The Spanish and French Studies program at Occidental is designed to provide the student with an analytical grasp of the traditions and complexities of the Spanish and/or French-speaking world. The rich cultural and literary expressions of Spain and Latin America provide the context for a classroom environment that builds strong conversational skills and immerses the student in intensive language use. Similarly, the department introduces students to the rich intellectual, literary, cultural, and political traditions of the Francophone world through the study of works from Africa, Canada, the Caribbean, and Europe. Classroom instruction and discussions take place entirely in Spanish or French, and students benefit from a state-of-the-art language studio (featuring computerized instruction, video programs, and daily newscasts from around the world). Occidental College's strategic position in Southern California also provides students with numerous opportunities to use the Spanish language interactively.
The department strongly encourages all students, whether considering a major in the department or not, to investigate Occidental's opportunities for study abroad (see Off-Campus Study). In recent years, students from a wide variety of departments, including the sciences, have taken advantage of these programs, greatly enhancing their education and future opportunities. These programs exemplify Occidental's ideal of a liberal education that increases sensitivity to and appreciation of other cultures. Finally, the department also invites students to engage in community-based learning through the different activities available in the intermediate and advanced Spanish language classes.--Occidental College Catalog