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The Spanish major is founded in the college’s liberal arts program. Successful Spanish majors think critically, articulate their ideas correctly, express themselves properly both in writing and in conversation, and have the ability to see other cultures from different perspectives. Naturally, Spanish majors are fluent in Spanish language. The coursework in the major emphasizes the study of the literature of the Hispanic world. Students develop a critical understanding of a variety of literary works of different genres, periods, and styles. Spanish majors are also knowledgeable of the Hispanic cultures not only through their literature but also through their personal experience in a Hispanic country. Spanish majors live and study in a Hispanic country in May Term, or for a semester or a year abroad.

This program prepares students to work in a variety of fields both in the United States and abroad. It also prepares students to continue their education in a graduate studies program.

Spanish is the second language in the United States. It complements many of the majors offered at MBC, such as: International Relations, Health Care Administration, International Economics and Business, Anthropology, Sociology and Social Work. Students should consider majoring in Spanish as one of two majors. In addition to the above mentioned majors, students interested in studying medicine and law should also consider majoring in Spanish as a double major.


Allison Irby ’02 
I started attempting to speak Spanish when I was 8 years-old, but I didn’t start to truly learn anything about the Spanish language, the varying cultures, and the importance of culture, history, politics, diversity, and linguistics until I attended Mary Baldwin. The classes offered helped me to create a more comprehensive understanding of both Latin America and Spain. My study abroad experience to Spain while at Mary Baldwin changed my life. Feeling like you are a part of the place you travel to, are sharing in the diverse community/world you live in, and are giving back to the global community we all live in is helped and seems more real and important when you speak a shared language. I can finally say that I speak fluent Spanish! My program at MBC and my supportive professors were so instrumental in my professional decisions because of how excited they were for me to explore Latin America/Spain with my own eyes. I graduated in 2002 and I have not stopped exploring. Currently, I am starting a non-profit to engage young people in education abroad experiences in Latin America, and throughout the world. I pursued a MA in Latin American Studies to continue to expand upon my experience at MBC and in Latin America, and in the 8 years since I graduated from Mary Baldwin I’ve lived, worked, studied and taught in Colombia, Spain, Nicaragua, and have recently returned from my first trip to Peru. Undoubtedly, my 4 years spent in the foreign language department at Mary Baldwin re-shaped my perspective on the world outside and helped me to uncover my professional and personal mission for life.

Maureen Moynihan ’04, PhD candidate at SUNY Buffalo
I could easily write for pages about the importance of foreign language studies. In my Ph.D. program in Romance Languages and Literatures, I hear daily arguments on the subject of language requirements, language studies, translation and communication. Although I add them to my lists, I know myself to be motivated by personal reasons that have changed drastically over the years. Once, I wanted the chance to think and read in a foreign language for its own sake. Now that I can, I feel that knowing a language other than English is not about knowing a foreign language. It is about being able to communicate with real people, abroad and at home.

I began learning a foreign language because my father traveled frequently, and Spanish in particular because he worked part time in Latin America at the time. When he moved to full time, I became one of the family’s translators so to speak and experienced first hand the utility and the frustration of having minimal grasp of the Spanish language and the differences in Hispanic cultures. Returning to Mary Baldwin, I found that even the frustration had transformed me. I was hooked. I needed the language just to survive day to day, not to mention the interesting people I met and the also interesting but potentially dangerous people I needed to avoid.

Nancy Fermoselle ’03
For me personally, choosing Spanish for a major was not very difficult. My father’s side of the family speaks Spanish. I always wanted to be able to communicate better with my relatives, especially my grandmother. Continuing education in Spanish helped me to do that. There were so many uses for Spanish that I had a harder time deciding WHAT TO DO with my major. I had always had an interest in teaching, so I decided that my love for Spanish was strong enough that I wanted to teach it and spread interest to others.

I feel very passionately that people who are exposed to other languages at an early age are more creative thinkers and better learners. They are able to see the world from more than one view point and express themselves better. They are more confident, worldly and open-minded. Exposure to another language can only benefit people.