Why study Spanish? The reasons seem obvious in today’s world. Knowledge of the Spanish language and those countries and people who speak it is an invaluable asset in the workplace and in creating personal relationships in a global society. The Spanish program at Sweet Briar College provides students the opportunity to experience the variety and richness of the Hispanic world through the study of its language, history, literature and cultures. Welcome to the exciting adventure of expanding your world!
The Spanish section offers a major and a minor in Spanish, a Latin American studies minor and teaching licensure in Spanish. Incoming students are carefully placed at the appropriate level depending on their skills, from beginning to advanced. Small class size and free one-on-one tutoring give each student the opportunity to reach the advanced level of language proficiency; this enables her to appreciate the cultural production of the Hispanic world (literature, film, music, journalism) in the original language.
The Spanish major is a rigorous program requiring substantial achievement in language skills, including 33 credit hours above the intermediate level. And because Sweet Briar is a liberal arts college, you’ll have the flexibility to combine your Spanish major or minor with any one of our other academic programs. For example, more and more business majors are adding a Spanish major or minor to compete in an increasingly international marketplace. Combining Spanish with biology, environmental studies and international affairs are other popular options at Sweet Briar.
A weekly Spanish Mesa in the dining hall and Spanish Club activities also provide on-campus opportunities to converse in Spanish and learn about Hispanic cultures and traditions. And each year a student from Spain is invited to work as an assistant in the Spanish program, where she serves as a resource for our students for language practice, tutoring and cultural information. Sweet Briar students have the opportunity to participate in our nationally recognized Junior Year in Seville (JYS) 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 all may take advantage of this experience.
Our Students and Alumnae
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. Their Sweet Briar foundation prepares them for a wide variety of careers. They go on to graduate school and employment in many fields: some have earned the doctorate in Spanish and teach at the university level; others are employed in fields such as the foreign service, law, medicine, social work and elementary and secondary education; and others find adventure in Teach for America or the Peace Corps or teaching abroad. They tell us that one of the most important reasons they were able to acquire that all-important, first good job or gain entry into the graduate school of their choice — no matter what field — was that they were able to speak Spanish.