Add some excitement to life by earning a Spanish degree abroad. Not only can you enjoy the colorful culture of a Spanish-speaking country, but you can further your education and build the skills necessary to succeed in a globalized marketplace. There are over 400 million people in the world who speak Spanish, making it one of the top three spoken languages (and one of the sexiest!). This is one trend not to be missed out on. Position yourself for success by mastering the language and gaining intercultural competencies from your experience traveling, living, and studying Spanish abroad.
Why Earn a Spanish Degree Abroad
The fun factor of Latino blood and bold flavours of hispanic cooking aside, there’s an entire treasure box of reasons to earn a Spanish degree abroad. Not only is there great flexibility in location and class concentration, but there is the possibility to graduate faster, with less debt. ¡Ay, caramba!
The biggest bonus of studying Spanish abroad is the opportunity for language immersion; perfecting Spanish will be a lot easier when you’re surrounded by native speakers, many of whom will not speak your native language. There’s a lot of value in getting to know the difference between textbook and “street Spanish,” and you’ll be more approachable and marketable if you know how to use your language skills to switch from formal to informal. Start with the difference between “Cómo está Ud.?” and “Qué tal?” and go from there!
While earning your Spanish degree abroad, there will also be unique opportunities to travel on weekends or holidays to neighboring cities and countries. Learning doesn’t begin and end in the place you choose to earn your Spanish degree. Studying and traveling in in the Spanish speaking world will give you a great sense of how expressions, vocabulary, and accents vary from country to country. Even in Spain, there are dozens of regional dialects that, when inspected from the northern extreme to the southern tip, seem almost like a different language.
Ultimately, by living long-term in another country while completing a Spanish degree, you’ll gain invaluable insights about local cultures, reflect upon life in your home country, and create lifelong friendships from all corners of the world. With an international degree in Spanish, you’ll become a competitive candidate when starting your job search or searching for yet another degree program abroad.
Spanish is so stellar that it extended well beyond its birthplace in Spain (OK, colonization might have had something to do with that). With 15 countries using Spanish as their official language, the biggest factors to consider when choosing a Spanish degree program abroad are cost of living, culture, lifestyle, and particular accents of the region.
On the Iberian Peninsula lies sunny Spain, birthplace of Castellano and the most popular destination to earn a Spanish degree abroad. It’s paradise for linguistic fans; you’ll notice many accents (and four languages!) as you travel across regions. The Spanish lisp reigns in Zaragoza, and words start getting cut off as they leave an Andalusian’s mouth. Feeling a little overwhelmed by it all? Echa el freno. It’s totally cool to reboot with a little siesta. If that doesn’t cut it, bring on the sangria and bite-sized tapas.
Furthermore, Spain’s proximity to Europe and Northern Africa make it an easy jumping off point for international holiday travel. However, there’s also plenty to keep you busy in Spain for years: the Prado museum in Madrid, the Camino de Santiago trail across the north of Spain, the Alhambra in Granada, and cultural festivals celebrated throughout the year, such as Las Fallas in Valencia or La Mercé in Barcelona.
If you decide to earn a Spanish degree in Argentina, you’ll be able to cozy up to a warm mate tea while reviewing verb tenses, or bike around this country’s wine vineyards, hike to massive glaciers, explore colorful neighborhoods in Buenos Aires, and watch a live tango performance in the streets. Sounds pretty good right? Many are stunned by the European-style architecture in Buenos Aires, which is full of Italian and French influences. In January, check out the Fiesta Nacional del Folclore, a folklore and dance festival. In August, hit the slopes for Fiesta Nacional de la Nieve (National Festival of the Snow).
Some of the most stunning ancient ruins in the world are located in Spanish-speaking Mexico, land of the Mayans. When you aren’t busy studying Spanish in México, it’s easy to find beaches, volcanoes, deserts, cenotes, canyons, mountains, and everything in between. Most likely, you’ll be studying Spanish in the cosmopolitan Mexico City (D.F.), where many of the large universities and commercial hubs are located. Keep your brain fueled with tacos al pastor, your mind stimulated with endless (free!) museums, and your senses engaged in the many mercados and plazas.
Choosing to work toward a Spanish degree in Peru will bring you to a country where the new and old mix every day. Lima, with its large universities, is a city that has many historic colonial buildings sprinkled throughout modern skyscrapers. The native Quechua culture and language is still very prominent in the country, especially in mountain towns. While earning your Spanish degree in Peru, be sure to plan a visit to the Sacred Valley, where you can visit the old Incan Empire’s capital city, Cuzco, or to the ruins that make Peru world-famous, Machu Picchu. And the good news is, when you get bored with formal Spanish, you can try a hand at indigenous languages!
Spanish Degree Programs
Completing a Spanish degree abroad will lead to a life full of travel, cultural appreciation, and bilingual communication. Today, more businesses than ever have a need for bilingual, well-traveled employees who can work well with international clientele and staff. Fluency in Spanish will therefore open up a range of job opportunities across many industries for you. Not to mention, if you’re looking to get into a career in academics, a Spanish degree will put you on track for becoming a teacher or professor at a university.
A bachelor’s degree in Spanish usually takes four years to complete, including coursework in written and oral communication, literature, history, and philosophy. Expect 120 hours in the classroom over the course of your Spanish degree. Masters degrees in Spanish can take between a year and two, and have both classroom and research-based components. Prerequisites for master’s degree programs include at least an upper-intermediate level of Spanish language skills. Otherwise, you’ll just need typical GPA requirements, which vary program to program.
One final piece of advice: if you are looking for a complete immersion experience, it is best to directly enroll in a university located in the country you’re interested in living in the future.
Benefits & Challenges
Earning an entire Spanish degree abroad is generally more affordable than studying abroad for a semester. When you enroll in a university, costs are lower, in part because they are less built to support the program. Formal cultural activities might not be planned weekly, as they are in semester programs or at language schools, but who needs ‘em anyway?! There will be plenty of experience outside of the classroom just waiting to be a learning opportunity into the nation’s lifestyle. By the end of your Spanish degree program abroad, you’ll be the expert in your city after making the most of your new home’s free activities, festivals, and flavors!
When spending years, instead of semesters, in a foreign country, you really make a home for yourself and get to know the culture inside and out. As a member of your new community, it will be easier to join school-sponsored events and meetup groups that require a commitment of at least a semester. Take advantage of these opportunities and befriend the locals while earning a Spanish degree abroad. Don’t fall into the trap of only hanging out with the other international students! Completing your Spanish degree abroad will be a life changing experience that not many people get the chance to have.
Gain independence, expand your network, and set yourself up for success in a multilingual world by taking the leap and getting a Spanish degree abroad! Now, you just need to fill in the blank with one of 15+ Spanish speaking countries: ¡Bienvenidos a _________!