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Why study Spanish at UMSL?
The Spanish Program at UMSL strives to develop learners who are both linguistically and culturally competent and ready to meet the
demands of today's competitive global marketplace. UMSL offers a broad range of coursework in Spanish from foundational courses in language and culture to courses focused on the many facets of literature, creative writing, culture and linguistics, to pre-professional courses, all aimed at developing skills for the 21st century. Our introductory-level courses are offered in different delivery modes: face-to-face, hybrid and online. We also collaborate with the School of Education to prepare future teachers of Spanish.
Dedicated Spanish faculty at UMSL seek to actively engage learners both in and out of the classroom. Students can expect a challenging, collaborative, and interactive environment in every course. Our students at all levels are a part of a larger learning community connected through the Hispanohablantes mailing list, the Spanish Table conversation group, the student organization HISLA, and numerous activities throughout the year. Many UMSL students choose to further their language skills and cultural competence through study abroad- both short-term faculty-led programs as well as summer-, semester-, and year-long programs at our partner institutions. Our short-term faculty-led programs offer students the opportunity to study in Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and Spain.
Whether you are seeking to fulfill the language requirement or planning to major or minor, studying Spanish provides you valuable skills no matter what you plan to do. You will learn to think critically, negotiate familiar and unfamiliar situations, evaluate and analyze texts, and to communicate with a variety of people. Come join our community of learners and see where Spanish will take you!
Why should students major or minor in Spanish?
Majoring or minoring in Spanish will have many benefits, including the following:
You will connect with other cultures
Spanish is the most widely spoken of the romance languages and the second most widely spoken language in the world, with roughly 400 million native speakers. It is the official language in 21 countries. An additional estimated 60 million people speak Spanish as a second language, bringing the total number of speakers to well over 500 million. Learning Spanish will allow you to interact with and better understand people throughout the world.
You will connect with Spanish-speakers in the United States
Spanish is the de facto second language in the United States. There are over 50 million Hispanics in this country. Over 30 million speak Spanish. The Spanish you study at the university will come in handy in many areas of the United States, including the Midwest. Saint Louis is home to Hispanic-owned businesses as well as non-profit organizations such as the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Hispanic Arts Council and Casa de Salud. Because of its strong presence in the United States, Spanish is an easy language to practice in day-to-day life.
You will enhance your career opportunities
Given the growing presence of the Spanish language in the United States, studying Spanish will enhance your career opportunities. Spanish teachers are in high demand at schools and universities. There is also an increasing demand for qualified translators and interpreters, particularly in the fields of health care, law and social services. Businesses are eager to hire people with knowledge of Spanish. Spanish is also valued in fields such as nursing, law, social services and law enforcement. Your knowledge of Spanish will place you in an excellent position to develop careers in sales and marketing, business management and government administration. Other careers where your Spanish will be advantageous are international relations, political sciences, journalism, tourism and travel industry.
See what some of our own UMSL graduates are doing with their Spanish degree:
“My Spanish major helps me in my everyday job as a preschool teacher, I am able to introduce words and concepts to little minds that can soak it right up! I also teach Spanish to students in different after school programs in the area through StLSpanish Classes... It's fun AND provides me with a little bit of additional income each week!”
“I believe speaking Spanish has become a necessity in the U.S. and it opens many doors to connect with Hispanic people and Latin America's rich culture. I'm working as a scriptwriter and film director and I have done many short films in Mexico in Spanish. My last film "Un mundo para Raúl", which is loosely based on a short story by Alfredo Bryce Echenique that I read during my time at UMSL, won a Student Academy Award in 2013, among many other international prizes. I'm right now working on my feature debut which will be shot in Spanish as well. Further, I opened up my own production company in Mexico City, which I would have been unable to do if I weren't speaking Spanish. Learning a new language and studying a culture allows you to see the world in a new perspective, broadens your horizon, and furthers and enhances tolerance.”
“I am currently working as an English teacher in a public high school in Spain. My UMSL Spanish major definitely helped prepare me to live in a Spanish speaking country by familiarizing me with the language, introducing me to new cultures, and providing me with several study abroad experiences. Many of the classes that I took for this major, such as Hispanic Culture & Civilization: Spain, were really useful in preparing me to move abroad. Now I am getting ready to get my Master's degree in Madrid!”
“My name is Myrta Vida and I earned a Bachelor's Degree in Modern Languages, Spanish, from the University of Missouri -St. Louis in the Summer of 2014. I had a background as a translator, transcriber, and linguist for both the Department of Defense and working freelance; however, it wasn't until I earned my degree that promising career prospects started pouring in. I now work as a reader for a multi-lingual publisher and am an editor for a highly-regarded translation website. Thanks UMSL!”
“When you choose to study Spanish, you are not just studying language. You are studying the different cultures, literature, history, writing, and much more of a language that spans over several countries. A Spanish degree gives you so much more than language and the background and exposure better positions you to take advantage of opportunities at corporations with an ever increasing global workforce.”