New Spanish concentration preps students for popular professions

A new Spanish concentration complements studies of everything from business management to education or nursing and more.

Written by: Haley Herfurth

Media contact: Alicia Rohan

lourdes sanchez bodyLourdes Sánchez-LópezAround 55 million Hispanic people live in the United States, and the U.S. Census Bureau projects that Hispanic people will make up more than 28 percent of the total population by 2060. The University of Alabama at Birmingham has launched a new concentration in applied professional Spanish, which focuses on providing students a higher level of language proficiency for business- and health care-related topics.

“There are more Spanish-speaking people in the United States than there are in Spain itself or in all seven countries in Central America combined,” said Lourdes Sánchez-López, professor in the UAB Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures. Spain has around 46.5 million residents, she adds, and there are more than 500 million Spanish-speakers worldwide in 22 different countries. “If students want to be proactive and competitive, they should learn Spanish.”

The College of Arts and Sciences launched the concentration as an expansion on the department’s Spanish for Specific Purposes certificate, launched in 2008, and its Spanish for business minor, which it began offering in 2010.

Sánchez-López, who directs the certificate program, says learning Spanish is a smart choice for students wanting to prepare for the future of American business. Since joining the department in 2001, she has identified practical ways to incorporate speaking and using Spanish in professional fields alongside fostering partnership in Birmingham’s Hispanic community.