Designed for students who grew up in a Spanish-speaking environment, and who have some Spanish language competency as a result of having heard it in the home and community by parents and/or grandparents, extended family, friends, and neighbors.

Our SHLL program provides heritage learners with a well structured curriculum to expand their proficiency in Spanish in three communicative areas: interpersonal, interpretative, and presentational.

This program promotes and supports the identity development of our Latinx students while preparing them with literacy skills and knowledge for future studies in Spanish and to effectively function in professional bilingual environments.


The primary objectives of our SHLL program are:

  1. To build an on-campus community for Latinx students where they can feel comfortable developing their Spanish skills.
  2. To validate and instill pride in our heritage speakers’ identities and their varieties of Spanish.
  3. To assist students in gaining a critical understanding of the sociopolitical, cultural, historical, and other relevant extralinguistic factors that impact their experiences as Latinx Spanish speakers in the U.S.
  4. To support students in meeting their academic and personal goals. 


Our program consist of the following face-to-face and online courses:

  • SPAN 314-315-316: Third-year Spanish for Heritage Language Learners.
  • SPAN 327: Mexican-American Literature and Composition for Spanish Heritage Learners.
  • SPAN 339: Mexican Immigrant Experience in the U.S.
  • SPAN 499: Teaching and Learning Latinx Spanish

For more information about the program, please contact Dr. Valeria Ochoa.

You can also follow our program on Instagram: @OSU_SHL


"Growing up in a Hispanic household, the first language I learned was Spanish. Although I was already fluent, the Spanish Heritage Language Learners Program helped me become more dominant in areas where I struggled, namely writing and spelling. By the end of the program, my confidence in writing formally in Spanish was much greater. I would recommend this minor to anyone who wants to improve their Spanish while also learning about the history and cultural meaning behind the language."

-Daniel Santiago, Mechanical and
Electrical Engineering, 2018


"My Spanish minor has not only provided me with opportunities to promote public health among Spanish-speaking families in Oregon, but has given me the chance to learn about my native language and culture."

-Karina Goicochea,
Public Health, 2017 & 2019


"The OSU Spanish Heritage Language Learners Program has been one of the most rewarding experiences for me here in college. Not only was I able to make good relationships with the students and faculty, I was also able to create a sense of identity within my own culture. Being part of this program has opened doors in other areas in my life I didn't expect, such as doing community service at elementary schools and speaking in front of middle school students."

-Diana Santiago,
Ethnic Studies, 2021