What can I do with a degree in Spanish?

Student space Karl Popper building

Spanish speakers are as numerous as native speakers of English. The largest concentrations are in Spain, Central and Latin America, and the USA. Studying Spanish will put you in a position to understand and participate in the economic and political transformations that connect even the remotest places in Latin America with our increasingly globalised world.

For students studying towards degrees in areas such as Law, Commerce, Engineering or Science, the Diploma in Spanish Language provides a tertiary qualification in a foreign language which will enhance their employment opportunities, especially internationally.

Through their Spanish degree, graduates develop a valuable set of skills that includes:

  • Reading, writing, listening and speaking Spanish
  • Well-developed communication skills
  • Interpretive and analytical thinking
  • Understanding the global interactions which shape contemporary society
  • Thinking critically and creatively, and challenging ideas
  • Problem solving skills
  • Research and computing skills.

Practise your skills at work or in Spain

Opportunities to apply your learning are available:

  • An internship can deepen your skillset, working knowledge and employability
  • Immerse yourself in Spanish language and culture through an exchange programme, for example at the University of Castilla-La Mancha in Spain.

A degree in Spanish can lead to a variety of career options, for example:

  • Focusing on language or linguistics-related fields such as immigration, diplomacy, language teaching, interpreting/translating, travel and tourism
  • Entering any of the vast array of sectors that value the transferable skills of an Arts or Commerce graduate, such as policy and governance, finance, information services, research, social services
  • Spanish has become a language of strategic importance to Aotearoa New Zealand's trading future, with opportunities in distribution, import/export services, sales, foreign affairs and trade, customer services
  • Graduates also find roles in educational institutions at all levels
  • Spanish will also benefit students majoring in a science who wish to work or do further studies in Spain, the USA or Latin America
  • A popular combination is the study of a European language such as Spanish with that of a professional degree such as Law.

Graduates with this degree are employed in a range of jobs — see some examples below.

Note: Some of the jobs listed may require postgraduate study. See the ‘Further study’ section.

Interpreter

  • Translates spoken language from one language to another, often simultaneously
  • Keeps abreast of up-to-date meaning of words
  • Researches specialist topics, travels with groups and presents to different audiences

Translator

  • Conveys source text into the target language
  • Researches terminology, technical words and language trends
  • Often works as part of a team of translators

Secondary school teacher

  • Plans and delivers instructional lessons
  • Evaluates performance and provides feedback
  • Sets and marks assignments and tests

Policy analyst / advisor

  • Identifies and investigates issues and opportunities eg, in society, law or governance
  • Interprets and consults on existing policies
  • Prepares reports and recommends changes

Teacher of English for speakers of other languages

  • Assesses a student's reading, writing, speaking and listening skills and needs
  • Designs and prepares learning materials
  • Provides advice eg, on settling in to the area

Customer support consultant, client specialist

  • Is the first point of contact for customers/clients
  • Engages and listens
  • Answers enquiries and discusses solutions

Legal associate, lawyer, solicitor^

  • Provides legal advice or legal opinions to clients and sometimes other lawyers
  • Prepares legal or court documents
  • Makes submissions and negotiates for clients

Tutor

  • Plans lessons for individuals or a group
  • Teaches students subject knowledge and skills
  • Encourages interactive and practical learning

Business analyst

  • Utilises data and analytical models for organisational information purposes
  • Provides insight to assist with decision making
  • Liaises with different business functions

Research assistant

  • Organises and conducts research surveys
  • Tests theories and interprets the results
  • Writes reports and makes recommendations

Youth worker

  • Provides support and guidance to young people
  • Builds relations and links people to resources
  • Writes reports and coordinates budgets

Entrepreneur and CEO

  • Develops an idea, product or service
  • Offers services as a freelancer/consultant

Get started with Entrepreneurship here

As they progress, students and graduates often join professional bodies relevant to their area of interest. These organisations can provide regular communications and offer the chance to network.

Social media networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can provide avenues to keep upto-date with industry knowledge, networking opportunities, events and job vacancies.

Learn from our students' experiences

For more information

see the Spanish subject page