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Russian or Spanish?

picktheteapickthetea Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
I will be entering university in fall 2017. I plan to pursue a communications major and minor in a language. I am stuck between a minor in Spanish or a minor in Russian. I have taken Spanish for 5 years and I am conversational in it. Though Spanish is a beautiful language, I have always been fascinated by the Russian language and culture. The high school I attend does not offer Russian, and I know no Russian. Every university I applied to offers Spanish and Russian language classes. My overall question is should I continue learning Spanish (a language I have a solid grasp of and do enjoy learning) or start all over and switch over to Russian (a language nothing like English or Spanish but something that I find fascinating)?

Replies to: Russian or Spanish?

  • philbegasphilbegas Registered User Posts: 2,996 Senior Member
    Russian is an amazing and beautiful language but it's going to be harder to pick up than spanish. The subtleties in the accent can be very hard for first-timers. What do you want to do with your career? If it involves being a translator or something like that then being fully fluent in one language will be better than being half fluent in 2.
  • happy1happy1 Forum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 22,900 Forum Champion
    I would try to achieve fluency in Spanish before embarking on a second language. Having a designated minor is not as important as being fluent in a language.
  • stradmomstradmom Registered User Posts: 4,872 Senior Member

    But maybe join a Spanish table or something to keep your skills up.
  • juilletjuillet Super Moderator Posts: 12,550 Super Moderator
    Which one are you more interested in? The advice to "finish one language before you start another" was advice I got, too. It is one of the things I regret most. For me it was French, which I took all through high school, and Japanese, which I'd wanted to learn since I was a small child. I selected my college in large part because it had a Japan studies minor, an exchange program with a Japanese college, and offered four years of Japanese language. I ended up taking French to finish my language requirement (on the advice of a well-meaning professor) and missed my opportunity to take Japanese and do the exchange program.

    It may be harder - but so what? Most things worth doing are difficult. And everything you do in college doesn't have to be related to your future career - you're allowed to just take some things simply out of interest.
  • picktheteapickthetea Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Thank you to all of your who responded!
    I understand that continuing Spanish makes sense because I already have studied it for five years. However, I do really have such a fascination with the Russian language and culture that I do not have as much with Spanish (not knocking Spanish, it's a wonderful and beautiful language).
    I have a similar feeling at the moment @juillet because I want to learn about Russia and do an exchange program in St. Petersburg. It's kind of like a going with your heart vs. going with your head dilemma. :-??
  • techmom99techmom99 Registered User Posts: 3,082 Senior Member
    I studied Russian for one year in college and loved it. Then my grandma, who had a "Fiddler on the Roof" childhood, complete with pogrom, found out and politely asked that I never speak that language ever again. I dropped the class. I missed it but I don't regret honoring my grandma. I highly recommend studying Russian if you are interested in it.

    I refused to allow any of my children to study Spanish in school. The reputations of most of the teachers were awful. They all took Latin and my D also studies ASL. However, if you like Spanish, maybe you can take a conversational class to improve your speaking skills.
  • runner019runner019 Registered User Posts: 434 Member
    You may find that you have space in your schedule to take Russian later anyway, especially with a major like communications, which is more likely to have overlapping requirements with languages than say, engineering. I've been amazed by the amount of wiggle room in eight semesters. After two years as an education major I switched to linguistics, kept my Spanish minor, and added a psychology minor. And I started studying Arabic (though adding another language is a requirement for the new major). I'm planning to graduate on time. So there's still hope for Russian - you'll just have to wait and see how it all pans out. :)
  • Mom2aphysicsgeekMom2aphysicsgeek Registered User Posts: 4,304 Senior Member
    My dd loves Russian. She would tell you to follow your heart and study what fascinates you. She would also tell you that Russian is far more difficult to master than Spanish. (She has studied French for yrs as well and her French is light yrs beyond her Russian.) As long as you are prepared for much slower progress and for hard work mastering some difficult concepts (verbs of motion are her struggle right now), you should study Russian if that is what interests you b/c @julliet is right-- this really is your opportunity to do so.
  • Qwerty568Qwerty568 Registered User Posts: 1,212 Senior Member
    I started German this year because I've studied Spanish for 8 years and was bored of it. A lot of people were surprised, as I now have to take 3 classes to fulfill my language requirement rather than 1, but I'm enjoying it and I think knowing 2 languages from different families is useful!
  • runner019runner019 Registered User Posts: 434 Member
    edited December 2016
    Whoops! Reading through earlier replies. I thought OP had already decided to take Spanish. Now realizing that it's not decided, my two cents is that you ought to take Russian. It's unique and, in my opinion, gets you further for jobs than Spanish. That may just be due to my tastes in careers, but anyway, I believe Russian is a good bet!
  • juilletjuillet Super Moderator Posts: 12,550 Super Moderator
    edited December 2016
    Oh yeah - my other piece of advice is that as you think about it and decide what college you want to attend, check out the course schedules while making a decision. The reason I regretted my decision was because my advisor originally told me that I could finish French in the fall semester of my freshman year and start Japanese in the spring semester. What he didn't know (and I didn't check, because I assumed professors knew what they were talking about) was that Japanese 101 - as a lesser-taken language at a small college - was only offered in the fall. So I had to wait until my sophomore year to start it, which would've meant I only had one year - and I later found out you needed to have two years to go on the exchange program.

    Many exchange programs - especially ones that are taught partially or wholly in Russian - will require you to have a certain number of semesters of a language before you go (often 4). Even if they don't, though, you may decide that you want a certain number of semesters before you study abroad to make the most out of your experience - you'll get closer to fluency if you have 3-4 semesters of Russian (or Spanish) than if you have 1-2.

    So just check out the course schedule and see how often Spanish 101 and Russian 101 are offered. That way you know that if you change your mind after a semester you can switch over to the other one!
  • otoribashiotoribashi Registered User Posts: 505 Member
    edited December 2016
    i say go with russian
    you don't want to regret not getting to learn russian while you were finally able to
    it's harder as you grow older and you won't really have much time to have a structured class once you're out in the workforce

    if you're going to be working in the states, a minor in spanish is kind of useless in that there are so many spanish speakers here that are both native fluent in english and spanish that they'll probably always prefer to hire someone who is 100% fluent then someone who just learned it for several years. of course, that doesn't make learning spanish any less valuable. it's definitely worth it and important to understand the basics given our country's makeup. you'll have more opportunities to interact with the spanish language in the future (though im from california so sorry if this seems a bit too optimistic)

    as for russian, learning it in a structured classroom and environment is a lot more rare so i would go with that. and even though the languages are different, the act of learning a language will help you when learning russian (you'll find yourself comparing the grammar make-up of each language and all that fun stuff)

    tl;dr, in the united states, spanish is very accessible. russian isn't. so given the chance to learn it in a structured classroom environment now while you still have the chance, i'd go with russian.

    employment wise, too. so many spanish speakers, that if a company was looking to hire someone who specifically was fluent in spanish, they'd have plenty of people who are just as capable as you AND who are fluent in spanish to choose from. doesn't make it useless, but trust in the fact that you've learned it for 5 years so if you wanted to self-learn some more advanced stuff you probably could do so with ease. and it's easier to find resources to learn spanish here than it is russian (spanish-speakers, mexico is our neighbor, eavesdrop on some spanish conversations while you're out shopping, ect.)

    russian on the other hand is a lot harder to find natural resources for so the structured classroom will be of more benefit.
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