St. Mary's University 1 Camino Santa MariaSan Antonio, TX 78228 +1-210-436-3011 St. Mary's Universitylogo William Joseph Chaminade St. Mary's University, Texas
The Catholic and Marianist University


About the program

Spanish at St. Mary’s University gives students a rich view of the world, where they will learn more about the second most-spoken language in the United States. They will be able to read and enjoy important literature produced in the Western world in its original language. Fluently speaking Spanish is a desired skill that can be a powerful tool in many professional.

The Spanish program at St. Mary’s is one of the oldest at the University. Its roots come from the international education character of the Marianist Order, which has schools and universities not only throughout the United States, but in Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia.

Students can pursue the following program options:

Additional Language Courses

In addition to Spanish and Portuguese program courses, the Department of Languages at St. Mary’s also provides two other language course options. The additional language courses are not available as a major or minor, but first and second year courses are available in the following languages:

  • German

    Germany is a financial leader of Europe and therefore a major player in world economic matters. St. Mary’s business students are offered several business programs in German-speaking nations: one in Innsbruck, Austria and another in the small German town of Schmalkalden, where they can expand their knowledge of U.S and international business, German language and German culture and history. While knowledge of German language is not a prerequisite, it is certainly helpful to have taken some German at the main campus and know that one can go out into the town and get to know the locals and practice what was learned in the classroom.

    St. Mary’s students are offered summer law courses and undergraduate and graduate business courses in Innsbruck, Austria, a German-speaking nation. Again, knowledge of German language can only enhance a student’s experience in a foreign country, in addition to giving the locals a better image of Americans.

    Music majors will necessarily study the great German masters and voice students know that proper interpretation of music depends upon knowing what the words mean and being able to pronounce and intonate properly. Over the years, students have approached the German language faculty to consult with us about proper pronunciation of German music they are presenting in both private and public performances.

    Besides those above-mentioned programs in Schmalkalden and Innsbruck, St. Mary’s students have participated in a number of programs at other German institutions, including universities in Berlin, Heidelberg, Frankfurt and Munich. All have returned with a greater appreciation of the necessity of understanding our global interconnectedness and are enthusiastically recruiting fellow students to take advantage of the world of opportunities available to the St. Mary’s community.

  • Latin

    Each of us has had the chance to see, or to use, abbreviations such as “i.e”, or “etc.”, which stand for, respectively, “that is” and “all the other things (of the same kind).” Daily we commonly use “a.m.” or “p.m.” to indicate the hours, knowing that the first refers to the morning (ante meridiem = before the mid-day), and the second to the afternoon (post meridiem = after the mid-day). These are all Latin expressions, which have been incorporated into our daily lives and our useful vocabulary.

    Latin, the language of ancient Romans, is not a dead language; rather, it is alive in our daily usage. Indeed, Latin is present even in the English language. Take the English word “student,” for instance: it comes from the Latin “studens” meaning “the one who studies”. And, as we know, Latin survives through modern languages such as Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Catalán, Galician, etc.

    A solid knowledge of Latin will guarantee a faster and more thorough learning of any other language, especially the Romance languages. More importantly, since language is one of the ways we use to communicate thought, Latin is particularly suited to help us reflect upon and understand the ways in which the original speakers of Latin, people who lived in ancient Rome, organized their thoughts, beliefs and values. Latin is, in other words, the linguistic decodification of a civilization. Since so many of our political, legal, and cultural institutions derive from foundations established in Roman civilization, studying Latin helps us to deeply understand our own present world. Indeed, in terms of both pure language and expression of a culture, Latin constitutes one of the basic roots of what we know today as Western Civilization. This is the reason why, despite the wrong reputation of being a dead language, Latin is widely studied. In Texas it is the fourth most studied language.

    St. Mary’s offers classes in Latin, but not a major or minor.

Study Abroad

The Department of Languages encourages study abroad to students of all majors. Studying abroad can help students reach requirements for any of the majors, minors or certificates in Languages.

Study abroad programs sponsored by St. Mary’s include the Semester in Spain program, the Semester Exchange Program in Brazil, a summer program in Japan and the Southern Cone Studies Certificate Program in Brazil, or Argentina and Chile. The department also aids students looking to participate in other study abroad programs.

Studying abroad gives students first-hand experience with other cultures and languages and helps them develop the cross-cultural communication skills valued by many employers.

St. Mary’s University has a spring semester at the Universidad de Alcala de Henares outside of Madrid, Spain. Part of the program was designed to give prospective teachers a cultural experience. All Teacher Certification students are encouraged to participate in the Spain Semester abroad.

More about studying abroad

Scholarship Opportunities

Several scholarship options are available for students. All scholarships are given annually in the spring semester.

For 2018, the deadline to apply is February 9 at noon.

Explore our scholarship opportunities below.

  • La Prensa Foundation Scholarship for Spanish Majors

    The La Prensa Foundation Scholarship for Spanish Majors is awarded to Spanish majors in the last semester of their junior year, or to those in the first semester of their senior year. Candidates to the award are students who have a minimum GPA of 3.2.

    To be considered for the award, you need:

    • To inform the Chair of the Department, by email, of your intention to participate.
    • To write an essay of at least three pages (double space, font Times New Roman, size 12) about what has led you to choose the Spanish major, and what you intend to do in your career that incorporates Spanish.
    • To deliver personally your essay and an unofficial copy of your transcript by the deadline.

    Contact Meghann Peace, Ph.D., Department Chair, at or 210-436-3738 or visit her on campus in Reinbolt Hall, Room 302-A, for more information on the specific requirements for the application and deadline.

  • Department of Languages Fund

    This fund was established by an anonymous donor to benefit Spanish majors (B.A. or B.A. with Teacher Certification).

    To be considered for the award:

    • Write to the chair of the Department of Languages to indicate your intention to participate.
    • Write an essay about why you chose to study Spanish or why you chose to be a Spanish teacher. The essay should include a reflection about how a course of study at St. Mary’s has helped shape your professional and personal views.
    • Personally deliver your essay and an unofficial copy of your transcript.

    Contact Megan Peace, Ph.D., Department Chair, at or 210-436-3738 or visit her on campus in Reinbolt Hall, Room 302-A, for more information on the specific requirements for the application and deadline.

  • Rose Louise Ballinger Memorial Scholarship

    This award was created by Robert Ballinger and is wife Ginny Ballinger. Both Mr. and Mrs. Ballinger have been teachers all their lives. Mr. Ballinger has always had deep connections with the Marianists, and he worked at Worthington, Ohio, as a teacher of French and English. While at Worthington, he developed the French program and eventually taught this language full time. Mrs. Ballinger, who has a doctorate in Education Curriculum, Instruction, and Professional Development from the Ohio State University, taught Spanish at Upper Arlington, was chair of her school’s Global Languages Department, and was appointed State Curriculum Consultant for Foreign Languages at the Ohio Department of Education from 1993 to 2000, when she retired. Both Mr. and Mrs. Ballinger were very active in their state association of language Teachers (Ohio Foreign Language Association), and were each elected as OFLA’s presidents (Mrs. Ballinger 1993-1994, and Mr. Ballinger 2000-2001).

    It is a great honor for our Department of Languages at St. Mary’s University to be associated with and beneficiaries of such a fine example of love for teaching and, more specifically, love for teaching languages. We are very grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Ballinger for their generosity in establishing this award that benefits our students.

    The award of up to $3,000 is to be given to a foreign language major with a minimum GPA of 3.2 and demonstrated financial need.  Students in their last semester of their junior year, or the first semester of their senior year are eligible. Preference will be given first to a language student interested in becoming a foreign language teacher, then to a foreign language major, and if no qualified candidate exists, to a student seeking teacher certification in any field.

    To be considered for the award:

    • Write to the Chair of the Department of Languages to indicate your intention to participate.
    • Write a three-page essay in English or in Spanish, explaining why you has decided to study Spanish. For those seeking a degree with Teacher Certificate, make sure to write about your plans for a career in teaching.
    • Personally deliver your essay and an unofficial copy of your transcript in an envelope by the deadline.

    Contact Meghann Peace, Ph.D., Department Chair, at or 210-436-3738 or visit her on campus in Reinbolt Hall, Room 302-A, for more information on the specific requirements for the application and deadline.

Learn more about the St. Mary's Spanish Program


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