Meet Olivia Ghiz. Like a lot of students, she was drawn to Charleston for the usual reasons: Beautiful weather, bustling food scene and historic charm. Then, she visited the College. Right away, she discovered its close-knit campus community and its tight connections with the city, and she hasn’t looked back since.

“I love how the campus and the city interact,” Olivia says. “The students here really feed off the city, and there’s so much opportunity, too.”

For Olivia, one of those opportunities came by way of the Spanish major. She had always enjoyed studying the language in high school. So, after declaring her major in international studies, she realized that her schedule offered the latitude of studying something else in depth. “Since I was also taking Spanish, I thought I might as well be a double major and really specialize in the language.”

She quickly found a sense of community within the Spanish department. She benefited from intimate class sizes and close relationships with her professors. “The faculty members here are dedicated to connecting with students,” she says. “They’ll even join us after hours with the Spanish Club to help us practice outside of class.”

Beyond her courses, Olivia found other outlets for her interest in Spanish. She explored Latin American cultures in various locations by spending an alternative spring break helping combat gang violence in Honduras, and absorbing politics and culture while studying in Cuba. She also lived for a semester with a host family in Argentina as part of one of the College’s study abroad programs.

As her comfort with speaking Spanish has increased, Olivia has become more passionate about using it in the community. She works as a Spanish tutor on campus and teaches English to migrant communities around Charleston. “There are millions of Spanish speakers in the U.S.,” she says, “and it’s vital to speak the language in order to help empower those groups of people.”

Spanish - Olivia Ghiz

Contact Information

Michael Gomez
department chair
Department of Hispanic Studies

Home to the largest and most comprehensive undergraduate Spanish program in the Southeast, our department is unique. We have a dynamic, engaged faculty whose expertise spans the spectrum from linguistics and translation to literature and film.

❱❱ We offer a variety of study abroad programs in Cuba; Trujillo, Spain; Santiago, Chile and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

❱❱ Recent graduates have entered careers in medicine, education, law, business, financial services, counseling and journalism.

❱❱ Students can live in the Casa Hispana for an on-campus immersion experience.