General Information

Frequently Asked Questions

 Q: Whom should I contact for general questions about the Department of Spanish and Portuguese?
A: You should contact the Department at (202) 687-6134 or via e-mail spanport@georgetown.edu

Q: Whom should I contact to declare a Spanish major or minor?
A: You should speak with the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Prof. Tania Gentic, by email here or (202)687-6134.

Q: Whom should I contact to declare a Portuguese major or minor?
A: You should contact the Director of Portuguese Studies, Prof. Vivaldo Santos, by email here or (202) 687-5694.

Q: Whom should I contact about placement in the appropriate Spanish course?
A: You should contact Prof. Alfonso Morales by email here or (202) 687-8598.

Q: Whom should I contact about the Spanish Oral Proficiency Examination?
A: Before contacting Timothy McCormick, the Department’s School of Foreign Service Oral Proficiency Coordinator, by email here, Please see the Spanish Proficiency and Placement Exam menu for information on who takes the test, when it is administered, format, and evaluation criteria.

Q: Whom should I contact about the Portuguese Oral Proficiency Examination?
A: You should contact the Director of Portuguese Studies, Prof. Vivaldo Santos, by email here or (202) 687-5694.

Q: Whom should I contact about getting a native-speaker certificate?
A: You can make an appointment for the native-speaker interview, which will be conducted by one of the Spanish and Portuguese Department’s faculty members, by e-mailing a request to Prof. Anne Thinglum here.

Q: Whom should I contact about transferring credits from courses taken abroad?
A: Spanish majors should speak with the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Prof. Tania Gentic. Spanish minors should also contact Dr. Gentic here or at (202) 687-6134.

Q: Whom should I contact about approval for my study abroad proposal?
A: Spanish majors should speak with the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Prof. Tania Gentic. Spanish minors should contact Dr. Gentic here or (202)687-6134.

Q: Whom should I contact if I’m interested in doing the Senior Honors Thesis?
A: You should contact Prof. Veronica Salles-Reese, the Department’s Honors Thesis Coordinator, by email here or (202) 687-5884.

Q: Whom should I contact if I'm interested in the Master's or PhD programs?
A: You should contact Prof. Ronald Leow here for students interested in the Linguistics Program and Prof. Alejandro Yarza here for students interested in the Literature & Culture Program.

Q: Whom should I contact if I feel that I am not enrolled in the appropriate Spanish course?
A: You should discuss your concerns with your instructor, who will consult the coordinator of your current course. If the concern remains unresolved, you can contact the coordinator directly. Please consult the table below for contact information of the appropriate language program coordinators.

 
Courses Coordinator Email / Office Location
 Intro. and Beginning Spanish Christine Bistline-Bonilla ceb260@georgetown.edu / ICC 442 
 Intensive Basic & Intermediate  Lucia Donatelli led66@georgetown.edu / ICC 458 
 Intermediate I & II  Annie Ornelles aco47@georgetown.edu/ ICC 442 
 Advanced I & II Ross Karlan rmk65@georgetown.edu/ ICC 442
 Intensive Adv. I & II  Meagan Driver myd7@georgetown.edu / ICC 458
 SFS courses Timothy McCormick tjm106@georgetown.edu / ICC 472

***If the coordinator is unable to resolve the problem, they consult the language program director. Please consult the table below for contact information of the appropriate director.

Courses Director Email / Office Location/ Phone #
 SPAN 011, 032, 111, 112, 101, 102, 161 Timothy McCormick tjm106@georgetown.edu /  ICC 472 / 202-687-7170
 SPAN 001, 003, 004, 021, 022, 103, 104 Prof. Ronald Leow leowr@georgetown.edu/ ICC 411 / 202-687-5840 

In the unlikely case that the language program directors are unable to resolve your concerns, you can contact the Department Chair, Prof. Cristina Sanz via e-mail at sanzc@georgetown.edu.

Q: How can I practice my Spanish outside of the classroom?
A: You can come by the the Spanish Coffee hour held on Wednesdays in the Department during the semester if you would like to practice speaking with other students, graduate students and professors in a relaxed atmosphere with cookies and coffee.

Q: How and when can I sign up to take the Spanish Proficientcy exam?
A: See the Spanish Proficiency and Placement Exam menu.

Q: Who are important people in the Spanish & Portuguese Department?
A: Cristina Sanz- Department Chair
Alejandro Yarza- Director of Graduate Studies Literature & Culture
Ronald Leow- Director of Graduate Studies Linguistics
Tania Gentic - Director of Undergraduate Studies
Vivaldo Santos- Director of Portuguese Studies

Q: Whom should I contact if I am in need of a tutor?
A: Please contact the Georgetown University Academic Resource Center for information on Foreign Language tutoring for students.

Spanish ORal Proficiency Exam for sfs & msfs students

1. When?  The Spanish Proficiency Exam is offered every Spring and Fall semester, about 3 weeks before the last week of classes.

2. How?  When the dates are posted, you will be able to fill out a Google Calendar Appointment form to reserve a slot for your exam.

Expect a message from the program administrators with instructions and relevant information once the registration period has ended. **Students who do not arrive 20 minutes before their scheduled exam time, or who do not show up at all, will have to pay a $25 fee when when they register for the second time. If you wish to cancel an exam time, please do so at least 10 days in advance.

3. Who? The Spanish proficiency exams are administered ONLY to graduate and undergraduate students in the School of Foreign Service.

***This is relevant information regarding who can sign up to take the exams:
1. Students who plan to go abroad in one of the two summer programs for which the Spanish & Portuguese Department is responsible will take the exam at the end of the abroad program. The two programs that offer exams are Quito and Barcelona; they offer exams to SFS students the evening prior to the last day of classes for the program.

2. Students who spend at least one semester abroad in a direct matriculation program do not need to take the exam.

3. Students who are currently registered in any of the four sections of Oral Review (SPAN 161) will take the exam on the day assigned by the registrar's office for the final exam. Two faculty members will administer the exam.

4. Oral Review prepares the students for the Proficiency Exam which will complete their language requirement for graduation. Students may first attempt to take the Proficiency Exam after completion of SPAN 102 (Advanced Spanish: Transatlantic II) or SPAN 110 (Intensive Advanced Spanish: Transatlantic) with a grade of B+ or higher in BOTH Advanced I (SPAN 101) and Advanced II (SPAN 102), or in Intensive Advanced (SPAN 110). Students in Advanced II need their instructor's WRITTEN permission confirming that on average, at time of exam registration, the students' grade in Advanced II or Intensive Advanced is at least a B+. Students who fail the exam must pay the $25 fee and complete SPAN 161 or another advanced course before retaking it. This means that students must plan well ahead and attempt to pass the exam two semesters before graduation at the latest.

5. Students who take the Department of Spanish and Portuguese’s Spanish Language Placement Exam and place into SPAN-200 or above may take the oral proficiency exam at any point. Students who place into SPAN-161 and who do not meet any of the abovementioned criteria are advised to matriculate into SPAN-161 before taking the proficiency exam. 

6.Students are allowed to take the exam only twice. See School of Foreign Service policies for more details.

4. What? The exam consists of a 20-minute interview with two exam administrators.
It is divided into three parts:
1. Warm-up. During this short period, the examiners try their best to make the examinee comfortable by asking him/her questions on the here and now

2. Nucleus (15 minutes). The examinee summarizes the content of the article that s/he has read just before the exam, thus demonstrating reading comprehension skills. The examinee should demonstrate ability to situate the news within a historical perspective, and draw parallels with similar issues in other countries, including, but not exclusively, the US. At the end of this section, the examinee should be able to state his/her position on the issue and state the reasons behind that position. Please note dictionaries are not allowed at any time. Also, the text and any notes will be turned in before the interview.

3. Close. The examiners may use this brief period to prompt, prod and push examiners to perform some of the required performance in 2 above. The examiner should, throughout the exam but especially at this point, show command of pragmatics (politeness, turn taking).

Newspaper articles are taken from major Spanish & Latin American newspapers and deal with current issues in the Spanish speaking areas which have, oftentimes, been discussed in the Advanced courses (SPAN 101, SPAN 102, SPAN 110) and in SPAN 161 (Oral Review).

PASS/FAIL REQUIREMENTS
1. Reading Comprehension/Comprehension: The examinee understands the content of a newspaper or magazine article on current events and shows ability to 1) summarize a given text in a cohesive and coherent manner without prompting, 2) produce a statement summarizing his/her own view of the event, and 3) answer follow up questions showing both ability to comprehend and prior knowledge on general encyclopedic points related to the content of the article.

2. Grammar: The examinee shows ability to both narrate and describe events producing paragraph-length discourse in all major time frames (past, present, and future). S/he may have problems regarding the use of ser/estar, subjunctive and preterit/imperfect contrasts but they should not interfere with comprehension. The reference point for ‘comprehension’ is the native speaker monolingual not used to exchanges with non-native speakers.

3. Vocabulary/ Professional Vocabulary: Vocabulary may be primarily generic in nature when dealing with personal topics, but the examinee shows command of professional, specialized lexicon when dealing with topics of interest (such as US and international economy, politics, and/or societal issues). Circumlocution and rephrasing are to be expected.

4. Speech: Speech has to be clear and not lead to confusion. Pronunciation, lexicon, grammar and paragraph structure should not be so faulty as to prevent comprehension by native speakers unaccustomed to interacting with non-native speakers. Discourse may still reflect the oral paragraph structure of the examinee’s own language rather than that of the target language.

5. Knowledge of Subject Matter: The examinee has to show knowledge of the geography, customs, socioeconomic and sociopolitical structures as well as the history of Latin America and Spain. S/he also has to be aware of and knowledgeable about the past and present status of the relationship between those countries and the United States as well as current issues of importance in the Spanish speaking world.

5. How to prepare for the Exam? To prepare for the expected level of  linguistic accuracy and fluency, as well as to accumulate the necessary encyclopedic and current knowledge on socio-economic matters related to Latin American and Spain, we strongly encourage enrolling in an SFS language course: 101, 102 or 161, according to your placement and following the guidelines outlined above. For students who meet those guidelines, please click here and here for more information about the exam.

  

SPANISH ONLINE PLACEMENT TEST INSTRUCTIONS

In order to take the language placement exam, you must enroll in the “course” on Canvas.

  1. Go to https://georgetown.instructure.com/enroll/T47NYL 
  2. Follow prompts to enroll.
  3. Read carefully all the information on the homepage.
  4. Once you have read the instructions, you will find the link for the test at the bottom of the page.
  5. After you submit the last page of the test you will get a point grade. You can always see this result by clicking on “Grades” in the left menu. When done with the test MAKE SURE you go back to the home page and click on the link at the bottom of the page: find out here where to register (Links to an external site) (new window).
  • Make sure that you have a reliable Internet connection. Set aside ample quiet time before you begin the exam so that you can complete it in one sitting; you will not be able to stop and restart once the exam has launched.
  • Close other programs running on the computer. Avoid distractions; focus only on the exam until it is completed.
  • To begin the exam, click the link only once. It may take some time for the exam to load; give it at least one full minute. If, after clicking once, nothing happens for over a minute, contact the UIS Service Center as soon as possible. Do not click the link multiple times: if you do, you will see a message stating that you have already taken the exam and you will not be able to access it again.
  • Do not use the Back and Forward buttons in your browser to move around within the exam. Use the links and buttons in the exam pages to proceed.
  • Do not click the final Save and “submit” button until you are completely finished with the exam.
  • If you encounter a problem or a technical difficulty that prevents you from finishing the exam, contact the UIS Service Center as soon as possible.

Contact information:
UIS Service Center: 202-687-4949 or help@georgetown.edu
Spanish Department: Email Professor Alfonso Morales-Front

  

Spanish Validation Exam

Students who believe they will place out of the College’s foreign language requirement in Spanish, and who do not intend to continue their study of Spanish at Georgetown, should sit for the on-campus proctored confirmation exam during New Student Orientation unless they have a qualifying SAT II score. Students taking this test should bring their Georgetown ID (GUID) to the exam; students will obtain this ID upon their arrival on campus for New Student Orientation.

Please contact Professor Annie Thinglum in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese for more information.

Students who have taken the SAT II in Spanish should determine their level as follows:

  • 200-360 SPAN-003 Introductory Spanish I or SPAN-011 Intensive Basic Spanish
  • 370-480 SPAN-004 Introductory Spanish II or SPAN-011 Intensive Basic Spanish
  • 490-550 SPAN-021 Intermediate Spanish I or SPAN-032 Intensive Intermediate Spanish
  • 560-630 SPAN-022 Intermediate Spanish II or SPAN-032 Intensive Intermediate Spanish
  • 640-700 SPAN-103 Advanced Spanish I or SPAN-110 Intensive Advanced Transatlantic Visions
  • 710-740 SPAN-104 Advanced Spanish II or SPAN-110 Intensive Advanced Transatlantic Visions
  • 750-800 SPAN-2** (Any 200 level course)
Portuguese Placement Exam

PORTUGUESE

Students with no previous Portuguese coursework should register for:

PORT 050 Accelerated Portuguese

Students with previous coursework in Portuguese should determine their level as follows:

2-5 years: PORT 101 Advanced Portuguese I. This is a required course for majors and minors. All majors and minors must take PORT 101 regardless of the order in which they take Portuguese courses. Heritage speakers are placed here also.
5+ years: PORT 199 Literature & Culture of the Portuguese-speaking World offered every semester or PORT 151 Advanced Conversation offered every fall. 

 

Students who believe they will place out of the College’s foreign language requirement in Portuguese, and who do not intend to continue their study of Portuguese at Georgetown, should sit for the proctored placement exam during New Student Orientation.

Please contact Professor Vivaldo Santos in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese for more information.

PORTUGUESE PROFICIENCY EXAM

Fall 2019 Exam Date

The Portuguese Proficiency Exam for SFS, CLAS, MSFS, Business students, and program directors is TBD for the Fall 2019 Semester. Students must sign-up in advance to secure a time slot, the sign-up sheet can be found on the Georgetown Spanish & Portuguese Department's front desk (ICC 403). Undergraduate students must have taken at least ADVANCED PORTUGUESE II in order to take the exam, with the exception of students who has lived abroad in a Portuguese-speaking country, or are native speakers. Undergraduate and Graduate students must also prove that the proficiency exam is a reqquirement for their program, not just to add to their Curriculum Vitae. 

For additional information about the Portuguese Oral Proficiency Exam, please contact the Director of Portuguese Studies, Prof. Vivaldo Santos by email or (202) 687-5694.