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Is minoring in Spanish worth it no matter your major?


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Kevin T.’s Answer

Hi Madison,

Good question. I would say that when it comes to any foreign language, the main thing is that you become fluent in the language rather than getting a degree. I know several of people with degrees in a foreign language, but who are not fluent in the language. As a result, those people don't really use the degree.

In contrast, I know several people without degrees in foreign languages who are fluent and who can use that language to further their career. For example, if you are fluent in Spanish, you can live and work in many different countries or you can work in the United States in a field where you actually use your Spanish. You can find a business with offices in Spain, Mexico, or Argentina for example and travel to those countries and speak with your colleagues in those countries without a translator.

There is one caveat to this advice, and that is if you want to teach the language then it would be really good to have a college degree in that language.

My suggestion is to expose yourself on a daily basis to the language and make sure that you are confident enough to read, write, and speak in that language. I would also suggest that you spend a year abroad during college in order to be immersed in your language which will help you learn it better. If you do that, the language will become a part of your life forever. My wife, my brother, and my father-in-law all spent significant time in foreign countries during their lives and mastered French or Spanish and still are fluent in their language. In contrast, I took enough Spanish in college to become conversant but never studied abroad, and I quickly lost it after I stopped studying. The language is now somewhat useless to me.

So, regardless of whether you get a degree (either a major or a minor) try to become fluent by spending a semester or a year abroad and immersed in the language. Actually speaking the language will be very useful to your career.

Kevin T. recommends the following next steps:

Spend time every day practicing the language
Spend a semester abroad in college, if not a year, to increase your changes of becoming fluent.

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Melisa’s Answer

Great answer Kevin! Spot on and I totally agree. Only thing I'll add is an example.

Madison,

My daughter minored in Spanish and had found it helpful for her job. However, as Kevin mentioned, she shared it is important to keep it fresh and practice, so you'll stay fluent in the language. Look for others you can converse with and helpful phone apps that also make it fun to practice and keep learn a foreign language.

Best wishes for success in your future education and career goals!

Melisa recommends the following next steps:

Identify a friend or mentor you can practice conversing in Spanish with.
Look for helpful mobile apps or online sites that let you practice writing or conversing in foreign languages.

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