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Spanish Overview

español

Students of Spanish at UMBC are continually learning to cross borders, cultural, social, psychological, and national borders. They acquire:

•  Fluency in the Spanish language
•  Knowledge of various cultures
•  Intercultural competencies and skills designed for a globalized society

The study of Spanish at UMBC features:

• An interdisciplinary curriculum
• A thematic organization of courses
• Study abroad in Latin America and Spain

 

Spanish is already the second language in the United States and Latinos are the largest minority population.  Relations among the United States, the Latin American republics, and Spain are of increasing importance, and these trends are sure to continue.  Thus, it is probable that in the not too distant future all educated Americans will want to know Spanish. The usefulness of acquiring proficiency in the Spanish language and knowledge about the cultures of Spanish speakers is by now widely recognized. Knowledge and skills in Spanish are advantageous in all professions. The study of Spanish is booming, and there are many good university Spanish programs.  Most university language programs focus almost exclusively on language and literature.  Not UMBC.  So:

Amy Harrison Grasso BA: 2000, Spanish (MLLI) and Biology; MA: 2002, INCC; JD: 2006 (Georgetown) "One of the most phenomenal aspects of the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics at UMBC was the quality of the professors whose approachability and passion for teaching matches their academic accomplishments. Through my undergraduate studies in Spanish and graduate studies in Intercultural Communication, I developed the foundation for a very successful legal career."

Amy Harrison Grasso
BA: 2000, Spanish (MLLI) and Biology; MA: 2002, INCC; JD: 2006 (Georgetown)
“One of the most phenomenal aspects of the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics at UMBC was the quality of the professors whose approachability and passion for teaching matches their academic accomplishments. Through my undergraduate studies in Spanish and graduate studies in Intercultural Communication, I developed the foundation for a very successful legal career.”

What’s special about Spanish at UMBC?

At UMBC the study of Spanish is part of the major, minor and certificate programs of the department of Modern Languages Linguistics, and Intercultural Communication (MLL).  The MLL faculty, which includes a unique combination of specialists in linguistics, sociology, cultural and literary studies, intercultural communication and pedagogy has been pioneers in developing an interdisciplinary curriculum for over two decades.

In the interdisciplinary MLL major program, Spanish students join those of other languages in a common core of three courses that stress linguistic and cultural analysis. Therefore, an integral part of acquiring proficiency in Spanish language and knowledge of the cultures of Spain, Latin America, and Latinos in the United States, is learning about the fascinating dynamics of languages and cultures in general.

Spanish courses address a variety of cultural, sociological, literary and linguistic themes. UMBC Spanish students learn about the histories, the cultures, and the social problems of the societies in which Spanish is spoken. Classes in advanced Spanish courses are small and offer the opportunity for individual interaction with professors.

Intercultural communication

At UMBC, an exceptionally diverse campus, we understand that all cultural analysis is intercultural, and a unique aspect of the UMBC MLL program is the focus on intercultural communication. Along with gaining language proficiency and cultural knowledge, our students study intercultural theory and practice and acquire intercultural skills and competencies.  Dr. Adriana Medina of the Spanish faculty is the departmental specialist in intercultural communication and the coordinator of the undergraduate Intercultural Communication Certificate. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in her specialization, and she brings an intercultural focus to all Spanish courses.

Latino students at UMBC

The Spanish area offers two language courses (SPAN 304, SPAN 305) specifically designed to meet the needs of heritage Spanish speakers. For further information on courses and to get in contact with the Hispanic-Latino student organization on campus (HLSU) contact Dr. Ana María Schwartz Caballero.

Latinos in Maryland research

The research of a member of the Spanish faculty focuses on Latinos in Maryland.  Dr. Sara Poggio, a sociologist, teaches courses which draw on her studies of Latin American families in Maryland.  Advanced undergraduate students also have the opportunity to participate in her local research projects on Latin American and Caribbean immigrant women in the Baltimore-Washington area.

Sean Carmody, June 2008 "UMBC in Mexico is definitely the best thing I ever did in my life. I learned more Spanish there, had more fun there, and saw more beautiful places and people there than I had ever seen in my life, and I'm sure that the other students who participated in the program with me would say the same."

Sean Carmody, June 2008
“UMBC in Mexico is definitely the best thing I ever did in my life. I learned more Spanish there, had more fun there, and saw more beautiful places and people there than I had ever seen in my life, and I’m sure that the other students who participated in the program with me would say the same.”

UMBC in Mexico and other study abroad programs

Every fall semester, UMBC sends a group of students to the Centro de Enseñanza para Extranjeros (CEPE) at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). These students have the opportunity to study in one of the most important universities in Latin America and to experience the vibrant culture of one of the world’s most exciting cities. The cost of the program is typically less than a semester at UMBC. Students also study in other cities in Mexico, Argentina, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Spain, Chile, and other Spanish-speaking countries. Students return from study abroad with dramatically improved proficiency and new social and cultural knowledge that will serve them the rest of their lives. They typically earn approximately 15 credits per semester which transfer to UMBC, and most forms of financial aid are applicable.  Spanish faculty members and Mr. Brian Souders, assistant director of study abroad, (souders@umbc.edu), advise students regarding their selection of an appropriate program.

The Spanish-Speaking Cluster of the Intercultural Living Exchange
Aubrey Gallo 2008 (Fourth from the right) Study Abroad: Valparaíso, Chile "I lived on the ILE floor in Harbor for two years, and I definitely made some of the best memories in college on that floor. . . . I am thankful for the experiences that I had at the ILE, and I hope that UMBC will always have a safe haven for language majors."

Aubrey Gallo 2008 (Fourth from the right)
Study Abroad: Valparaíso, Chile
“I lived on the ILE floor in Harbor for two years, and I definitely made some of the best memories in college on that floor. . . . I am thankful for the experiences that I had at the ILE, and I hope that UMBC will always have a safe haven for language majors.”

The Intercultural Living Exchange (ILE), a residential community in Harbor Hall promotes second language proficiency through immersion in the Spanish language and contact with Hispanic cultures. Students living in the Spanish-speaking cluster of the ILE have organized Spanish chat hours, study abroad presentations, Spanish and Latin American film events, culinary activities, Hispanic holiday celebrations, as well as cultural excursions to concerts, plays and art exhibits.  Residence in the ILE helps prepare participants for study abroad and provides continuity for students returning from an international education experience.

Internships

Through internships students combine the study of Spanish and modern languages and linguistics with an employment related experience that may lead to a career path.  The Department of Modern Languages & Linguistics can provide students with placements in local and international internship positions related to their study of the Spanish language and culture.  All Spanish majors and minors are encouraged to include this experience in their course of study.

Major Track Options  

Students select either a one-language (Spanish) or two-language (Spanish and a second language) option.

One-Language Option (43 credits)

•  9 credits: MLL 190, 230, 301
•  22 credits: SPAN 202, 301, 302, 307, 308, 311, 312
•  6 credits: SPAN 401, 402 (note: 400-level courses require a term paper or equivalent written assignment)
•  6 credits of elective SPAN courses at the 300 or 400 level


Two-Language Option (43 credits)

•  9 credits: MLL 190, 230, 301
•  13 credits: SPAN 202, 301, 302, 401
•  3 credits: SPAN 311 or 312
•  6 credits of SPAN on the 300- or 400-level, to be chosen in consultation with the student’s advisor. At least one course must be at the 400 level.
•  12 credits in a second language above 202, taught in the target language

Note: 16 credits must be taken in courses taught in Spanish.


Minor Program (22 credits)

A minor in Spanish combines well with any major. Speaking more than one language and knowing about more than one culture is a definite advantage in any career. Required courses are:

•  3 credits: one MLL core course  (MLL 190, MLL 191, MLL 230, MLL 301)
•  10 credits: SPAN 202, 301, 302
•  9 credits of SPAN courses at the 300 or 400 level


Certificate in Spanish Studies (17 credits)

•  SPAN 201
•  SPAN 202
•  SPAN 301
Certificate electives (choose two):

•  MLL 213:  Film and Society in Spain
•  MLL 218:  Film and Society in Latin America
•  MLL 280:  Introduction to the Spanish-Speaking World
•  ECON 387:  Economic Development of Latin America
•  POLI 377:  Latin-American Politics
•  Any SPAN courses above 301

Note: All courses in fulfillment of the Certificate in Language Studies must be completed with a grade of “B” or higher.

And after graduation?

Edward Warner, 
B.A. Political Science ’04, MA Intercultural Communication ’07. “After completing an undergraduate major in Political Science and a minor in MLLI-Spanish, I went on to do my MA degree in Intercultural Communication with a focus on Spanish. The teachers in the MLLI department pushed me to hone my language skills and introduced me to the injustices of human rights abuses in Latin America, and I have worked in Guatemala extensively on human rights cases. I am currently studying at Georgetown University Charles Hamilton Houston Summer Law Institute. Law schools have been receptive to me as an applicant because they know I have a second language expertise and I have experience working in human rights. The MLLI department added a special shine to my professional portfolio.”

Edward Warner, 
B.A. Political Science ’04, MA INCC ’07.
“After completing an undergraduate major in Political Science and a minor in MLLI-Spanish, I went on to do my MA degree in Intercultural Communication with a focus on Spanish. The teachers in the MLLI department pushed me to hone my language skills and introduced me to the injustices of human rights abuses in Latin America, and I have worked in Guatemala extensively on human rights cases. I am currently studying at Georgetown University Charles Hamilton Houston Summer Law Institute. Law schools have been receptive to me as an applicant because they know I have a second language expertise and I have experience working in human rights. The MLLI department added a special shine to my professional portfolio.”

Graduate schools

Many MLL majors and minors go on to graduate studies in a variety of areas –for example law, medicine, social work, health sciences, and education, as well as language, linguistics and culture– at some of the best graduate schools in the country.

Employment opportunities

Fluency in the Spanish language and knowledge of Spanish-speaking cultures are now sought after in many area and are significant marketable skills.  Our graduates pursue a variety of career paths, in health, law, government, non-governmental agencies, social work business, and others.

Want to teach?

The Spanish area works closely with the Education department to offer an integrated course of studies to those who wish to obtain a teaching certificate. All teacher education programs at UMBC require the completion of an academic major. Students may major in Spanish and complete teacher education programs in secondary education, in elementary teacher preparation education, or in early childhood education.

 

For further information about the MLLI Spanish program, please contact Spanish area coordinator Dr. Ana María Schwartz Caballero