Acquiring the ability to speak and understand a language other than one's own, and gaining insight into the artistic and cultural heritage of other peoples of the world, are an integral part of a liberal arts education. The Department’s basic communication-oriented courses enable students to use spoken and written Spanish and give them some knowledge of Spanish and Latin American literature and cultural history. Advanced-level courses in literature, linguistics, and culture give students an understanding and appreciation of the language, literature, and cultures of the Hispanic peoples. Specifically, the Spanish Department’s curriculum, co-curricular activities and study abroad are designed to meet these goals:
- Communication – Students will have the necessary communication skills to succeed academically in a Spanish speaking country.
- Analytical Skills – Students will be able to analyze texts and linguistic phenomena with attention to relevant social, artistic, political, historical and economic issues.
- Cultural Awareness – Students will acquire knowledge of social, artistic, political, historical, and economic issues related to the Spanish-speaking world.
- Connections – Students will be able to use the Spanish language in a variety of interdisciplinary contexts to produce a personal, informed and critical understanding of the Hispanic world.
Study Abroad offers beginning, intermediate and advanced Spanish students an ideal opportunity to progress more quickly in Spanish while immersing themselves in Hispanic culture. Our Language and Culture Programs in Seville, Spain and Cuernavaca, Mexico (alternating fall semesters) are designed specifically for beginning and intermediate students looking to improve their Spanish, and to complete the foreign language requirement, and other Gettysburg Curriculum goals. Students in their Sophomore, Junior, or Senior year may participate, but must have a “C” average overall, and in previous Spanish classes. Students earn a maximum of 4 credits, including between 1 and 4 language classes (equivalent to Spanish 103 through 202). Choices for the remaining classes are literature and civilization, and frequently business, non-lab science, art and other classes offered in both Spanish and English, which may satisfy requirements in the Gettysburg College curriculum. A Gettysburg College professor leads students on an initial orientation tour of Spain or Mexico and teaches one or more courses in the program. Students live with families. As a part of their study abroad experience, students participate in several orientation meetings at the College before leaving. Upon students' return, Gettysburg College provides a series of reintegration meetings. These pre- and post-travel sessions enhance students' experiences.
A greater variety of programs in Spanish-speaking countries is available to advanced students. College affiliations with the following programs facilitate the process: in Argentina located in the cities of Buenos Aires and Mendoza (IFSA-Butler); in Mexico in Merida, Yucatan (IFSA-Butler); in Spain in the cities of Salamanca (IES) and Seville (IUS). Possibilities for study abroad exist in most Spanish-speaking countries.
The Spanish Department offers multiple opportunities for students to continue or initiate their contact with the Hispanic language and cultures while studying on campus. The Spanish Assistant organizes trips to Hispanic activities, Spanish language movies, discussions of current events, Spanish Club activities, and more. Students have the opportunity to interact with native speakers of Spanish through service learning components of their Spanish classes. Students tutor Hispanic children in after school programs, teach English to adult Spanish speakers, and help in various local non-profit, government, and church based agencies that provide services to the local Hispanic population.
In addition, Spanish majors, minors and native speakers have the opportunity to live in La Casa Hispana -- a residence for students with special interest in the Spanish language and in Hispanic Cultures. During certain hours of the day, the students only speak Spanish. The students also organize cultural activities that involve the college and the surrounding community. This is a unique and exciting opportunity for students to develop their language skills and to live with peers who share their academic and extracurricular interests.
Courses in the department provide sound preparation for graduate study, teaching, or careers in government, business, or social work. The department works cooperatively with the Education Department in the preparation of Spanish teachers. Since the largest minority group in the United States is Spanish speaking, it is increasingly important to know Spanish and understand Hispanic cultures.