Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Department of Spanish and Portuguese

The Heritage Spanish Track

Are you a Spanish heritage learner?

First of all, did you grow up hearing or speaking Spanish at home? Did you hear Spanish from your parents, grandparents or other family members since you were very young? If you were exposed to Spanish at home while growing up, then you probably are a heritage learner. Most heritage learners have a great understanding of their cultural heritage, but there are a wide variety of heritage learners in terms of proficiency, language dominance and language use. You might feel like you have full oral fluency and literacy in Spanish, or perhaps you have oral fluency but have a hard time reading and writing in Spanish, since maybe your entire education has been in English. Or maybe you fall into the category of heritage learners who understand Spanish well, speak it to a limited degree, but have a hard time expressing yourself in Spanish on a wide variety of topics. If you fit any of these descriptions above, then our Spanish heritage language courses are for you.

The courses in our Heritage Spanish track focus on the development of bilingual and bicultural literacies through the analysis and use of the heritage language.

The three courses in the Spanish heritage track are:

SPN 604 – Accelerated Introductory Spanish for Heritage Learners

Flag: Cultural Diversity in the US

SPN 612 – Accelerated Intermediate Spanish for Heritage Learners

Flag: Cultural Diversity in the US

SPN 327N – Academic Writing for Heritage Speakers

Flags: Writing, Ethics and Leadership, and Cultural Diversity in the US

With SPN 604 and SPN 612, heritage learners are able to fulfill the lower division language requirement (normally fulfilled in three semesters: SPN 601D, SPN 610 and SPN 611). SPN 604 and SPN 612 are learner-centered courses, designed to provide students with the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of Hispanic cultures and sociopolitical realities and develop a metalinguistic understanding of the language. In these courses, heritage learners study and analyze spoken, oral, and written Spanish in an academic setting; they improve their strategic Spanish speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills; build sophisticated and advanced vocabulary (including terminology to discuss language); as well as evaluate dialectal, social, and contextual variations.

SPN 327N is a bridge course between the lower-division Spanish heritage language courses and upper-division courses in culture, literature, and linguistics. SPN 327N is a project-based learning course, in which students perform learner-centered activities that focus on learning through inquiry, and acquiring in-depth knowledge on issues of relevance and interest in the real world. In this course, students perform research in Spanish using a variety of sources, and learn to analyze these sources, developing critical and integrative thinking skills in the heritage language. Students have the opportunity to interact in Spanish with members of their communities, discuss topics that are relevant to their interests and fields of study, as well as write, speak and present on these topics in an academic and professional setting. In addition, they gain skills that would be required to work professionally in a Spanish-speaking environment. The goal of this course is to both prepare and empower students to apply their bilingual/bicultural knowledge in academic and professional settings.

Below you can see a video of some students’ thoughts about our heritage Spanish program.

If you have any questions about our courses, please feel free to contact one of the heritage track instructors:

María Luisa Echavarría           marialuisa.echavarria@utexas.edu

Jocelly Meiners                       jocelly@utexas.edu

Delia Montesinos                    admontesinos@austin.utexas.edu

Silvia Ramírez                         ramirsil@austin.utexas.edu

¡Esperamos verte en una de nuestras clases pronto! 


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    The University of Texas at Austin
    BEN 2.116
    150 W. 21st Street, Stop B3700
    Austin, TX 78712-1155
    Advising & Registration: 512-232-4506/512-232-4503; Graduate Coordinator: 512-232-4502; Main Office & General Inquiries: 512-471-4936