More students studying Spanish

Job opportunities out there for graduates who want to say 'hola' to their careers

At a time when most college graduates are worried about their futures, Yang Jiaming is one of the lucky graduates who has secured a job and is ready to embrace his new life.

Having graduated as a Spanish major from Central China Normal University in Wuhan, Hubei province, the native of Shanxi province found a market analysis job at Chinese home appliance maker Haier Group. He cannot wait to go to Qingdao in Shandong province, where the company's headquarters are located, to begin earning his own living.

Yang began sending out resumes in August last year and applied for positions in about 30 companies.

He considered Spanish a big plus.

"Knowing a different language is very helpful to get a job that requires employees to work overseas in the future," he said, recalling that he was told the company needs talent who understand Spanish because it has business in Latin America.

The 22-year-old is not the only lucky one. Of his 24 classmates, two will go to graduate school at domestic universities, nine will seek graduate study overseas and the rest have found jobs, according to the university.

China has a record of 10.76 million college graduates this year, and governments from all levels have issued policies and measures to help them find jobs.

According to the university, the school began to recruit Spanish majors in 2018, the first higher institute in Hubei to do so. This year's graduating class is the program's first group of graduates.

"We have trained students in two directions-as potential Spanish teachers in primary and middle schools, and as professionals in intercultural communication," said Wang Jiannan, director of the Spanish language and literature department at Central China Normal University.

Adhering to the national development strategy, social needs and the school's characteristic orientation, the department aims to nurture professional talent with solid Spanish and Chinese language skills and extensive scientific and cultural knowledge. They should also be able to think independently and critically with a cross-cultural vision, according to the school.

The department carries out a small-class teaching model and fully supports students' development, combining humanities and international vision in teaching and forming a mechanism to train comprehensive foreign language talent.

The school cooperates with companies to offer internships for students, allowing them to practice what they learned at school and to understand a real-world work environment.

Since 2019, Spanish has been included as a subject in the national college entrance exam. As a result, students can select Spanish as their foreign language subject in the exam. It has led to growing demand for Spanish teachers in primary and elementary schools across China, Wang said.

No 29 Middle School in Wuhan offers Spanish as an elective language class. The first group of students who took Spanish in their national college entrance exam took the test this year, she said.

Some middle schools have also made Spanish their second foreign language course, and China now has about 30 to 40 middle schools offering Spanish classes and the trend is growing, she added.

Central China Normal University aims to train high-quality Spanish teachers, and has cooperated with No 29 Middle School, where students will be able to intern as Spanish teachers to practice their skills.

The Spanish department plans to enroll 40 students in two classes.

Graduate Yang said it was difficult to learn Spanish at first, but he is confident in communicating with Spanish-speaking people now.

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