Why study Spanish?
People have been speaking Spanish for more than a thousand years. Today it is the second language in the United States and the first language of more than 400 million people throughout the world. Proficiency in the Spanish language and knowledge of the cultural richness of Spanish-speaking peoples is a professional asset. In medicine and law, business and the arts, knowledge of Spanish is necessary, or advantageous for employment.
Why Spanish at Sweet Briar?
The Spanish program offers a major and a minor in Spanish, a Latin American studies minor and teaching licensure in Spanish. Incoming students are placed in levels ranging from beginning to advanced, depending on their skills. Small classes and free tutoring provide all students the opportunity to attain an advanced level of language proficiency. Since Spanish has a profound literary tradition, and is increasingly the language of the struggle for social justice, advanced proficiency allows for personal enrichment.
The Spanish major is a rigorous program requiring substantial achievement in language skills, including 33 credit hours above the intermediate level. Sweet Briar’s liberal arts curriculum provides the flexibility to combine a Spanish major or minor with any other academic program. Business majors add a Spanish major or minor to increase competitiveness in the international marketplace. Combining Spanish with biology, environmental studies and international affairs is also common.
A weekly Spanish Mesa in the dining hall and Spanish Club activities offer on-campus opportunities to converse in Spanish and learn about Hispanic cultures and traditions. Every year, a student from Spain is invited to work as an assistant in the Spanish program, serving as a resource for our students for language practice, tutoring and cultural information. Sweet Briar students often participate in our nationally recognized JYS in Seville program or in other approved study-abroad programs in Spain or Latin America. In fact, more than 90 percent of the College’s Spanish majors spend a semester or year abroad. Scholarships are available to help students who may have financial need so that everyone may take advantage of this unique experience.
What can you do with a Spanish major?
Spanish majors have won the Presidential Medal and have presented original research at the annual Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference of Undergraduate Scholarship. They have been inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Delta Pi, the national collegiate Spanish honor society. Many of our graduates have continued their studies in graduate school; some have earned the doctorate in Spanish and teach at the university level. Others have careers in the foreign service, law, medicine, social work and elementary and secondary education. Recent majors teach abroad or in Teach for America and serve in the Peace Corps. Our students consistently report that they were able to acquire that all-important, first good job or gain entry into the graduate school of their choice because they spoke Spanish.
The Spanish program is part of the languages and cultures department. Information about the other program in the department can be found on the following website: