SPANISH LANGUAGE PROGRAM
Q: How do I find the appropriate Spanish course level for me? Do I need to schedule a Spanish Placement Interview?
A: You should check our webpage with ‘Guidelines for Spanish Placement’. Most students can place themselves at the appropriate level indicated on the tables provided. Only students who: (a) are heritage learners, (b) are transfer students or (c) took 4 years of Spanish in high school and have additional experience with the language (studying or living abroad in a Spanish speaking country), need to make an appointment to have a Spanish Placement Interview.
Q: Am I a Heritage Learner of Spanish?
A: A heritage learner of Spanish is a person who grew up in a household where Spanish was spoken. Most of the time, heritage learners have a cultural connection to the language, have had some degree of exposure to it outside the classroom environment and have some measure of proficiency, with or without prior formal instruction in the heritage language. There are many types of heritage learners ranging from those who are quite fluent to those who speak little of their heritage language.
Q: Are there any Spanish courses tailored to me as a Heritage Learner?
A: Heritage speakers can be placed at different levels along the course continuum. At the advanced level (fifth semester of Spanish), heritage students should take Spanish 126 (Advanced Grammar and Composition for Heritage Learners) instead of Spanish 125 (Advanced Grammar and Composition). In most cases, advanced heritage students are exempted from taking Spanish 120 (Advanced Conversation).
Q: How do I schedule a Spanish Placement Interview?
A: You will find a link to the interview scheduler on our Language Placement webpage <insert link>. Choose a date for your appointment and complete the accompanying questionnaire. If you are a heritage learner, the questionnaire will also prompt you to complete a writing sample as part of the placement procedure.
Q: What does the Spanish Placement Interview consist of?
A: The Spanish Placement Interview lasts 20 minutes and consists of a conversation in English and in Spanish with the Language Program Coordinator or with the Assistant Coordinator. After sharing your language background and your personal and academic goals, the interviewer will ask you some questions in Spanish -on topics like those covered in language courses (biographical information, family, free time, daily activities, plans, experiences in the past, opinions, etc.). You do not need to prepare anything for this interview. This is not an exam. At the end of the interview, you will receive the result (which will also be entered in PeopleSoft) as well as recommendations on which classes to take in the future based on your interests and goals.
Q: Who can I contact if I have other questions about placement in the appropriate Spanish course?
A: After checking our webpage ‘Guidelines for Spanish Placement’ <insert link>, you can contact the Language Program Coordinator, Prof. Lima , or the Assistant Coordinator Mari Felix Cubas-Mora. In the summer, you can contact the faculty member appointed as Spanish Placement Interview Coordinator.
Q: Who can I contact if I think I am not enrolled in the appropriate level during the first two weeks in the semester?
A: If you have any concerns about your placement during the first two weeks of class (add/drop period), you should talk to your instructor as soon as possible. He/she will be able to recommend the class that best fits your level. You can always contact the Language Program Coordinator, Prof. Lima <insert link>, or the Assistant Coordinator <name and link>.
Q: What opportunities can I find to meet other students and practice my Spanish outside the classroom?
A: There are several opportunities:
- You can visit El Centro –The Spanish Hub at Pitt, which offers in-person and remote walk-in tutoring hours in all forms of oral and written communication. The schedule is posted on our website.
In addition, El Centro organizes weekly Conversation Tables as well as Spanish Language Clinics, which serve students interested in meeting for extra instruction or for remedial work geared to improving their performance in their Spanish classes. These sessions provide a great opportunitiy to meet students from other Spanish language classes. Check: https://www.hispanic.pitt.edu/language-clinic
- You can join the Spanish Club. The club provides many opportunities for students learning Spanish, native and heritage Spanish speakers, or those interested in the language and cultures. Some of the events that the Spanish Club sponsors are Mesas de Conversación/ Conversation Tables, Noches de Cultura/ Culture Nights, etc. For more information, please check www.facebook.com/groups/pittspanishclub, @pittspanishclub on Instagram, or contact the Spanish Club at email@example.com.
- You can also join the Latinx Student Association (LSA). The club serves as an organization centered around the advancement and success of Pitt's Latinx students. For more information, please check http://pittlsa.wordpress.com or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: How can I find a tutor?
A: The Hispanic Languages and Literatures Department hosts El Centro –The Spanish Hub at Pitt which provides individual and small-group instruction in all forms of oral and written communication. El Centro also assists students on issues of content, organization, and structure when writing in Spanish. Students should not expect the tutor to proofread their compositions or essays. El Centro offers in-person and remote walk-in hours. The schedule is posted on our website.
In addition, El Centro organizes weekly conversation tables as well as Spanish Language Clinics, which serve students interested in meeting for extra instruction or for remedial work geared to improving their performance in their Spanish classes. Our clinics are live interactive 60- to 90-minute face-to-face or Zoom sessions and they will be announced on our page during the semester.
If you are looking for fully individualized tutoring, the department may provide you with names of graduate students or instructors who could be interested in tutoring, but the department is not responsible for these arrangements or for the performance of the tutor.
Q: Can I be exempted from the foreign language requirement?
A: The Hispanic Languages and Literatures Department does not grant exemptions from the Second Language General Education requirement. However, you can schedule an Oral Placement Interview with us. If you place in third semester Spanish or higher, you can use the result of this interview as proof that you fulfill the language requirement. The interview can also serve as an opportunity to inform you about our course offerings, should you consider further developing your fluency in Spanish in an academic context. You can make an appointment for a Spanish Placement Interview here.