Spanish is taught through the communicative approach, which emphasises your production skills in the language you are learning. You will have many opportunities to improve your speaking and comprehension skills using the latest text, audio, video and internet resources, including regular screenings of recent Spanish-language movies.
The University of Otago has a collaboration agreement with the Spanish Ministry of Education which means our students have priority in the language assistance programme in Spain where they can choose to study for either half a year or a full year.
Every year the Spanish programme grants an award to the top student studying towards a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Spanish.
Apart from language courses, you can also choose papers which will give you perspectives on the social values and cultural life of the many countries around the world where Spanish is spoken. Some of these courses explore the social history of a particular period, others focus on cultural specifics such as cinema, literature and the arts.
These courses reflect the varied research interests of the staff in the Spanish programme: Latin American narrative, poetry, micro fiction, linguistics, historiography of linguistics, Spanish variation, Latin American and Spanish 19th century literature and 20th century popular culture.
Majors, minors and diplomas
Spanish is available as both a major and a minor subject of the Bachelor of Arts programme.
Spanish can be combined with another BA major or form part of a double degree. We offer the Diploma in Spanish Language or the Diploma in Spanish Language and Culture for students who major in other subjects. Minors in Spanish Language or Spanish Culture are available too.
For a BA majoring in Spanish you must complete 10 Spanish language and culture papers, plus an additional 10 papers either from within the department and/or from other departments. If you are considering teaching Spanish, a minor in Linguistics can help you understand the mechanics of languages and how we learn them.
The minor in Spanish Language or Spanish Culture comprises either five Spanish Language or five Spanish Culture papers. The minor can be combined with any Bachelor of Arts, Commerce, Theology or Science degree.
The Diploma in Spanish Language comprises seven Spanish language papers, two at 100 level, three at 200 level and two at 300 level.
The Diploma in Spanish Language and Culture comprises seven Spanish language and culture papers, at least two at 300 level and a combination at 100 and 200 level.
BA Honours, MA or PhD
BA Honours requires an extra year of study; you can go for one semester to a University in Spain or Latin America to experience language and culture papers taught in the target language and embedded in the cultural environment.
Students who are interested in further research in Spanish can join our MA or PhD programmes or undertake a jointly supervised postgraduate degree with other departments in the University.
Otago has established exchange relationships with universities in Spain and Latin America. If your marks average B or better, you may qualify to attend one of these institutions for a semester or two. Honours students are able to benefit even more with a semester of immersion, in-country study. You pay only your New Zealand fees, and complete your qualification within the same time-frame as if you had never been away. Competitive scholarships are available to support students on exchange.
No previous knowledge of Spanish is required.