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Cartagena de Indias, Colombia Cartagena de Indias, Colombia

Department Overview

Welcome to the Department of Spanish!

Spanish is the official language of 20 countries and is spoken by more than 500 million people around the world. With more than 50 million native speakers and second-language speakers, the United States now has the second largest Spanish-speaking population in the world after Mexico.

Built on a solid competence in Spanish language, the major and minor develop students’ skills in critical analysis and provide an understanding of the literatures and cultures of Spain, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Latinos in the United States.

 The Department of Spanish's curriculum is organized in three tiers:

  • Language courses: Our language courses give students ample opportunity for practice, encouraging the development of communicative proficiency and cultural competency. 
  • Introductory courses: Our writing courses enable students to move toward writing proficiency in Spanish and provide a panoramic view of the literary and cultural histories of the Hispanic world. 
  • Advanced courses and seminars explore specific trends and topics pertaining to the literatures and cultures of Spain, Mexico and Central America, South America, and the Hispanic Caribbean as well as those of Latino/a communities in the United States.  Additionally, courses taught in English allow a wide range of students to explore this rich literary and cultural heritage.

With the goal of enabling students to communicate fluently in Spanish, we base our curriculum upon a linguistic and pedagogical continuum beginning at the elementary language level and culminating in the most advanced courses and Honors seminars.

One of the strengths of the Department of Spanish lies in its scope, which is both geographical and chronological, offering courses on literatures of the 19th-, 20th- and 21st-centuries as well as that of Early Modern Spain and Colonial Latin America.

Given their interdisciplinary nature, our introductory and upper level courses are compatible with course studies in black studies, comparative literature, interpretation theory, gender and sexuality studies, and Latin American and Latino studies, among others.

The Department of Spanish provides a strong foundation for graduate studies in Spanish and Latin American literatures. Our students have been highly successful in pursuing careers in a wide range of disciplines: education, medicine, law, business, and nonprofit sectors, to name a few. 

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Spanish Advising for First-Year Students

¡Bienvenido! ¡Bienvenida! Embarking on your Swarthmore journey is an exciting process, and one that can lead to some questions. Here, you'll find resources specific to incoming first-year students planning to take courses in the Spanish Department.


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Academic Journey Reflection

After graduating with a double major in Spanish and Engineering, Clare Cushing '20 reflects on her academic journey, the connections between her two majors and her study abroad experience.

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Academic Journeys

Our alums and seniors reflect on their experiences in our department.  Please click on their names below to read about what they had to say.

The Department of Spanish congratulates Max Gruber (Class of 2020 – Major in Art History; Minor in Spanish and History) for being accepted to the prestigious Clark Institute/Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art. ¡Felicitaciones!

The Department of Spanish congratulates Madison Snyder (Spanish Major, Class of 2021) on being awarded a Fulbright Fellowship! ¡Felicidades! 



Joint photo of Max Gruber and Madison Snyder

Spanish Language Table for Spring 2023

Come practice your Spanish in a relaxed and informal setting while you enjoy your lunch!  The Spanish Language Table is held every Thursday at 12:35 pm in DCC Room 201S.  You do not need to register for this program, just stop by! If you need more information, contact Jessica Bawgus.   

We look forward to seeing you there!

Language Tables

Faculty-Led Embedded Study Abroad Travel

The Swarthmore Faculty-Led Study Abroad Travel program offers the opportunity to complement campus taught courses with experiencing first hand what was learned in class. Students in courses sponsored by this program travel with their professors to a destination connected with the study topic, thus enriching and complementing course materials.

Prof. María Luisa Guardiola’s “Memoria e identidad” course was awarded an embedded faculty-led education abroad component in Spring 2018. The class traveled to Spain to complement the course material with excursions to a few memorialized locations such as Belchite and the Jarama battlefield, or to non-memorialized sites like Valencia, capital of the Republic during the Spanish Civil War, following the forgotten path of many fighters.

The Swarthmore Faculty-Led Study Abroad Travel is fully funded by the College, and comes at no additional cost to students with the support of different College funds.


Spanish Courses at Swarthmore

Explore the wide variety of courses the Spanish program offers, and learn more about the Spanish major and minor. More.

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