The Spanish language is getting popular with Indian students. “For the current academic session 2500 students applied for the BA (Honours) course in Delhi University whereas there are only 160 seats,” says Vibha Maurya, head of the department of Germanic and Romance Studies, DU. And this is not an isolated example. All the leading institutions in India, namely JNU, Jamia Millia Islamia, The English and Foreign Language University, Hyderabad; Pune University, Banaras Hindu University, University of Mumbai, Calcutta University etc have been offering courses in Spanish.
“It is a fact that Spanish is becoming more and more important everywhere in the world and India is no exception. All the above-mentioned universities have registered an increase in the demand for their courses,” says Cristina Herrero Fernandez, a Spanish national, who has been a visiting teacher in the Banaras Hindu University till July 2010 and is currently teaching Spanish at Instituto Cervantes, the only official institution of the Spanish government, in India.
“Spanish in the last two years has become more popular than German, Japanese or Russian, and almost as much in demand as French,” Fernandez points out. Banaras Hindu University offers a one-year certificate programme and a two-year part-time diploma course in Spanish; Kolkata University offers a one-year certificate course and will introduce a two-year diploma programme from the next academic session; the University of Jaipur offers a certificate, a diploma and a three-year advanced diploma in Spanish, says Fernandez. “DU offers BA (Honours), MA, MPhil and PhD courses in Spanish,” says Maurya. Similarly, JNU has
“BA (Honours), MA, MPhil and PhD courses in Spanish,” says Anil Dhingra, professor of Spanish studies, JNU.
Instituto Cervantes lends a guiding hand “to any institution that is teaching Spanish, whether online like IGNOU or in primary education like the Delhi Public School or in the universities all over India,” says Ana Isabel Reguillo Pelayo, head of studies, Instituto Cervantes. “We are in direct contact with faculty members and attend academic meetings and (are in) selection committees (of these institutions),” she adds. The institute has examination centres of Spanish as Foreign Language (DELE) in Bangalore, Kolkata and Pune. Hyderabad and Chennai too will have their own centers soon.
Instituto Cervantes remains the most popular seat of learning of Spanish as a foreign language in India. “We offer courses addressed to professionals and (in) adult learning follow the direct method where you begin to speak right from the first class and get a working and practical knowledge of the language in a short time,” says Pelayo. The institute follows the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and the levels taught are basic (A1, A2), independent (B1, B2) and proficient (C1,C2). “At A1 level you are able to use accurate expressions in complex everyday-life situations. The syllabus for levels A1 to C1, where the student is proficient in all contexts (social, professional etc), is covered in 840 hours,” she says.
For students outside Delhi, the institute has an e-learning facility, where all levels up to superior are offered through a Spanish online course. “Even classroom students join e-learning to supplement their learning and strengthen their base,” says Pelayo. “There are 11 options available for all levels. The next batch is starting from August 16 and students are required to enroll by August 14. The tuition fees for the 60 hours course is Rs 7,500 (for each level),” she elaborates. For students who have studied Spanish earlier, a small test is taken to determine the level of the course that would suit them the best.
Job opportunities, after pursuing a course in Spanish language, are with Indian government (Ministry of Foreign Affairs); Embassies of 21 Spanish-speaking countries and their collaborating companies in India, tourism and hospitality industry, call centres and as translators and interpreters, says Pelayo.
Concurs Umita Melwani, director linguistic solution, Institute of Foreign Language and Culture, Bangalore. “Students, who wish to pursue a career in the field of languages have many options. They can work as teachers, interpreters, translators, in call centres, IT companies and KPOs doing business with Latin America and southern USA, not to mention Spain.” They can also go in for higher studies. Spanish is also important for students going for studies to the US.
“Students who have enrolled for undergraduate courses in the US get credits from their universities if they do a Spanish language course,” concludes Melwani.