Spanish Language and Literature

Why Study Spanish at K?

Intimate class sizes, engaging language labs, rich departmental culture, personalized mentorship, and immersive study abroad opportunities make K a premier college to study Spanish. 

The Spanish program emphasizes a critical understanding of the Spanish-speaking world by focusing on language skills, analytical tools, and the study of a variety of cultural expressions. The department prides itself on the personal mentorship and relationships built between faculty, teaching assistants, and students as well as the flexibility to allow you to combine your studies with other majors, minors and concentrations.

Starting with the basics, you will learn about Spanish literature, culture, and history, in courses like Beginning Spanish, Advanced Literary Studies, The Spanish-Speaking World on Film, and Constructing Spanish-America—to name a few. You can also take specialized courses to learn how to apply your Spanish in different fields like business and health.

Your coursework is additionally supplemented by engaging language labs and cultural activities led by teaching assistants from Ecuador, Mexico, and Spain who provide fun activities to practice conversing in Spanish. Each year the department also hosts a film series open to the Kalamazoo community to highlight new Spanish-speaking artistry and stories. 

Nearly 70% of all Kalamazoo College students participate in a meaningful, immersive international and intercultural experience like study abroad, and the Spanish department is no exception! Our students have the opportunity to study abroad in Spanish-speaking countries, with programs in Spain, Ecuador, Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile, Cuba and Colombia, and a study away opportunity on the U.S.-Mexico border. 

The competencies you develop as a Spanish literature and language student at K will be an asset to you as you begin your career and enable you to appreciate the rich culture and history of the Spanish-speaking world. Our graduates pursue careers in diverse fields, including translation, interpretation, music, high school and college instruction, science, publishing, international trade, international banking, and foreign service.

What can you do with a Spanish language and literature degree?

Below are some of the careers, employers, and graduate schools of our Spanish alumni.


  • Teacher
  • Translator / Interpreter
  • Human Resources
  • Attorney
  • Business Analyst


  • Spain Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports
  • Peace Corps
  • TransPefect
  • World Strides
  • Stryker

Graduate Schools

  • Michigan State University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Wayne State University
  • University of Oregon
  • University of California Irvine

Program Spotlights

Explore the World with 10+ Spanish-Speaking Study Abroad Opportunities

While you can choose from any of the College’s 50+ study abroad programs, many of them have special applied-Spanish focuses, such as studying International Relations in Madrid, Spain; engaging in meaningful service-learning work preserving cultural rights in Oaxaca, Mexico; applying your community and global health knowledge in San José, Costa Rica; or learning about ecology exactly as Darwin did on the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. See all 11 Spanish study abroad programs

Experience Global Spanish culture right here in Kalamazoo 

Each year visiting international students come to campus to experience life in America and impart their culture to you. These visiting international students, alongside senior K students, will be your teaching assistants and host cultural events so that you can taste international cuisine, learn modern slang and get to know international artists and films. Outside of the department, the College has several student organizations centered on Spanish-speaking cultures and identity groups.

K students on a medical trip to Costa Rica

Learn to Apply your Spanish with Professional Spanish Classes

The Spanish department offers a wide breadth of coursework so that you can explore the many applications of Spanish language and culture across business, global health, history and linguistics. Students will often pair their Spanish degree with another major, and these specialized courses will give you the skills and vocabulary needed to apply your Spanish in your future career. Past students have leveraged their professional Spanish into bilingual careers in medicine, social work and business. 

Meet the Current Departmental Student Advisor

Sydney Salgado

Sydney Salgado (She/Her)

Majors: Spanish, Religion, and International and Area Studies

What is the best thing about being part of this department?

I have really enjoyed connecting with various professors in the department.

What is your biggest piece of advice to first-years and sophomores about getting connected to this department?

I would say attend the Spanish events that the department hosts! It’s a great way to meet your peers who are also interested in Spanish. I definitely think everyone should try at least one Spanish class during their time at K! The professors make each class super fun!

What is your Senior Integrated Project (SIP)?

I will be conducting ethnographic research on cemeteries in Mexico and how cemeteries are converted into more than just spaces of mourning through sociality.

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?

I would like to apply for a Fulbright to do research in Colombia and then hopefully attend grad school for Latin American Religions.

Spanish Department News