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The Siena Heights Spanish program doesn’t want its students to just “learn” Spanish; students will be able to speak it. In fact, students will start speaking Spanish their very first day of class. The program features a “flipped” classroom format, meaning grammar is no longer taught in the classroom, but as an online lecture.

The project-oriented program focuses in on the liberal arts of communication, technology and creativity.

Another unique aspect of the program is the Costa Rica Experience. Faculty accompany students for a three-month study abroad trip that allows students to immerse themselves not only in the language, but in the culture as well. While taking Spanish classes, students will also be to take courses like marine biology.

Spanish is a skill that can accompany any major and allows our graduates to be independent, cross-cultural and adaptable in their careers.

  • About: Spanish
  • Meet the Faculty
  • 3 Things: Spanish
  • Career Opportunities
  • The Costa Rica Experience
  • The Siena Effect: The 'Taco Challenge'

From day one, the Siena Heights Spanish program strives to speak Spanish. Students will spend as much time as possible using the target language.

We do this by removing grammar lecture from the classroom thus allowing more time for activities. Students can see the kinds of videos that we use here

We work closely with academic advisors so that students can pair a Spanish minor/major with a business major or a communications major to name a few. After completing intermediate Spanish, students have the option to spend three months living with a Costa Rican host family while attending Veritas University in San Jose, Costa Rica. While abroad, students live with families, travel on the weekends, and take five classes (three Spanish classes and two electives). 

Meet the Spanish program faculty.

Kaplan, Nicholas R.

Kaplan, Nicholas R.

Associate Professor of Spanish517-264-7694
#1. We incorporate the flipped classroom to spend more time speaking Spanish instead of talking about Spanish

#2. Most courses incorporate a technology-based final project that is posted to YouTube

#3. Work to send all Spanish majors and minors to Costa Rica for a semester

Learn about the career opportunities you can have with a degree in Spanish.

A major in Spanish increases your job opportunities, employability, and marketability. Employers seek people who can speak a second language. People who study Spanish at Siena Heights University understand how cultures interact with one and another and are able to apply those skills in future jobs. Some career opportunities include:

  • Advertising
  • Bilingual Education
  • Consultant
  • Cultural Officer
  • Customs and Immigration
  • Foreign Service Officer
  • Health professions
  • Interpretation and Translation
  • Law Enforcement
  • Lawyer
  • Nursing
  • Politician
  • Reporter
  • Research
  • Social Worker
  • Travel Agent
  • Teacher
  • Volunteer Agencies
Follow SHU student Julie Bonk as she chronicles her 2017 Costa Rica experience:

The Costa Rica Experience

As part of the Spanish major and minor, students now have the opportunity to study abroad in San José, Costa Rica at Veritas University. 

Specifically, we have partnered with their Center for International Programs which brings students from all over the world to learn Spanish. 

While there the students will take classes in Spanish (for the major-minor) and classes in English (liberal arts). This allows them to stay on track while abroad. Students live with Costa Rican families and can either walk to school or take the university shuttle. 

On the weekends, the students travel all over the country with the university. From rain forests to volcanoes to the Caribbean and pacific coasts, there is an infinite number of things to experience. 

Students can study in fall, winter or summer, but our biggest group of students student from January to April.

In Spring 2014, a group of SHU Spanish students and Maestro Nick Kaplan were  featured in the Chicago Tribune after completing the Fox River Taco Challenge. Maestro Kaplan and Siena alumnus Lee Rincon invented the challenge based on an article written by Tribune writer Kevin Pang. Following a map of taquerías (taco restaurants) along the Fox River (west of Chicago), the students ate one taco at each of the 11 restaurants before returning to Siena Heights. 

Additional Info


  • Bachelor of Arts


  • Division of Humanities


Meet Siena

Faculty & Staff

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Nicholas R. Kaplan

Associate Professor of Spanish


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Colleen Lewis Aguilar '04, '06MA

Spanish, Organizational Leadership graduate; Teacher, Nonprofit founder, Long Beach, Calif.
Contact Us at (800) 521-0009.
Siena Heights University Main Campus. 1247 E. Siena Heights Dr. Adrian, MI 49221.