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Articles on Spanish:
   Major in Spanish
   A future in Foreign Language
   Foreign Language Major...A Closer Look
   Explore a Major in Spanish

Major in Spanish

Article by Rachelle Wiggins

It is to the glory of God that [we] become more connected with our ever-increasing global community… We will be more effective witnesses for Christ when we attempt to learn the language of our friends from different cultures and languages.” ~Janet Davis

About 18% of the U.S. population is now Hispanic. Studies estimate that there are 50 million Spanish speakers in our country today. Worldwide, Spanish is the 2nd most widely spoken language on the earth and the official language of 21 countries. Whether you are a native Spanish speaker, or just beginning to learn the language, a major in spanish will allow you to speak, write and read the Spanish language. These are desirable skills in a market that is increasingly global. Whether your goal is to work in business, education, government, communications or social service, a spanish major will prepare you for a career that effectively interfaces with a Spanish speaking population in the U.S. or around the world.

An appreciation for those from other cultures and an adaptability to different environments is crucial for anyone majoring in a foreign language. Some of the other traits necessary for a spanish major include strong communication skills (both oral and written) since you will spend much time working with translating, editing and interpreting. In order to become fluent in a foreign language, it is important to be driven and dedicated, seizing every opportunity to gain additional experience with native speakers—whether this means seeking out volunteer or tutoring experiences, an internship, on-line communication or international study. Immersion has been proven to be the most effective way to thoroughly learn a language. Those who push themselves, take risks with speaking the language and persevere for the long haul are those most likely to effectively master their language of choice!

Spanish is an interdisciplinary, liberal arts major, meaning you will draw from other fields of study and take broad-based core classes in addition to your Spanish classes.  Be prepared to participate in class discussions in Spanish, attend lectures, performances or poetry readings in Spanish, or be asked to create a Spanish website. It’s highly likely you will be required to study oversees for a semester. In addition to learning the linguistical side of the Spanish language, you will study Spanish literature and culture in great depth. Some of the classes you might take include:

  • Spanish Civilization and Culture
  • Intro to Textual Analysis in Spanish
  • Conversational Spanish
  • Literature in Translation

The skills you’ll gain as a spanish major are transferable and diverse. Depending upon your career goals, it is not uncommon for a spanish major to earn a double major or go on for further study in order to prepare for a career in law, medicine, government or any number of other professions. It is impossible to cover the wide scope of career opportunities available to those who are bilingual and well-versed in a second culture, but some of the more common examples are:

  • Education: post-secondary teacher, college professor, textbook writer 
  • Business: international relations consultant, banker, branch manager 
  • Communication: foreign news correspondent, international broadcasting/ publishing, advertising
  • Culture: travel agent, cultural events coordinator, tour guide, missionary
  • Social services: vocational counselor, case worker, health care worker
  • Translator/interpreter in any of the above fields

If you are passionate about working with a Spanish speaking population around the world or right in your neighborhood, then perhaps a major in Spanish is the next step God has for you!