Heritage Students

Learning a second or third language entails different pedagogical techniques depending on a person’s prior experiences with the language.  For example, if you have grown up hearing or speaking Spanish at home or with family members, attended elementary or secondary school primarily in Spanish, and/or lived for a year or longer in a Spanish-speaking country prior to enrolling in Mason, we would consider you a native, heritage, and/or fluent speaker or learner of the language. Native, heritage, and/or fluent speakers have a variety of skills, strengths or competencies in the language, and we offer several intermediate and advanced courses tailored to these background and experiences with Spanish.

SPAN215: Intermediate Spanish for Heritage Speakers 

SPAN215: Intermediate Spanish for Heritage Speakers is a three-credit course that fulfills the Foreign Language Requirement that many majors require. In this course, you will build on your already existing linguistic resources and sociocultural knowledge of Spanish. You will develop your oral and written expression through exposure to Spanish-language texts, films, digital media, music, and visual art. You will also cultivate your critical understanding of the significance of language and other forms of culture for Spanish-language communities. The course is designed to give you multiple opportunities for personal reflection on issues concerning language and identity.  

SPAN315: Spanish in Context for Heritage Speakers 

SPAN315: Spanish in Context for Heritage Speakers is a three-credit advanced course designed to prepare students for content-based courses at the 300- and 400-level. This course is designed for students who are comfortable communicating in Spanish who want to improve their reading and writing abilities while developing a critical understanding of Latin American, Latino, and/or Spanish histories and cultures. Course components include orthography and vocabulary activities, grammar review and practice, assigned readings in various genres, critical cultural analysis, in-class discussions, written essays, and film viewing. Many students who take this course major or minor in Spanish. This course is equivalent to SPAN305 and SPAN306 or SPAN309. Students may register for this class after earning the appropriate placement test score, taking SPAN215, or receiving instructor permission.

Course Placement 

To determine which course might be appropriate for you as a starting point, you are encouraged to view the course descriptions on the Modern & Classical Languages website for more information or write Dr. Carla Burns (cburns1@gmu.edu) with any questions.