First Year


In the first-year program, students acquire essential Spanish through abundant opportunities to interact in the language in meaningful ways. In this fashion, students learn to function appropriately in the language in a variety of social and cultural contexts.

Program objectives revolve around three key axes:

Interpersonal Interpretive Presentational
Interacting with others in order to, e.g.,
  • ask and answer questions
  • express likes and dislikes
  • exchange opinions
  • talk about people, places, experiences, and events
Understanding Spanish in, e.g.,
  • social interactions that students themselves can engage in
  • readings of up to 3 pages in length
  • television news reports and oral presentations
Using academic language in
  • giving rehearsed oral presentations with limited reliance on notes
  • writing essays of up to 3 pages in length
  • asking questions in response to formal presentations

Important Note: The specific objectives of each course can be found on that course's individual page.


Accelerated/Intensive 2-Quarter Track versus Year-long 3-Quarter Track
The accelerated, intensive track of first-year Spanish covers in two quarters (SPANLANG 1A and SPANLANG 2A) the same material that is normally covered in three quarters. As such, the accelerated track demands of its students a greater, more concentrated amount of time, effort, and dedication, as well as a good deal of previous experience. The accelerated track is thus open only to students with previous exposure to Spanish in the classroom or extensive exposure to another Romance language (for example, French, Italian, or Portuguese). Students who have studied Spanish before must place into the accelerated track via the on-line placement exam at Students with exposure to another Romance language must demonstrate second-year proficiency (or above) in that language through the relevant placement exam or second-year coursework in that language at Stanford. For further information, contact Hae-Joon Won at

Spanish for Medical Students (SPANLANG 121M, 122M, 123M) is a series in basic Spanish for health care professionals that focuses on such topics as the body, hospital procedures, and diagnoses. Two sections are offered each quarter, one geared toward beginners and the other toward intermediate students. Undergraduates may enroll if space is available. Contact Irene Corso at for further information. (SPANLANG 121M, 122M, and 123M do not fulfill the language requirement for undergraduates.)