Department of Spanish and Portuguese

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Our Students

One of the best decisions I have made while studying at UW-Madison was taking a Spanish course my first semester. I didn’t start studying Spanish with the intention of majoring in it, but after one class I knew it was a subject that I truly enjoyed. This decision has been validated with every course I’ve taken within the department. Each and every professor I have had the opportunity to learn from has been both knowledgeable in their concentration and extremely dedicated to my success and growth as a student.

As a student in the Spanish department at UW-Madison, you learn much more than just how to speak another language. You learn how to communicate profound ideas in novel ways and are given the skills and experience to study and understand different Hispanic histories, arts, and cultural phenomena at a deeper level that a student outside of the department simply lack.

After studying Spanish at UW-Madison the world is somehow much smaller but at the same time, much larger. I’m able to communicate with millions of other Spanish speakers, but I also have been exposed to a myriad of different cultures and ideas in the process.

- Walt DeKock


I am so thankful I had the opportunity to study Spanish at UW-Madison. I have many positive memories from my Spanish courses throughout my undergraduate career, but the one I would like to highlight is the relationship I built with Professor Ksenija Bilbija. She is an extremely accomplished researcher and educator who inspired me to ask more of myself – I was in Spanish 224 with her as a freshman, and later connected with her as a junior to do collaborative research via a Hilldale Undergraduate/Faculty Research Fellowship while I was studying abroad in Lima, Peru.

Both my coursework at UW-Madison and my experience abroad allowed me to aspire to excellence in acquiring a foreign language. Unexpectedly, I learned how I could use language to connect with new communities and further my impact as an activist for both the Latino community and indigenous populations. I graduated in December 2014 and have been working as a Bilingual Pre-K Teacher for the past year. Utilizing Spanish to empower and support community is what my career is all about! In the future, I want to continue learning through foreign language instruction and research in graduate school!

- Alex Wills

 After a 4+ hour hike, we reached Laguna 69 in Huaraz!


I was lucky to enough to have Professor Egon for Spanish 321: The Structure of Modern Spanish. Now, this class didn't have the most upbeat material, but she made each and every lecture exciting, fun, and simply worth it! She is extremely passionate about her teaching, always makes herself available to help a student in need, and provides a positive (and entertaining) environment. It's a difficult task to turn the melancholy subject of Spanish grammar into one of my favorite classes, but Professor Egon did the job! She is definitely one of the best professors I have ever had at UW-Madison!

- Nicole Lukens, Zoology and Spanish Undergraduate 

 Nicole Lukens and Professor Egon


Being a native speaker, I thought that I knew everything about the Spanish language, but boy, was I wrong. I was cocky about my abilities, but I soon realized that I had a lot to learn. My professors and TA's have humbled me and helped me comprehend the beauty of this language and appreciate its intricacies. They encourage me to dissect the language, expand my vocabulary, ask questions, and most importantly they encourage me to write. The beauty about languages, especially Spanish, is one does not completely master it, there is so much to learn, so many dialects and histories to explore.

- Jesus Del Toro, Junior