The Department offers a major and a minor in Spanish and a minor in Portuguese. Students are given the opportunity to acquire linguistic proficiency in their chosen language(s), as well as a thorough understanding of the culture, literature, and linguistics of Lusophone and Hispanic nation states and their diasporas in the Americas, Europe, and Africa.
The Department offers a carefully designed curriculum centered around two specific goals: 1) to use the most current and effective methods of language instruction in order to help students acquire an expert proficiency in both spoken and written Spanish and/or Portuguese; and 2) to employ its diverse faculty’s experience and research in familiarizing students with the major currents of Lusophone and Hispanic literature, arts, philosophical thought, linguistics, and culture. Although focused on Spanish and Portuguese language and cultures, the program is also open to the study of the translated experiences of ethnicities within and in dialogue with Lusophone and Hispanic nation states as well as to the development of diasporic Portuguese and Spanish-speaking communities around the world.
In addition to classroom instruction, students have the opportunity to acquire authentic linguistic and cultural experience through one of our various study abroad programs. As juniors, most students go to the Middlebury School Abroad in Spain (sites in Córdoba, Getafe, Logroño, Madrid), or one of Schools Abroad in Latin America (Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Uruguay, Brazil), or to another approved program in Latin America, Europe or Africa, where they are able to put their linguistic and cultural skills to practical use. Upon return from study abroad, majors are expected to engage in independent research through work in a senior seminar, a senior tutorial, or an honors thesis in order to synthesize their knowledge acquired in the classroom and their experiences abroad. Our graduates have been highly successful in pursuing careers not only in secondary education and in the humanities, but in the nonprofit, business, law, medical, and governmental sectors, to name a few.