Our Spanish for the Workplace major responds to the need for bilingual professionals and equips students with the language skills that are directly applicable to their chosen careers. The instruction is heavily focused on developing and honing the language abilities. Students’ fluency in Spanish is achieved through thorough practice of reading, writing, speaking and listening comprehension of Spanish. Advanced courses in Spanish for Business or Spanish for Healthcare Professionals include a hands-on component, such as direct contact with business professionals through class visits or shadowing medical interpreters at work. The Spanish for the Workplace major includes an internship in a business company or a health-care facility. This 150-hour course, completed abroad or locally, allows students to put to practice the language skills learned in the classroom and apply them to their future profession.
After students acquire a solid theoretical base, they are strongly encouraged to further develop proficiency in Spanish through an immersion experience abroad. There are several options:
E-term Project Experience
Our January program is an ideal opportunity for students to immerse themselves in the language and culture they are studying. For example, E-term in Ecuador, offers a three-week intensive practice in Spanish, by way of homestays with Ecuadorian families, a rigorous program of Spanish classes and in-depth exploration of Ecuadorian culture. BSC faculty guide students toward an understanding and appreciation of Latin America, encourage them to become life-long learners of Spanish and help them build memories that last forever.
Study Abroad Program
The Sklenar Center for International Programs in the Krulak Institute (NCC Suite 280) encourages the development of globally-engaged students through advising, preparation and support for study abroad and exchange programs, international internship and research opportunities. Such experiences are of particular importance for foreign language students. Most recently, our students have studied in Spain, Chile and Argentina. These experiences have profoundly impacted our students, giving them the invaluable experience of living abroad and significantly advancing their proficiency in Spanish. There are overseas opportunities available across Latin America and in Spain during all academic terms. Study away offers BSC students an exciting and transformational experience that provides professional development skills and opportunities that make you stand out in the workplace.
A hands-on experience is a crucial portion of our new Spanish for the Workplace major, and is a mandatory experience for students in the program. There is no better way than to learn the practices of the job, together with the language and culture, from the professionals working abroad. Study abroad program providers now offer internship placements for advanced level foreign language students. Our most recent internship placement was in the Dominican Republic.
The Spanish faculty at Birmingham-Southern College believes that undergraduate language study should, above all else, equip students for real-life situations. We want to prepare our students to speak and understand Spanish.
Whereas we do not anticipate that the typical undergraduate Spanish major will achieve native-like fluency in the language with four years of campus-based study, we have designed the Spanish program at the College to give students a solid mastery of language skills and expose students to a wide range of vocabulary that can be used in a variety of settings.
The Spanish curriculum also gives students numerous opportunities to make formal or informal presentations in the language in order to develop poise and confidence in speaking before groups.
The Spanish faculty feels that an immersion experience in a Spanish-speaking country is vital for the student who seeks true mastery of the language, and we encourage study abroad for a semester, a summer program, or the Interim term.
Finally, we believe that intercultural sensitivity is a high priority for students preparing for careers that involve contact with speakers of Spanish. Students who elect a major or, to a lesser degree, a minor, in Spanish at Birmingham-Southern College should end their college years confident that their language studies have equipped them to speak and write the language well, to understand the speech and the culture of native speakers of Spanish, and to use their abilities in Spanish in a wide variety of career paths.
Christian Burlock, ‘17, Spanish major, currently completing an internship in the Dominican Republic.
Jessica Sperry, '16, Spanish major, currently at Augusta University in Augusta Georgia earning a master's in nursing as Clinical Nurse Leader
Smriti Krishnan, '15, Spanish major, is a graduate student at the University of Alabama, studying law and Spanish.
Emily Holst, '13, English major and Spanish minor, taught English in the "English Open Doors" program in Chile. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in English at the University of Montana.
Christopher David, '11, Spanish major attended medical school at the University of South Alabama (USA) in Mobile. After finishing medical school in 2015 he began residency in internal medicine at UAB.Kenton Myers, '11, Spanish major, is a certified medical interpreter and owner of M&N Language Services company.
Spanish Placement Exam
All new students entering Birmingham-Southern (either as first-year students or transfers) must take a placement exam in Spanish if they've studied the language prior to starting at Southern. This doesn't mean that they'll necessarily have to study Spanish rather than another language in college. It just means that, should they decide to continue their studies of Spanish, the Spanish faculty will know the most appropriate place for them to start with us.
Take the placement exam at here. When prompted for the password, it’s password. Here are the possible placements:
SN 101-102: This is for students who've never had any formal study of Spanish. We assume that students taking SN 101-102 are those who studied French, German, Latin, or some other language in high school.
SN 201: This is a one-semester course designed specifically for students who had some exposure to Spanish in high school (usually two years) but need a refresher before being ready for more advanced study at the intermediate level or beyond.
SN 220: This course is designed for BSC students who've completed SN 101-102 or SN 201 and want to continue studying Spanish. It's also appropriate for students who had two very good years in high school, or perhaps three or even four years in high school. It's an intermediate-level grammar review course that prepares students to continue with the intermediate conversation and reading courses.
SN 221: This is an intensive course in Spanish, designed for students who’ve had one or two years of Spanish in high school. Students start where SN 201 starts, but cover two semesters of Spanish in one semester at BSC. The course carries two units of credit and is ideal for students who want to jumpstart their ability in Spanish so they can go on to develop a meaningful degree of proficiency in the language.
SN 270: This is intermediate conversation and is taught entirely in Spanish. Students who've had a solid four or five years at the high school level and have a good grasp of grammar might place here.
SN 280: This is intermediate reading and focuses on teaching students strategies for reading in Spanish. It, too, is taught entirely in Spanish and requires a similar high school background as SN 270.
New students rarely place higher than SN 270 or SN 280. Students are welcome to talk with the Spanish faculty about their particular background in Spanish and any questions they have about their placement at BSC.
Upon completion of the Spanish major, students will be able to
- function successfully in Spanish in a variety of real-life situations,
- make polished formal and informal presentations on a variety of topics,
- understand the gist as well as several discrete details of discourse as spoken by native speakers of Spanish at native speed,
- write in Spanish with a high degree of grammatical correctness and appropriate choices of vocabulary and idiomatic expressions,
- converse in Spanish in connected discourse in a variety of time frames,
- recognize and respect cultural differences among the different Spanish-speaking countries