Frequently Asked Questions about Spanish at Bowdoin

What course level should I take?

Frequently Asked Questions about Spanish at BowdoinAll students interested in studying Spanish must take the placement exam, check with your academic advisor or a Spanish faculty member about the score, and register for the recommended course. Otherwise, the registration system will not let you take Spanish courses. If your AP Spanish score is 5 or you have never been exposed to Spanish, you only need to complete the first 5 questions of the test. Visit our Placement page for more information.

Can I get AP/IB credit?

Students who received scores of 4 or higher in the AP exam, or 6 or higher in the IB exam, will be awarded one AP/IB credit upon the successful completion of a course, level 205 or higher, with a grade of B or higher. Credit will not be given if a student places into, or elects to take, a course lower than 205. Only one AP credit may be earned per person per language. (Please remember that all students, regardless of AP/IB score, should take the placement test).

How do I take the placement test?

Please visit our Placement page for instructions.

What do I do if a class I want to take is full?

For pedagogical reasons, our 100-200 level classes enroll a maximum of 18 students, and 300-level seminars have an even lower cap. We do not accept more than the maximum to ensure our students can benefit from participatory learning. Our professors keep a wait list for each section, so you should contact them before the course begins and stop by during the first meeting of the class.

Where should I study abroad?

This depends on your interests and needs. Think, not only about the country, but also about the kind of program (courses, internships, etc.) you would prefer. Your first stop should be the Off-Campus Study Web Page, where you can find a list of options recommended by Bowdoin. Then contact OCS to discuss your options and read your peers’ evaluations on different programs. See also the Spanish Off-Campus Study and Options page.

How do I obtain credit from Off-Campus Study?

After obtaining general credit transfer approval from the Registrar and your off-campus courses are listed in your academic record, write a 3-4 page narrative in Spanish (as indicated in our Off-Campus-Study section), and arrange for an interview with your Spanish faculty advisor in order to have credits approved toward your major or minor. Visit the Spanish Off-Campus Study and Options page for more details.

How can I get a tutor or learning mentor?

Tutors may be available through the Center for Learning & Teaching located in Kanbar Hall. Contact CLT or the Baldwin Program for more details.

How can I become a tutor, learning mentor or writing assistant?

At the beginning of each semester the Center for Learning & Teaching hires, upon student/faculty request, a few tutors with our recommendations. We generally recommend Spanish majors for these positions. Candidates should be able and willing to explain specific grammar points. Contact CLT, the Baldwin Program or the Writing Project for more details.

How can I improve my writing?

The Writing Project offers 45-minute Writing Workshops or semester-long peer tutorials for students writing papers in any Bowdoin course.  Get more information from their website or drop in at their offices in Kanbar Hall. Make sure you check out their writing resources as well.

How can I get more involved with Hispanic Studies and Spanish-speaking communities?

For community engagement opportunities, including Alternative Break trips to Spanish-speaking areas, visit the Center for the Common Good. In order to pursue further research on a Hispanic Studies topic of your interest, talk to our faculty: there are plenty of opportunities for independent or collaborative projects, particularly at the advanced levels. Make sure to visit our Research site for information about funding and resources at Bowdoin and beyond.

How can I practice my Spanish beyond classes?

Go the Spanish Table; visit the Center for the Common Good to learn about community-engagement initiatives involving Spanish speakers or students; go to the Media Commons in Hawthorne-Longfellow to find out about films, TV channels, and peers; read and listen to the news on the web, for example at BBC Mundo (or their Spanish learning page); contact the Latin American Student Organization for their events, many of their members are native speakers of Spanish; contact our Teaching Fellow or Faculty to find out about language conversation groups or clubs this semester.

For information about auditing a course, declaring a major or minor, getting transfer credit approved, etc., please visit the Registrar’s site.

For information on off-campus application deadlines and forms, see Bowdoin’s Off-Campus Study site.

Visit Bowdoin’s Academics page for more insights on advising, resources, learning opportunities, and civic engagement.

Image: Cartagena, Colombia – photo by prof. Nadia Celis