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Why study Spanish?

Here are a number of reasons why you
should study Spanish:

  • Spanish is the mother tongue of an estimated 350 million people in 21 countries.
  • It has become to a great extent the second language of the US.
  • The growing Hispanic population in the United States offers economic and professional employment opportunities.
  • In particular, speaking Spanish will increase your salary potential or help you get a job in at least the following areas: Translation/Interpretation, Education, Journalism/Broadcasting, Linguistics, Diplomacy, Civil Service, Foreign Service, Immigration/Naturalization, Customs, Intelligence/Law Enforcement.

What can I do with a degree in Spanish?

Service and Education:

  • Translation/ Interpretation
  • Teaching
  • Educational Administration
  • Linguistics
  • Civil Service
  • Social work
  • Mission work
  • Library science
  • Health services

Employers:

  • Hospitals
  • Religious and volunteer organizations
  • International organizations
  • Law enforcement agencies
  • Social service agencies
  • Universities/ Colleges
  • Pre- schools
  • K- 12 schools
  • Professional language schools

Strategies:

Obtain a state teacher licensure for K- 12 teaching. Develop superior written and oral communication skills in the English language including proper sentence structure and comprehensive vocabulary. Notify local hospitals, schools, and chambers or commerce of your availability to translate or interpret. Minor or double major in another subject that you could also teach. Consider teaching English in another country. Get experience by becoming an assistant or a tutor. Be familiar with the cultural base of your language as well as cultural traditions. Specialize in an area of research and plan to take both written and oral exams to become an interpreter. Volunteer with government programs such as Peace Corps or VISTA.

Media, Arts, and Entertainment:

  • Advertising
  • Translation/ Interpretation
  • Journalism/ Broadcasting
  • Publishing/ Editing
  • Public Relations

Employers:

  • Museums
  • Foreign News Agencies
  • Book publishers
  • TV networks
  • Radio Stations
  • Film Companies

Strategies:

Learn about customs and culture of the country in which your language of study is primarily spoken. Spend time studying or working abroad. Read international newspapers to keep up with developments overseas.

Industry and Commerce:

  • Translation/ Interpretation
  • Banking/ Finance
  • Sales
  • Customer Service
  • Sales
  • Manufacturing
  • Engineering/ Technical
  • Research
  • Operating Management
  • Consulting
  • Imports/ Exports
  • Retail

Employers:

  • Banks/ Financial Institutions
  • Import/ Export Companies
  • Foreign Films operating in the USA
  • American Films in foreign countries
  • Manufactures
  • Retail stores

Strategies:

Supplement coursework with business classes. Gain experience through an internship or work abroad program. Find out which companies do business with the countries of your language of study. Be prepared to start in a position in the USA working for a firm with an overseas presence. Very few entry- level positions are available in international business.

Travel and Tourism:

  • Translation/ Interpretation
  • Airline Services
  • Management
  • Booking and Reservations
  • Travel Services/ Guidance

Employers:

  • Tour and excursion companies
  • Travel agencies
  • Hotels
  • Resorts
  • Restaurants
  • Airlines/ Airport
  • Cruise lines
  • Convention Centers

Strategies: Take courses in hotel/ restaurant administration. Get a part- time job in a hotel or restaurant to gain experience. Spend some time abroad to learn the traditions of fine dining, wines, etc. Brush up on your knowledge of geography. Plan to attend travel school. Develop office skills such as typing, organizing, and working with computers. Read international newspapers to keep up with overseas developments.

Government:

  • Translation/ Interpretation
  • Journalism/ Broadcasting
  • Linguistics
  • Diplomacy
  • Civil Service
  • Foreign Service
  • Immigration/ Naturalization
  • Customs
  • Intelligence/ Law Enforcement

Employers:

  • Federal Government organizations including:
  • Overseas aid agencies
  • Intelligence and law enforcement agencies: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, Drug Enforcement Administration
  • Department of State
  • Immigration and Naturalization Service
  • Library of Congress
  • Armed Forces
  • Voice of America

Strategies:

Learn Federal, state, and local job application procedures. Plan to get your degree in Foreign Languages. Join armed forces as a way to get experience. The government is one of the largest employers of people with foreign language skills.


Here are some links with more information
on why Spanish can be useful for you:

Visit the success story page!

Visit the MA page to see what a Masters in Spanish looks like.

Do you need help with your Spanish? Here is a list of resources at the UofM:

Have you ever wondered what a Spanish class would be like? View sample syllabi

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Foreign Languages and Literature | 375 Dunn Hall | Memphis, TN | 38152-3530 | Phone: 901-678-2507
Last Updated: 4/2/14