Course Descriptions & Program Requirements
Learn More

The Spanish major addresses all aspects of communication: interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational. In-depth studies of cultural perspectives, practices and products are an integral component of our curriculum.

What Graduates Have to Say

“My Spanish major has helped me to secure two AmeriCorps positions in different parts of the U.S.. It has also allowed me to connect with youth in the programs who are often neglected and shy because of the language barrier.”  (Natalie Roling, 2010)

"The Spanish major has opened many doors for me personally and professionally. I would not have been able to accept a position as a Spanish teacher without it. Further, I feel I have become more diverse in thinking and actions as I now have knowledge of other cultures." (Jesse Ernst, 2010)

“It drove me to learn more about myself. I lived in Spain for three years after graduation. I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn’t studied Spanish or studied in Santiago.” (Molly Halpin, 2008)

To read more from our alumni scroll down or click here

A Unique Academic Experience

  • We offer courses on Spanish for the professions where students may enhance their career options by taking classes in Spanish for criminal justice,health, and social services. These courses guide students in developing "real life" skills for the workplace.      
  • Courses on topics such as asset mapping, translation, and interpreting engage students with Spanish-speaking populations and work to create action in Latino population centers across Iowa and within the city of Dubuque.
  • Our capstone Senior Seminar course offers students the opportunity to develop an in-depth research project relating to their future career goals. Recent projects and topics include:
    • Home advocate for the City of Dubuque's Green and Healthy Homes Initiative for Spanish-speaking homeowners and/or landlords
    • Translations of scientific journals, short stories, as well as brochures for the City of Dubuque and Mercy Family Pharmacy
    • Research on insurance coverage in Latin America as well as immigrant services and mental health issues
    • Analysis of advertising in Latino markets in the United States
    • A study of the conflict between immigration policy and the health care system in the United States

experiential learning outside the classroom

  • The Spanish program is focused on creating community partnerships and fostering student engagement with the Spanish-speaking community in Dubuque. Recent partnerships and activities include:
    • Dubuque Multicultural Family Center: tutoring, language classes, cultural events
    • The Presentation Lantern Center: education, advocacy, hospitality
    • Local Schools: bilingual tutoring, teaching Spanish
  • Weekly Spanish conversation tables offer students the opportunity to engage with Spanish students of all levels and practice their language skills in an informal setting. 

A distinctive study abroad experience

We offer a semester-long study abroad program in Santiago, Spain   

  • In this program all students complete internships in an area related to their second field of study including biomedical sciences, international studies, public relations, education, psychology, media studies, criminal justice, and more. Recent examples include:
    • Fundación Down Compostela / Hostal México / Grupo Compostela de Universidades / Fisiogal (Centro de fisioterapia)
  • We also have community partnerships at multiple sites throughout Santiago where students can volunteer.
  • Students on this program earn 12 credits toward the Spanish major and participate in home-stays in Santiago.

Travel January-Term course options are based on an intensive 3-week course of study. Current program offerings for January term include:

  • Intensive language and culture instruction, currently offered in Cuernavaca, Mexico. The Cuernavaca experience includes home-stays with Spanish-speaking families and travel to Teotihuacán and the Basilica of la Virgen de Guagalupe near Mexico City.
  • Intensive bilingual study and exploration of culture and migration issues on the US/Mexico border, including time in Tucson, Arizona and Nogales and Agua Prieta, Sonora.  This experience includes: delegation activities with BorderLinks (; interactions with migrants, human rights organizations, and community activists; and some service learning.
  • Intensive language and culture study in Galicia, Spain on the Camino de Santiago.  We follow the Route of the Sea of Arousa and the River Ulla to Santiago, the legendary routes of the Apostle’s first trip to Galicia and his final, funeral journey.  Into this same time and place we weave the theme of modern human migrations across the Galician landscape, learning the emigrant/immigrant history of recent years.

Program Components

  • Incoming students take a placement exam to determine the appropriate starting point for continuing their study of Spanish. If you are interested in taking the Spanish placement exam please contact one of the faculty members listed on the side of the page. 
  • Core intermediate courses are followed by upper-level courses such as Mundo hispano and Major Writers. Topics offered in advanced courses on culture and civilization have included: La inmigración, El espacio urbano, ¿Existe una escritura femenina?, and Latinos en Estados Unidos
  • Our sequence of courses is conducive to completing a second major in another field. Students have completed second majors in such areas as: Business, Biology, Criminal Justice, Education, Chemistry, English, Marketing, Media Studies, Psychology and Social Work.
  • A Spanish minor is also available.
For more information or to interact with our dynamic community, visit us on Facebook

undergraduate bulletin core curriculum

Opportunities after graduation and alumni success

Natalie Roling ('10): After graduation, I was only sure about two things: I wanted to travel and continue in community-based work. Classes throughout the Spanish major at Loras allowed me to combine these two passions and discover that my ability to speak Spanish increased my opportunities to connect with those in the community who are often neglected or under-served because of the language barrier. Spanish was fundamental in securing my first two AmeriCorps positions in Miami, FL and Denver, CO after graduation. Currently, as the Health Specialist for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver, I see the impact of my Spanish every day. From translating forms and information sent home, to explaining homework to youth who speak Spanish fluently but can’t read or write the language, to making parents and youth who don’t speak English feel welcome and involved in all of the activities we offer; Spanish has allowed me to interact with and gain the trust of several youth and families at the Boys & Girls Club.

Katie Pedriana ('98): I double majored in Spanish and Biology at Loras College. I was encouraged to study abroad in Costa Rica and that has changed my life.  My knowledge of Spanish has taken me to many places and enabled me to meet and help people in a greater way.  Upon graduation I was accepted into Cabrini Mission Corps where I worked in an impoverished shantytown in Argentina at a health clinic and an orphanage for disabled children in Cordoba.  I was also able to travel to Pablo Neruda's home in Chile (My thesis was on Pablo Neruda).  I also lived and worked in Little Village in Chicago and was immersed in the Mexican community.  I subsequently became a Physician Assistant and had a scholarship with the National Health Service Corps where I worked in rural Washington for over 3 years serving migrant farm workers from Mexico.  Currently I work as a PA in Milwaukee and serve a large Spanish-speaking population.  I am happy that I do not need an interpreter and am able to communicate with ease with my patients.  Learning another language has welcomed me to countries and homes of many people.  As a PA, I pride myself in my ability to care for Spanish speaking patients who are relieved to know I speak their language.  I am forever indebted to the Spanish program for encouraging me to spread my wings for they truly have enabled me to fly.

Jesse Ernst ('10): I always enjoyed my high school Spanish classes, but when I enrolled at Loras College, I didn’t realize the enjoyment of learning a second-language in high school would turn into a college major, a semester abroad in Spain, and the preparation toward a career as a Spanish educator. Loras College and the Division of Modern Languages, during my days as a student, provided to me the skills, knowledge, and abilities, I currently utilize as an educator.

While at Loras, I was able to study abroad in Spain, serve as a tutor to non-English speakers, and work as a summer high school educator on campuses such as Stanford University, Arizona State University, and Colombia University. With all of these opportunities, I was still able to graduate in four years. If it were not for the Spanish and Education faculty at Loras College, I don’t know if I would have been able to walk into Loras’ graduation ceremony with a secured, full-time Spanish teaching position, the ability to now serve as my school’s department chair, or to be able to work toward a Master’s degree in Educational Administration. You may be able to leave Loras College with a respected degree and the skills for a career in four years, but Loras College will always be a part of you…Go Duhawks!

Liz Kruse (Elsbernd) ('08): Learning Spanish at Loras is about much more than learning a language. As a Spanish major, I not only became interested in learning more about the various cultures of Spanish speakers in Spain and Latin America, but I came out of the Spanish program at Loras wanting to know more about cultures from all over the world. My experiences during college volunteering to tutor immigrants in English at Dubuque’s Presentation Lantern Center and my semester-long study abroad experience in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, fueled a desire in me to live abroad after graduation, and so I applied for and received a Fulbright grant to teach English in a secondary school in Madrid, Spain.

During my post-graduation year in Madrid, I realized that I wanted to pursue a career in International Education so that I could work in a college or university with international students and/or study abroad students. Upon returning from Madrid, I applied for a Master’s program in Comparative and International Development Education at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and I now work in the International Programs Office at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. While I need to use my Spanish language skills only occasionally in my job, the love of learning about new languages and cultures that the Loras Spanish department encouraged is an integral component of my work.

The Spanish major is a great compliment to any other field in which you wish to major; it is even possible to be a triple major while studying Spanish at Loras! In addition to Spanish, I also majored in English Literature and International Studies, and I use the skills and knowledge I gained while studying these three fields every day. Without a doubt, the Spanish major at Loras taught me to utilize my language and critical thinking skills to make a positive difference in my community.
I would not be where I am today – or who I am today – without the encouragement and guidance I received from the Loras College Spanish department.

Olivia Young ('12): I'm a graduate from the class of 2012 with a double major in International Studies and Spanish with a minor in Economics.  While at Loras, I had opportunities to study abroad for 3 weeks in Cuernavaca, Mexico as well as a semester long stay in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. In addition to all the interesting and intense Spanish literature, Spanish and Mexican culture and Spanish grammar classes that I took while at Loras, I felt confident enough with the language to look for jobs that involved my competencies in understanding and speaking the language. I am currently a year-long volunteer at the Working Boys' Center (El Centro del Muchacho Trabajador) in Quito, Ecuador. Not only am I an English teacher (which means I speak 5% English and 95% Spanish), but I am also teaching one-on-one with a student in Special Education, three art classes as well as 3 computer classes, and adult education - all in Spanish! I would not be able to serve my students, both children and adults, in the same capacity if it were not for my education in the Spanish language and cultures from the Spanish program at Loras College. I am eternally grateful for all of their assistance and I know I would not be living in Quito, Ecuador as a volunteer if it weren't for their encouragement and true love for the language and all that the language encompasses.
Spanish Major and Minor
© 2013 LORAS COLLEGE  800.245.6727
Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission