  Other consortium members include: Boise State University, the University of Nevada, Reno, Stanford University and UC Santa Barbara. “This year the consortium plans to launch an academic Basque Studies journal, complete with editorial board formed by members of the participating universities among others,” added Gamboa.

Among their immediate plans, Gamboa informed us that the next Annual Symposium of Basque Studies will take place on May 25th coinciding with the Bakersfield Basque club picnic (May 26-28, 2012).  In addition to the academic events there will also be music and cultural activities. “We have invited singer Caroline Phillips, along with her husband, Mixel Ducau and their group Bidaia to give a concert.  Caroline is originally from California, even though she lives in Iparralde,” Gamboa told us.  “They will also give a concert in Stanford.”



  • Basque-English conversation exchange

    Hello Mark, I´m Basque from Basque Country. If you like contact whit my to conversations, my email is or to my web (Basque spreading all over the world). Agur! Bye! Xabier Martin

    Xabi, 05/15/2014 08:56

  • Basque-English conversation exchange

    Hello, my name is Mark Molina, and for the last few months I have been trying to learn Euskera on my own. I recently got the great idea to contract people in the Basque Country via Skype to have an interchange, practicing English and Basque. The problem is that I received a lot of responses, more than I could ever keep up with. Many of the respondents sound very interesting and I am sure it would be a great experience for both parties. If you think that it would be productive and that some of your students would be interested in this conversational exchange program, I would like to forward these responses to your school. Please let me know if you would think that your students would like to take advantage of this. Some of the respondents are very anxious to start. Thank you, Mark Molina Fort Bragg, CA 707-961-0876

    Mark Molina, 01/25/2013 19:33

  • Answer to Mark

    Hello Mark You can create an account for free at to learn Basque on line since we do not offer classes in south california. To read about the steps to follow to set up the account, you can go to Izaskun kortazar Basque language coordinator for NABO

    Izaskun, 11/26/2012 06:34

  • lessons

    I live in southern california. is ther an internet sight i can go to for lessons in basque? thanks mark

    mark, 11/25/2012 16:26

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