Spanish is the third most widely spoken language in the world. It originated in Spain, and in the 15th century spread to many parts of the globe. Today it is spoken by 400 million people. It is an important cultural language, and is the medium of such major works of literature as Don Quixote and One Hundred Years of Solitude, and such well known film directors as Pedro Almodovar and Luis Buñuel.
The official language of 20 countries, Spanish is also an official language of the United Nations, the Organization of American States, the Union of South American Nations, and of Mercosur, as well as one of the official and working languages of the European Union. Spanish is an important trading language internationally and, in particular, in the Asia Pacific region.
Course objectives and overview
The Spanish language is offered at three levels of single semester courses. The courses aim at providing students with the knowledge and communication skills relevant to functioning in common everyday situations in a Spanish-speaking environment. The language is taught using a communicative approach. Students begin speaking Spanish from the first day in class and are encouraged to interact in Spanish with staff and with fellow students in work-group activities. These experiences are complemented through the development of comprehension by independent study of audio materials and on-line resources.
At the end of the third semester of studying Spanish, the student may chose to take one of the three exams of the Diploma in Spanish as a Foreign language (DELE), offered by the Instituto Cervantes http://www.cervantes.es/. The DELE, is the only official, internationally recognized qualification certifying the students’ knowledge of Spanish as a foreign language.