The study of foreign languages is a vital part of a liberal arts education. Students studying a new language gain direct experience with foreign cultures that deepens their understanding of the world as they learn to read, write, and speak that new language.
Students studying Spanish language and culture gain skills and knowledge very important to life in Central Illinois, the United States, and the wider world. Many Americans speak Spanish as a first or second language; businesses, governments, schools, and non-profit organizations seek employees with good Spanish abilities. Likewise, Latino culture is part of the United States experience. Illinois College students have the opportunity to learn about Hispanic cultures based in Latin America, Spain, and The United States. Students often combine Spanish with other majors or minors in order to prepare themselves to work in the global market place. Some of the majors or minors that are often paired with a major or minor in Spanish are International Studies, Economics, Communications, English, Education, History, Sociology, Political Science, Environmental Biology and Ecological Science, Management and Organizational Leadership, Psychology, Biology, and Chemistry.
What opportunities are available for students?
Students choosing to major in Spanish spend one semester or more living and studying in a Spanish-speaking country. The study abroad experience immerses students in the language and cultures that they study in the classroom. Students are encouraged to take advantage of opportunities to do internships, service learning, or research while they are abroad. Students can choose from a variety of programs in Spain or Latin America.
The Spanish Honors Program provides students with the opportunity to do research abroad in Spain or Latin America and in the United States. Using their research, students develop a final project that they present to the Illinois College community in the second semester of their senior year. Many students who have participated in the Honors Program have presented their work at regional and national conferences. Students work closely with faculty in the Department of Modern Languages to organize the research and develop the final project.
The Spanish House provides students with the opportunity to participate in cultural activities and practice their Spanish. The Spanish House hosts several cultural activities each month, in which students can learn about Hispanic cultures in Spain, Latin America, and in the United States. Students can apply to live in the Spanish House, which offers an excellent opportunity to practice Spanish on a daily basis.
Phi Sigma Iota recognizes outstanding accomplishment in the study or teaching of any of the academic fields related to foreign language, literature, or culture. Phi Sigma Iota is the highest academic honor in the field of foreign languages. New members are recruited by invitation only from established Phi Sigma Iota chapters.
Students shall be enrolled in the institution represented by the chapter, have completed at least one course in a foreign language at the third-year level or its equivalent (fifth semester or seventh quarter), have completed 45 semester hours or its equivalent, have a minimum overall grade point average and in the language of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and rank in the top 35% of their class
Students in the elementary and intermediate courses not only learn basic communication but they also are exposed to the cultures which speak Spanish. Through films, videos, blogs, chats, and explorations on the web, students put themselves in contact with the Spanish Speaking world. The Language Lab at Illinois College is equipped with the latest technology, providing opportunities to practice Spanish and explore the Spanish speaking world.
The BreakAway Program offers students a major learning experience outside the classroom combining travel and study. Faculty in the Department of Modern Languages regularly lead BreakAways to Spanish speaking countries. Professors Estabrook and Gardner co-led "Road of Stars" in 2008 to Germany and Spain. Professor Gardner co-led "Peru Past and Present - Inca Trail" in summer 2009 and also co-led "Gender and Social Change in Mexico" to Cuernavaca, Mexico in summer 2011.
What opportunities are available after graduation?
Courses in Spanish will help prepare students seeking careers in international business and industry, social service involving Spanish speaking communities, U.S. government missions abroad, and teaching modern languages in elementary or high schools.