Spanish is a major language in Western Europe and the most widely spoken language in the Americas, ranging from Canada and the US to South America and even the Philippines, with many native and second-language speakers.

Why study Spanish?

With more than 470 million native speakers worldwide, Spanish ranks as the world's number 2 language in terms of how many people speak it as their first language, according to Ethnologue. Knowing Spanish, the language of Miguel de Cervantes, opens the doors to a wide range of countries and cultures, especially in America. Its official status in more than 21 countries, spanning South, Central, and North America, as well as parts of Africa and Europe, its rapid expansion as a second language and its versatile role as a language of tourism, diplomacy, international businesses, popular culture, etc., make Spanish the most relevant world language today after English.

Besides being the official language of Spain, Equatorial Guinea and 20 more countries in Latin America, the US (52.6 million) has become the second largest Spanish speaking country in the world after Mexico (121 million). Spanish is also one of the most widely taught languages in the world - taught in the US, UK, Brazil, China and the Philippines - according to official statistics.

Worldwide, there is a high demand for Spanish teachers in the education sector, including in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. Other professions hiring professionals who know Spanish include working as an interpreter, translator, the medical profession, social worker, law enforcement professional, diplomacy, ambassador, international relations, business, journalism, management, computer specialists, technicians etc.

Career Opportunities

  • Ethnographer
  • International Development Worker
  • Lecturer
  • Museum Curator
  • Overseas Aid Worker
  • Research or Policy Analyst
  • Teacher
  • Travel and Tourism Operator
  • Translator
  • Diplomat

Hamilton, Online

At undergraduate (Bachelors) level, a Spanish specialisation is offered through a major in International Languages and Cultures or can be taken as a minor in many of our undergraduate degrees at the University of Waikato, alongside your selected Major.

If you have any questions and need more advice contact one of our friendly student advisors phone: 0800 800 145 or +64 7 838 4080 or email:

Spanish papers

Enrolment into the PGCert, PGDip, BA(Hons) and MA in Spanish will be suspended from 2022.

Scholarships and prizes

Visit our Scholarship Finder for information about possible scholarships


School of Arts

General and Undergraduate

School of Arts

Graduate and Postgraduate