As you are sure you want to do something with the Spanish language in the future you have decided studying a major in Spanish is your number one option. Now that you know you want to be studying Spanish as a major you have to start preparing everything so that you are ready to succeed as a Spanish major and make sure you put yourself in the best program that you can be in as well as prepare yourself before you even get to college to study Spanish.
If you are still in high school you have a lot of resources available to you to keep improving your Spanish and take as many courses as possible to ensure you have a high level, as well as look good to colleges with excellent Spanish language programs. At your high school, you will still have access to your teachers, books, and guidance counselor that can help you prepare the best you can as well as help you take some level tests if need be.
Even if you aren't currently a high school student or have just finished high school and waiting to start college you still can find excellent resources for yourself to prepare for studying a major in Spanish at the college and university level. Leaving your hometown and possibly living abroad for a bit is an excellent opportunity for you to keep preparing as well as taking an intensive course before beginning your college classes.
Becoming a Spanish major means you will be required to do a lot of work and make sure you keep improving and maintaining your level of Spanish therefore you have to prepare and know how to keep practicing the best ways possible.
Take as Many High School Spanish Courses As Possible
When you are in high school, just as if you were preparing for a major in chemistry or biology you should take as many Spanish classes as possible. In the United States, you can take three Spanish courses which would get your level from between beginner to intermediate, and then you can take an AP Spanish class when you are in your junior or senior year.
If you are serious about taking Spanish as a major in college then it will be important that you prepare yourself as much as possible. Here is a quick layout of the Spanish classes that you will or should be taking in high school.
- Spanish 1- In this class, you will learn the basics of Spanish, Hola, gracias, de nada, por favor, and all of the basic words and phrases and more you will need to get started.
- Spanish 2- Spanish 2 is a more difficult course where you will learn more Spanish grammar and vocabulary
- Spanish 3- In this course, you will learn even more vocabulary and grammar you should be able to have a conversation with native speakers at this point.
- AP Spanish class- This is an advanced Spanish class that would prepare you for college, and if you do well enough on the AP Spanish exam then you will even earn some college credits to get started in your Spanish major in college.
While in high school it isn't necessary to take all of these classes to graduate, if you have decided to do a major in Spanish in college the best thing you could do is try to take as many of these courses, if not all of them while you are still in high school. Practicing as much Spanish as possible while in high school and learning to the point where you have a high level is fantastic and remember it is not only about the Spanish language. Spanish classes also have a lot to do with Spanish and Latin American culture as well.
Live Abroad in a Spanish Speaking Country
While you are preparing for a major in Spanish or if you've just started you can make the most of your summer vacation or a semester and join a study program in Spain or in a Spanish-speaking country within Latin America such as Chile, Argentina, or Uruguay. There are many different programs that allow you as a high school student to study abroad in Spain or Latin America.
If you are a high school student that wants to study Spanish and you are fascinated with the beautiful cities in Spain such as Barcelona, Madrid, or Seville then you would really love a semester or summer abroad in Spain. A program for high school students which allows you to study in Spain is called SYA Spain.
Joining this program would allow you to study for up to a year abroad in Spain, the city that the program is based in is Zaragoza, which is located almost exactly between Madrid and Barcelona, which means you are located just a short train ride away from two of Europe's and Spain's most beautiful cities.
Most importantly if you join this program you will be immersed in the Spanish language! You will be living in a city in Spain where you need to ask for things in Spanish, speak Spanish all the time, live the Spanish lifestyle, eat Spanish food and learn in Spanish. All of the classes that are studied during your time in Spain will be studied in Spanish except for English and math. Studying abroad in the program will increase your level of Spanish so much!
The Institute for Study Abroad has different programs in different cities throughout Latin America where you can spend a semester abroad early in your college life while studying a major in Spanish. The Institute for Study Abroad has an agreement with a few different universities in a few different cities throughout Latin America such as:
- Buenos Aries, Argentina
- Cusco, Peru
- Santiago de Chile, Chile
Studying a semester or an entire year means you will be learning entirely in Spanish as well as living the lifestyle of the country that you choose to live and study in. Another great thing about the program is that they won't only help you find a university for you to study in but also help find you a place to live.
A great way to spend a semester abroad while studying in the IFSA program is to live with a host family. Living with a host family will give you a look at the culture first hand and be able to save a bit of money while living with a family instead of at a dorm or living in an apartment. Of course most important you will also be constantly speaking Spanish with a family that is native to this country.
Take an Intensive Course at an Academy
The most famous and well renowned Spanish language academy is called the Instituto de Cervantes which is from Spain. The Cervantes Institute is named after Miguel de Cervantes, the most famous and greatest writer in the Spanish language who wrote Don Quijote and other works.
There are Cervantes Institutes all over the world which is funded by the Spanish government in Spain. In the United States, there are three. There are academies in New York, Chicago, and Albuquerque. For the best intensive courses in Spanish or study programs, this is the best academy you can go to, they will even give you a level test based on the Common European Framework of References for languages. You can also put a certified level on your resume someday.
If you don't live close to a Cervantes Institute, you can still sign up at a study center in your hometown or an academic after-school academy that can help you with your Spanish homework and studies. Most towns and cities have academic centers that help students with their studies to achieve higher grades in high school and college.
Apart from going to an academy, you can also talk to your classroom teacher for some extra school help. Most teachers in high school offer extra practice so you can take advantage of practicing Spanish as much as possible before you begin studying in college.
Studying with a Private Spanish Teacher
Working with a tutor is also a fantastic way to keep improving your Spanish skills and practice. Let's say you're on summer vacation and don't want to get rusty. Finding a tutor to help you practice is an excellent way not to lose your Spanish language skills.
Using Superprof you can find excellent Spanish tutors that are not only highly-rated but also live in your area and available to you in person or over a video call via a platform like Skype.
The platform that connects tutors and students