Heritage Speakers of Spanish

Did you grow up speaking Spanish either at home or in your community, but most of your academic experience has been in English? If so, you are a Spanish Heritage Speaker!

Specially Designed Courses

Albion College’s Department of Modern Languages and Cultures offers Spanish courses that have been created specifically for students who grew up being exposed to the Spanish language. In these courses (available as early as your first year at Albion), you will gain greater confidence in your Spanish in all facets: writing and reading, speaking and listening.

In particular, you will become more comfortable communicating in Spanish within an academic setting—from participating in classroom discussions to writing essays and other compositions. You’ll also come to understand the misconceptions as well as the advantages of being bilingual, and recognize and address the unique challenges of being a Heritage Speaker.

Culture and Context

As you improve and refine your Spanish, you will develop a more nuanced understanding of the vast diversity of Latino/a and Hispanic cultures. From your first course (Spanish 300: Spanish for Heritage Speakers) you will learn about the cultural, ethnic and linguistic diversity of the Spanish-speaking world—which, of course, includes the United States.

The U.S. has been a Spanish-speaking land since the 1500s: Spanish was spoken here before the arrival of the Pilgrims. From that foundation, Albion’s Spanish courses for Heritage Speakers emphasize that languages are living entities; they evolve and change over time. And it is our hope that these courses will instill an appreciation toward bilingual and bicultural communities in the U.S.—that the words we speak and the lives we live are the product of continuous cultural exchange.

Limitless Opportunities

Outside of class, you’ll be able to regularly practice and master your Spanish. Interact with people from Spanish-speaking countries through weekly conversation tables led by Native Speaker Teaching Assistants; live in Albion’s I-Space; embark on off-campus study; gain professional experience through an internship; and participate in yearly events and festivals.

In our Heritage Speaker courses, you’ll also reflect on your career goals and create a realistic plan for how to achieve them. Several class projects are meant to help you think about what you want to do after college, and how being bilingual might help you get there.

Your cultural background is a highly prized asset in today’s global economy, and in a multicultural United States. Albion College’s Spanish courses for Heritage Speakers will equip you with essential communication strategies that will remain valuable years after your graduation.

For more information on our Heritage Speaker courses, contact Dr. Elizabeth Barrios, Assistant Professor of Spanish & Latin American Latino/a Studies, at [email protected], or the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures at (517) 629-0207.