Inquiries about Spanish and Portuguese programs
For questions about our Spanish program, feel free to email Professor Cynthia Kauffeld ([email protected]). Inquiries about the Portuguese program can be directed to Professor Ernesto Ortiz-Diaz ([email protected]).
Frequently Asked Questions
- Placement Exam
- How to take the test
- What your score means
- When you don’t agree with your results
- Can’t remember your score?
- If you feel you’re in the wrong class
- Testing out of the Macalester language requirement
- Further Practice
- Study Abroad
If you are an incoming first year student, there will be information on the orientation website over the summer about the language placement exam. Other students with questions about taking the placement exam should contact Brenda Piatz in Academic Programs (ext. 6036 or piatz@mac).
I did not take the placement exam before I came to Macalester. What do I do now?
Call or email Brenda Piatz in Academic Programs (ext. 6036, or piatz@mac). She can get you set up to take the exam.
There’s a table on the exam website that will tell you what your score means, and which course you should take.
You are strongly encouraged to take the class recommended by your score. If you feel you need a more fundamental class or more of a challenge, explain your thoughts to your academic adviser and the professor teaching the class you’re interested in taking.
Call or email Brenda Piatz in Academic Programs (ext. 6036, or piatz@mac). She can look up your exam score for you. If it has been more than one year since you took the exam, we recommend you retake the placement exam.
Talk to your instructor and take the placement exam ASAP by contacting Brenda Piatz in Academic Programs.
A score of 4 or 5 on the Spanish Language or Literature AP exams fulfill the language requirement. Alternatively, you can take a Spanish course on campus. Take the placement exam to see which course would be appropriate for you. Students must successfully complete SPAN 204 or higher in order to satisfy the requirement.
Join us for Hora de Cultura events throughout the semester. Through Hora de Cultura, we’d like to extend an invitation to our community to discover what else our department offers to students in our language courses: A Department Beyond a Language! This program is open to all students who speak Spanish, take Spanish classes and/or want to improve their speaking skills and their knowledge of the Spanish-speaking countries. Topics and activities will vary every session.
Schedule a time with our tutors and have a conversation. Find interested classmates, and have a Spanish- or Portuguese-only lunch during the week. Watch Spanish-language TV or read newspapers on the Web. Volunteer in the local Latino community (see the next answer for information on how to do this).
I would like to continue practicing Spanish during the break (winter/summer). What do you suggest?
Find a Spanish-speaking pen pal, IM buddy, or chat room. Listen to local Spanish radio, or find an Internet station. Watch Spanish-language news or telenovelas (soap operas) on cable or on the Internet. Hang out in parts of town where Spanish is spoken more, such as Saint Paul’s District del Sol. You might also volunteer within the Latino community in the Twin Cities or at home. A couple of places you might contact to volunteer are Centro Tyrone Guzmán, Comunidades Organizando el Poder y la Acción Latina (COPAL), and Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio (CLUES).
I am interested in study abroad programs to immerse myself in the culture(s) of the Spanish/Portuguese-speaking world. What programs does Macalester offer? Which ones does the Department of Spanish & Portuguese recommend?
Here’s our page on study abroad programs.
I would like to study abroad for a year. Is it possible? Who do I need to talk to?
Yes, it is possible to study abroad for a year. Before you get too far in your plans, you should read the Center for Study Away’s website on study abroad.