Spanish Language Program
Welcome to the Spanish Language Program at BC!
At Boston College, students will find a wide range of opportunities to develop and practice their Spanish and enjoy the diversity of the world's Spanish-speaking cultures. A division of the Hispanic Studies section of Boston College's Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, the Spanish Language Program offers courses and supplementary practica for students at all levels of proficiency. Each semester, between 850 and 1,000 students—including Hispanic Studies majors and minors and students in other disciplines—enroll in our program's language courses.
Composed of seven semesters of language instruction over four year, our curriculum has been carefully designed to foster progressive acquisition of proficiency in Spanish. From the first day of class, students are exposed to the Spanish language and trained to practice the essential skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) while expanding their vocabulary and learning new grammar points and structures in context. All courses incorporate the study of cultures from different Spanish-speaking countries. Students build their language skills while learning to understand relevant sociocultural and historical aspects of the Spanish-speaking world and appreciate and celebrate the differences between its cultures. A number of our courses also satisfy the University’s Literature Core or the University’s Cultural Diversity Core.
Elementary Spanish focuses on building students’ communication skills. From the first day of class, students will interact in Spanish with the instructor and their classmates. By the end of the second semester, students should be able to successfully manage a significant number of spoken and written communicative tasks in different verb tenses in the target language.
Upon successful completion of the Elementary sequence (I and II, SPAN1015 and SPAN1016), students should be able to:
- speak in Spanish to describe, narrate stories, and carry on spontaneous conversations about topics such as family, professions, food, clothing, health, likes and dislikes and the past.
- comprehend the target language well enough to understand the main ideas and additional details in short conversations referring to the topics mentioned above and other situations in different verb tenses.
- read and understand texts (some prepared specifically for students and some primary sources) dealing with a variety of cultural products and practices.
- write basic compositions about a variety of themes in simple but complete sentences and compose short paragraphs, displaying good control of Spanish grammar and sentence structure.
- recognize, appreciate and compare similarities and differences between their own culture and Spanish-speaking cultures.
Intermediate Spanish also follows a communicative approach. Class is conducted entirely in the target language. Nearly all course materials are primary sources, carefully chosen to match the students’ interests and capabilities. At the end of the second semester students will be able to express opinions on a wide variety of topics of personal interest and in different communicative settings.
Upon successful completion of the Intermediate sequence (SPAN1115 and SPAN1116) students should be able to:
- speak in the target language to narrate and describe in the present, past and future and express opinions about topics relating to their own lives and lives in Spanish-speaking cultures, especially around topics such as student and family life, traveling, cinema, music, holidays and art and current events.
- comprehend more complex and formal spoken language, including primary-source videos and recordings, with some assistance.
- read selected primary sources on everyday topics with assistance from tools such as vocabulary annotations and comprehension aids.
- write paragraphs in Spanish in a variety of formats, from summaries and cross-cultural observations to more formal but guided research papers based on course themes.
- understand and appreciate current and classic elements of a foreign culture, especially as they relate to the lives of young people, and make comparisons to their own cultural experiences.
In Conversation, Composition and Reading (CCR), students will increase their fluency and solidify their spoken and written accuracy in Spanish while focusing on complex grammar topics, expanding their vocabulary and broadening their understanding of diverse cultural and historical aspects of the Spanish-speaking world. CCR fosters students’ analytical, critical and creative skills in the target language through the study of primary source materials such as newspapers, reports, short films and literary texts and through systematic practice of three essential modes of communication: interpersonal, presentational and interpretive.
Upon successful completion of the CCR sequence (SPAN2215 and SPAN2216) students should be able to:
- speak spontaneously in conversations on topics that are familiar, of personal interest, or pertinent to everyday life. Students should also be able to speak about more formal or specific topics with preparation.
- comprehend the main ideas and relevant details of extended general speech from diverse primary audiovisual materials in standard language.
- read and interpret extensive articles and reports related to contemporary topics, understanding important details and nuances. Students should also be able to understand contemporary literary texts in the target language with some assistance.
- write clear and detailed compositions in which they support their views on a wide variety of general topics. Students should also be able to write narrative and argumentative essays on specific topics with previous preparation.
- understand and appreciate the different Hispanic cultures and develop an awareness of the historical, political and sociocultural differences between them.
In Advanced Spanish, students will acquire extensive fluency and accuracy while focusing on complex grammar topics, expanding and deepening their vocabulary and broadening their understanding of contemporary sociocultural and political issues in the Spanish-speaking world. The course, which is structured around the analysis, discussion and production of descriptive, narrative, expository and argumentative texts, fosters students’ analytical, critical and creative skills in the target language through engagement with diverse primary sources and systematic practice of the three modes of communication: interpersonal, presentational and interpretive.
Upon successful completion of Advanced Spanish (SPAN3392), students should be able to:
- speak with fluency and accuracy in the target language in both informal and formal situations.
- comprehend the main ideas and relevant details of extended general speeches from primary audiovisual sources such as TV news clips, films and videos in standard language and recognize the most common spoken dialectal varieties of the Spanish language.
- read and interpret wide-ranging articles and reports related to contemporary topics, understanding details and nuances. Students should also be able to interpret literary texts in the target language and identify the principal characteristics of the four main textual genres (description, narration, exposition and argumentation).
- write creative, clear, coherent and extended compositions in the four main textual genres, interacting with field-specific and academic language.
- understand and appreciate the different Hispanic cultures and develop a critical vision of their unique characteristics and historical and sociocultural contexts.
- demonstrate the metalinguistic awareness necessary to master a foreign language.