Have you been thinking about majoring in Spanish but want to know more about the field of study? Would you love to work in an intercultural capacity after graduation but not sure what kinds of practical opportunities are out there? Do you love the Spanish language and culture but not sure if a degree will pay off in the long run?
With over 37 million Spanish speakers in the US and 350 million in the world among 21 Spanish speaking countries, being bilingual in Spanish is one of the most valuable skills you can bring to your future career. Explore reasons you should major in Spanish, below including what you can do with the major and what to expect after graduation.
Majoring in Spanish opens a world of possibility
One of your goals if you decide to major in Spanish is probably to become as fluent as possible. After all, the skill you want to list on your resume is that you are able to confidently communicate in more than one language! The best way to achieve fluency is to immerse yourself in a Spanish speaking country. If you become a Spanish major you will quickly find a world of travel opportunities open to you.
Whether you choose to take a vacation, stay a semester, or go abroad for a full year, taking your studies abroad will open doors to not only increase your fluency but also learn about the culture you are pursuing your degree in.
Spanish speaking countries you could travel to:
Not only will travel help immerse you into the language and culture, tune your ear and dramatically increase your fluency; you will also build confidence in yourself, develop intercultural communication skills, and learn self-reliance and creative problem solving skills – all things that will give you an edge in your future career.
Spanish pairs well with other fields of study
Many former graduates will probably tell you that pairing your Spanish major with another field of study will open up more practical career options after graduation than just majoring in Spanish alone. Unless you plan to pursue a higher degree like Master’s or Doctorate which would allow you to teach at a university, pairing your Spanish major with another major or minor will give you an edge above the competition in the workplace.
Before taking the plunge into majoring in Spanish, ask yourself what you see yourself doing after college to put bread on the table and live out your passion.
- Do you like helping people? Pair Spanish with a major or minor in Social Work.
- Are you interested in the medical field? Consider adding a double major in Nursing.
- Do you want to start your own business or get paid to travel? Take classes in International Business during your college career.
- Are you passionate about politics or looking for a government career? Consider pairing Economics with Spanish.
- Wanting a creative career in the arts? Pair Marketing or Advertising with Spanish for potential future opportunities to reach Spanish-speaking customers.
The combinations are endless! While most employers might not care if you have a double major, they will care about the skills and qualifications you bring to the position you’re applying for. While you might be bilingual in Spanish, many employers will wonder what else makes you qualified for the job. What better way to show your qualifications than to pair your Spanish major with practical coursework in another field?
Speaking a second language broadens your network
You will quickly find that when you become a Spanish major and begin your travels abroad, your network of contacts increases exponentially! The friends you make during your time abroad will likely become lifelong friends.
I can confidently say that during my travels and experience that came into my life because of my Spanish major opened up my network of contacts that I have come to rely on as friends, business contacts, and support network since graduation.
Potential new contacts you will make thanks to your Spanish major:
- Professors – your Spanish professors will be the contacts you rely on to not only learn the language and culture, but will be the ones to write you letters of recommendation for travel abroad and potential future jobs.
- Native Speakers – more than likely, your university’s Spanish department will hire native Spanish speakers to work with students during the academic year. You will have the opportunity to learn about their language and culture, learn different accents, and potentially make good friends with them that you might visit or keep in touch with years after you leave college.
- Fellow Students – as students, you’re all in it together. Build your network of fellow students through studying, joining clubs, and going abroad together. These will become contacts you can use in the future to learn about potential career opportunities once you all go out into the real world.
- The Locals – during your travel abroad as you complete your Spanish studies, you will come into contact with locals every day. Take time to talk with the locals, whether it’s with a host family, at a university abroad, when you’re out exploring your new home away from home. These will become lifelong contacts and great resources of info if you ever decide to look for work abroad.
Being bilingual is a valuable skill in the workplace
Being bilingual is a tremendous skill to have in the workplace.
With many immigrants currently living in the US whose primary language in Spanish, workers are needed to effectively communicate in almost every field!
Having bilingual fluency listed on your resume will surely catch the eyes of future employers.
Below are just some fields requiring bilingual fluency in Spanish:
But why major in Spanish and not another language?
First and foremost, if you are considering majoring in a language, it can be a tremendous commitment, so choose the language you are passionate about! You will only enjoy your studies and college experience that much more and will bring a strong level of commitment to working towards fluency.
- Unlike some other languages, much of the Spanish speaking world still conducts business primarily in their native language. If you travel to some Asian or European countries, for example, much of the time business will be conducted in English, but in Latin America and Spain, the native language almost always dominates.
- Learning Spanish opens up a multitude of markets in which to find a job. If you are interested in finding work outside of the U.S., you have 21 countries to choose from in which you will be functional in the language and culture! Unlike some other languages that are specific to only one or a few countries, limiting your job market.
- You don’t have to travel or work abroad to use your Spanish skills. Most anywhere you go in the U.S. you will be sure to be able to use your foreign language skills, as opposed to some other languages in which speakers are primarily found abroad.
How I made my Spanish major work for me after graduation
I am proud to say that I have continually found opportunities in which to use my Spanish language skills. During college, I paired my Spanish major with a double major in Communication.
After graduation, I got a full time job working at a language and immersion camp program in my home state of Minnesota. During that year, I worked with native Spanish speakers from a variety of Spanish-speaking countries like Argentina, Mexico, Costa Rica, Spain, Colombia, Peru, and more. We designed programming and taught Spanish in a fun immersion environment to kids, adults, and professionals.
After that year, I applied for a grant program to teach English through the Minister of Education in Spain. I taught English at a bilingual elementary school in Madrid and gave private tutoring lessons. The program required an advanced level of Spanish to participate and I can confidently say that my level of fluency dramatically increased.
Upon arriving back to the U.S. I took a couple of jobs as a Customer Service Representative where I used Spanish with callers on a daily basis.
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Now in my current role as a Communications Specialist for a large company, I frequently work with fellow Spanish speaking coworkers in Monterrey, Mexico.
If you are passionate about the Spanish language and Hispanic culture or are looking for a major that will open up career possibilities, majoring in Spanish will surely broaden your network and the skills and experiences you learn will stick with you for a lifetime.
If you need even MORE reasons to learn Spanish, check out this video, below!
9 Reasons to Learn Spanish
Are you considering a major in Spanish? What are your current concerns? Have you graduated with a degree in Spanish? What are your recommendations for students who might be considering it? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Ronald E Franklin from Mechanicsburg, PA on January 21, 2016:
I'm glad to see this encouragement for people to major in Spanish. Although Spanish was not my major, I studied on my own before taking some Spanish classes in graduate school. As a seminary student I spent summers in Mexico, and I was able to preach (with a lot of encouragement and help from the people of the congregation) in Spanish. I'm sorry to say that I've regressed after years of non-use, but I still love the language. Congrats on your HOTD!
Kathleen Cochran from Atlanta, Georgia on January 21, 2016:
Congrats on HOD! My daughter double majored in French and Spanish and is now a civilian logistician for the Army. No, it has nothing to do with her languages. She got divorced and needed a better paying career from the work she was doing as a translator for an international insurance firm. There seemed to be lots of jobs in customer service for foreign language, but after Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude her prospects in Richmond, VA were disappointing. Had she lived a little closer to D.C. I'm sure she would have had many more opportunities in her field.
Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on January 21, 2016:
Congratulations on HOTD!!
Well done. I have never studied Spanish. In junior high, and later at community college, I took French. Why? It's part of my heritage. Sadly, there was really no one around to practice with, and I had no budget for travel. Even though I was offered the opportunity for a semester in France, I was unable to go, both financially, and because I had delayed going to college until my own kids were in junior high and high school, so I had obligations at home I could not abandon.
I never became fluent; if I hear French being spoken, I can tell it is French, and pick out a few words, but if trying to have a conversation, I have to tell the speaker to speak slowly. :-(
As a California native, I belatedly figured out (in my 40's!) that Spanish would have been a more useful language to have learned. As it is, my Spanish is limited to place names, some foods, and a couple of minor phrases such as "no mas." So I couldn't even check 'beginner' in your poll. ;)
C'est la vie! ;-)
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on January 21, 2016:
Congrats on HOTD! I took French in high school and college. But this is a sound idea to expand your horizons and to go further.
RTalloni on January 21, 2016:
Congrats on your Hub of the Day award for this post on majoring in Spanish. There are so many good reasons to learn other languages, but what you note about Spanish makes this hub valuable.
Jeff Boettner from Tampa, FL on January 21, 2016:
Interesante artículo me encantó! Excelente consejo para cualquiera que esté buscando para ampliar su horizonte!
Geri McClymont on January 21, 2016:
Great article. As you mentioned in reference to Spanish, the best way to learn any second language is by immersing yourself in it by living in a country where that language is spoken. The number of Spanish speaking people in the U.S. continues to increase, which means an increasing number of job opportunities in our country for people who speak Spanish. Congratulations on your HOTD.
FlourishAnyway from USA on January 21, 2016:
Terrific options for combining a passion for language with realistic ways to make it in the career world. Congratulations on HOTD! Great hub.
WheelerWife (author) from Minnesota on August 04, 2015:
Hi quicksan - very cool! I lived in Madrid for about a year. Beautiful city!
quicksand on August 04, 2015:
Well Spanish, I understand is the fourth most spoken language in the world. I did not have much difficulty in getting started and did not have any difficulty in continuing either. It's the idioms, like in any language that the beginner has to learn to take one at a time while not attempting to analyze them grammatically.
I've even been fortunate to have had the opportunity to try out my skill in Madrid many years back. This article has given me a lot of encouragement and the impetus to go on and to be at it! Many thanks!
Andrew Spacey from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK on August 03, 2015:
We lived in Spain for six months back in 2000, in Andalucia on a mountain. We loved it and have returned several times since, not only to the south but to Catalunya and the Pyrenees. My son chose to study Spanish at uni and will spend a year in Tarragona, starting end of August 2015, as part of his course.
His Spanish is much better than mine I might add. Pero me gusta mucho el cultura espanola....and can only improve!?
Your advice is sound, based on experience.
Votes and a share.
WheelerWife (author) from Minnesota on December 23, 2014:
Hi yohewriter - me alegro que lo hayas gustado! That's great advice to just stick with it and commit to studying/practicing a couple of minutes every day. Thanks for stopping by!!
Timothy Yohe from St. Louis on December 23, 2014:
Great article on promoting a rich language! I have studied Spanish myself for about 8 years through college and intended to acquire a degree in translation. I love learning new languages and plan soon to either teach or tutor in this field along with other subjects. There seem to be two types of people - those who easily get languages and those who really struggle. May be brain wiring, not sure. The key is to stick with it. This hub certainly will inspire anyone to make that first step or continue on with what they've started. Gracias por compartir!