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Studying Spanish within European Languages and Cultures

Bachelor’s degree programme in European Languages and Cultures

Spanish is the world’s second most widely spoken Western language, after English. Spanish is spoken in most Latin American countries as well as parts of the United States. The specialization in Spanish within European Languages and Cultures at the University of Groningen will give you a very broad knowledge of Spanish language, history, culture and politics in relation to the surrounding world.

You may find Spanish a fun school subject, or perhaps you are taking flamenco lessons, have been to Spain, or you are interested in Latin America. There are plenty of reasons why you might choose to take the Spanish specialization within European Languages and Cultures. This is a good choice, as almost half a billion people around the world speak this language. Even in New York you will hear Spanish all around you.

Why Spanish?

In order to learn Spanish to perfection and understand all aspects of the language, you will also need knowledge of Spanish culture and mentality – and even that does not quite suffice. Spain has a very specific position in Europe and the world, both now and in the past. Understanding the interplay with other cultures will help you better recognize and understand Spanish-speaking cultures and societies.

In addition to immersing yourself in the Spanish language, you and your fellow students of European Languages and Cultures in Groningen will learn a lot more – about the languages spoken in Europe, social developments and the role language plays in them, about literature and culture, history and European politics. You will learn how these fields have always influenced each other, not stopping at national borders. You will, for example, discuss the relationship between the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War within the European context. Franco, Mussolini and Hitler maintained contact in this period. Once you know how those contacts went, you will come to understand why Franco, unlike Mussolini, kept out of the Second World War.


This background knowledge will come in handy in the Spanish themed course unit on ‘Film’. The Civil War is an important topic in Spanish cinema. Another themed course unit will help you link Spanish and the Spanish-speaking world to Europe by discussing cultural differences that you may run into when translating texts. You will soon realize that it is not always possible to simply translate a word or term from one language to another.

An important component of your degree programme is a stay abroad during your second or third year. Groningen has contacts and agreements to this end with universities in Seville, San Sebastián, Bilbao, Granada and Barcelona.

The combination of Spanish and European Languages and Cultures will make you suitable for a wide range of careers. Some graduates have landed jobs in communications at companies that do business in Spanish-speaking languages, or at NGOs. You can write the assignments and papers for these profile course units in your target language, and you may also concentrate on a certain region.

You can also work for a publishing company (perhaps one that specializes in educational textbooks), in the diplomatic world, or become a teacher, or take further training and become a translator.

Back to European Languages and Cultures .


Dieke Westerveld - Student of ELC Spanish

‘I eventually want to do something at an international level, which is why it’s so useful to speak another universal language, alongside English. I learned Spanish at secondary school and really took to the language. The good thing about European Languages and Cultures is that you only start learning a language in the second semester. This gives you time to explore all the other languages and choose the one you like best. The three introductory course units in the first semester give you a broad basis to help you choose your profile.’

Last modified:15 May 2019 2.32 p.m.
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