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Spanish Heritage Language Program (SHL)

Bienvenidos, Spanglish students! Si vivir between different languages es lo tuyo, cruzar fronteras is your reality, and you’re not afraid de ver más allá de tu nariz, this is the perfect program para ti!


The Spanish Heritage Language Program (SHL) is an initiative of the UO Department of Romance Languages to meet the needs of the changing population of our university. The SHL Program is designed specifically for Spanish heritage language learners—students who have a personal, familial, or community connection to Spanish. It is comprised of a variety of courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels taught by a diverse cross-section of University of Oregon faculty.

Program Mission

The mission of the Spanish Heritage Language Program is…

● to value and develop Spanish language proficiency, particularly for students who grew up in a Spanish-speaking household or community;
● to recognize, validate, and study the Spanish language as it is used in the US context, as well as the emerging phenomenon of English-Spanish bilingualism, with a specific focus on the use of code-switching and different types of borrowings as widespread linguistic phenomena in the US;
● to give students the opportunity to build upon their existing linguistic and cultural knowledge and experiences; and
● to create meaningful connections with local Spanish-speaking communities, acknowledging how languages are used and shaped both inside and outside academia.

We strive to accomplish this by…

● meeting students’ needs as heritage learners, cultivating the whole student, based on the conviction that language and identity are deeply intertwined;
● exploring topics related to students’ cultural background;
● recovering or developing students’ heritage linguistic abilities in both oral and written expression; and
● engaging students in collaborative learning both inside and outside the classroom.

We believe that language is a social phenomenon and as such necessarily includes variation due to the constant movement of peoples and change over time that is universally human. Thus, we must approach language study in a way that transcends linguistic hierarchies and assumptions of linguistic accuracy based on the native-speaker paradigm. The native-speaker paradigm operates under the faulty assumption that there is one correct way to speak a language, and that there exist “native” speakers who speak this “standard” form, ignoring the realities of linguistic variation based on identity and social context.

In conclusion, we, the Spanish Heritage Language faculty of the UO, believe that the only ethical and intellectually honest position is to study Spanish not as an object independent of its speakers and their sociopolitical realities, but as a living, evolving vehicle of communication across many nations and cultures that is intimately tied to the identities of its speakers.

For more information, please contact the Spanish Heritage Language Program at

The following link is an events calendar with all of the Latin@ and Hispanic activities at the U of O:

Spanish Heritage Language (SHL) Advising 

Fall Term 2019 SHL Advising & Placement Hours
All are drop-in hours – no appointment necessary!

September 30-December 12 

Mondays  11:00 –  14:00

Thursdays 11:00 -12:00


SHL Advising is conducted by Kelley León Howarth in room 213 Friendly Hall.

Please direct all questions about placement and our SHL program to: