Loyola University Maryland

Modern Languages & Literatures

Spanish Major

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“The blood of my spirit is my language, and my country is wherever it may be heard. ["La sangre de mi espíritu es mi lengua. Y mi patria es allí donde resuena."] ”—Miguel de Unamuno

Learning Spanish can connect students with 400 million native speakers on both sides of the Atlantic. The Spanish language, which is the fourth language in the world in terms of native speakers, has evolved from the Latin imported to the Iberian Peninsula by the Roman Empire to a true world language with official status in countries on three continents.  In Europe, Spanish is the language of the “mother country,” Spain. In Africa, it is one of three official languages in Equatorial Guinea and it is also the predominant language in the Spanish enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta as well as in the Canary Islands. In the Americas, Spanish is an official language of eighteen countries: Argentina, Bolivia (co-official with Quechua and Aymara), Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay (co-official with Guaraní), Peru (co-official with Quechua and Aymara), Uruguay, and Venezuela. It shares official status with English in the Free Associated State of Puerto Rico and is spoken by some thirty-five million people in the United States. Some Asian countries, such as the Philippines, have a long Spanish-speaking tradition, although the language’s use and impact today resides primarily in its contributions to native Asian languages such as Tagalog and Cebuano. 

In our changing global environment, communication is the key to understanding other peoples and cultures. Spanish was the language of Simón Bolívar, Miguel de Cervantes, Rubén Darío, Jorge Luis Borges, Manuel de Falla, Gabriel García Márquez, José María Arguedas, Frida Kahlo, Saint Ignacio de Loyola, José Ortega y Gasset and Pablo Picasso. Studying Spanish offers students access to a culture of literature and politics, to the writing of statesmen and liberation theologians, Renaissance classics, and to twentieth-century best-selling sensations.  

In today’s multicultural and global society, Spanish is a major player in the Western Hemisphere and has a significant presence in Europe as well. It is an official language of the European Community, of the United Nations, of the Organization of American States, the International Federation of Football Association, and a wide array of free-trade associations including NAFTA, CAFTA, MercoSur, and ALBA. These developments may well have an impact on the lives and careers of many. We invite you, therefore, to consider a Spanish major or minor within the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.

The Spanish major and minor at Loyola offer students the opportunity to develop a course of study in which they can acquire both linguistic proficiency and a deeper knowledge of Hispanic cultures and literatures. The curriculum starts with language courses, in which the students achieve oral and written skills, and continues with upper-level courses focused on the cultures and literatures of Latin America, Spain and the Latino population of the United States and on Hispanic linguistics. All of the courses are taught in the language, and are aimed at helping students develop a sense of their position in the world based on a thorough understanding of a culture generally not their own but undoubtedly very close to home, given that the Hispanic population of the United States is the largest minority group in the country. Students engage in a conversation with these cultures at the highest level, enabled by a proper use and understanding of the language as well as by a rigorous comprehension of the cultural and historical context of the Hispanic world.

Loyola students have the opportunity to study abroad with Loyola’s International Programs in Alcalá de Henares (Spain) and San Salvador (El Salvador), and they can also participate in University’s exchanges with the Universidad del Salvador (Buenos Aires, Argentina) and with the Universidad Alberto Hurtado (Santiago, Chile). The Spanish faculty encourages students to participate in these programs, where they can perfect their knowledge of the Spanish language and achieve a deeper commitment at all levels to another culture through direct contact with its people and traditions.