Southwestern

Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

Spanish

The Spanish program offers courses for new learners of Spanish, native speakers of Spanish, and everyone in between.  Through courses that explore language, literature, film, history, linguistics, and related areas, we promote critical thinking, global understanding, cognitive skill development, lifelong learning, interdisciplinary connections, and skills for the 21st century global marketplace.

What the Spanish program does:

Facilitates critical inquiry in the interrelated disciplines of language and culture.

Studying language in cultural contexts encourages students to explore multiple perspectives, to develop informed views, and to acquire the skills to build communities and act as agents of change. We see language as the door to studying other cultures through literature, film, history, politics, and religion. The Spanish language is just the beginning.

Increases global understanding—on campus, in the community, and worldwide.

Taking courses in a second language allows students to view issues from new perspectives. Many students who study a language work in fields in which respecting the worth and dignity of others is a central component. Courses in the Spanish program encourage connections with the local Spanish-speaking community through civic engagement opportunities. In addition to the courses that we teach on campus, we also teach courses abroad that expose our students to new, challenging, and unexpected circumstances which force them to think critically, to develop their character and their capacities as global citizens, and to consider active and fair responses to the world’s current conflicts. Our program prepares students to live, understand and effectively interact with diverse populations, values, and systems of thought. Alumni report that majoring in Spanish had a huge impact on their sense of identity and their understanding of themselves and the world.

Sharpens cognitive and life skills.

Studying a second language has been shown to increase critical thinking skills, creativity, and flexibility of mind. It also helps improve language skills in the native language. Read more about the cognitive benefits of being bilingual here: http://dana.org/news/cerebrum/detail.aspx?id=39638 and http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/06/second-language-infographic_n_4136915.html

Promotes lifelong learning.

Students who become interested in a second language continue to seek out opportunities to work, visit, or interact with people from other cultures. Alumni report that their Spanish major gave them the confidence and ambition to explore the world and connect with people from around the globe, cementing a love of travel and fomenting lifelong relationships.

Encourages interdisciplinarity.

We offer upper level courses that help our students establishing meaningful connections across various departments and/or disciplines. Our courses contribute to or are cross listed with interdisciplinary programs such as Paideia, Latin American Studies, International Studies, Feminist Studies, and Race and Ethnicity. We also cover a wide variety of interdisciplinary interests, including the study of citizenship, nation, race, ethnicity, gender, social justice, class, place, and the environment.