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Modern Languages and Literatures
Why study Spanish at Lake Forest College?
Engaging faculty and student-centered classes
Our full-time faculty in Spanish hail from Latin America and Spain, with many connections to Latina/os in the U.S. They have areas of expertise which range from 19th century theater to translation studies to creative writing, film and film-making, and teach and publish in many areas including applied linguistics, Latin American and Spanish prose, poetry, theater, song and film. Our faculty consider excellence in teaching their primary focus, use an approach that centers on effective communication, and most classes have fewer than eighteen students, an ideal size for highly interactive learning. They tie their research to teaching, and work with students one-on-one on research over the summer or during the academic year to mentor students for successful graduate study or professional work, and to obtain prestigious grants such as the Fulbright award.
Lake Forest College provides a strong curriculum designed to address students’ interests, including culturally contextualized writing and speaking courses at beginner to advanced levels, a course in Spanish designed for heritage speakers, and a wide array of interactive culture, literature, song and film courses dealing with historical and contemporary Spain and Latin America as well as Latino communities in the U.S. Pre-professional courses in translation, medical and business Spanish, and Spanish for international affairs, also link well to a second academic area of interest. Students may acquire additional competency in applied linguistics through departmental offerings in English, e.g. second language acquisition and teaching, or descriptive linguistics.
Learning opportunities abound
The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures employs bilingual student tutors, for extra oral and written practice and assistance to students on campus, and a weekly conversational Spanish Table, as well as cultural events organized on and off campus (global speakers, musicians, cultural sites, food, etc.). Events are organized in collaboration with an on-campus Living-Learning Community, as well as student-run groups such as Latinos Unidos and international language honor society Phi Sigma Iota. Check our Department News and Upcoming Events sections for more information. While we highly encourage students to have a summer or semester immersion experience abroad, our ideal small size classes and connections to Chicago for academic excursions and internships still allow students to maximize their competency even if they do not choose to go abroad.
Study internationally and locally
With our proximity to the global city of Chicago, and access to numerous study and work opportunities worldwide, Lake Forest provides access to a wide range of study abroad programs and internship options for students to further develop their language and cultural competencies. Check the Internships and Study Abroad section on our website for more information.
Combines well with other disciplines and career interests
Students who complete the major or minor in Spanish often link their coursework to a second major or minor in another discipline, including Business, Finance, International Relations, Pre-Med and the Sciences, Cinema Studies, Latin American and Latinx Studies, Education, Music or Social Justice. Courses such as Spanish for International Affairs, Medical Spanish, Business Spanish, Translation Studies, Song and Society, Creative Writing and Film can help students to combine their academic interests and facilitate new career pathways. Each semester, our department organizes a Career Panel during which alumni share their post-graduate academic and work experiences; they note how studying Spanish at the College has helped them develop personally and professionally. Check the department’s website section on Careers and Success Stories for more information on combining Spanish with a variety of other interests.
Studying Spanish is both useful and fun!
The Cervantes Institute notes that over 572 million people speak Spanish worldwide, inluding 477 million native speakers; 52.6 million in the U.S. speak Spanish, second only to Mexico’s 121 million. Spanish is the official language of 21 countries ; learning Spanish and understanding the cultures that use it will both enhance travel experiences and improve your employment potential. At Lake Forest College, we make learning Spanish fun, and connect to the College’s mission of preparing responsible global citizens, while also preparing students for global careers. You will be able to read the classic Don Quixote, think critically about current global issues in Spanish and sing along to “Despacito” with perfect pronunciation!