Instituto Cervantes New York: Nurturing Hispanic Heritage through Language and Culture

Hispanic Community September 2023 PREMIUM
Instituto Cervantes is a key cultural and educational institution that promotes Hispanic heritage and language around the world. In the US, Instituto Cervantes New York enriches the city’s diverse landscape through comprehensive Spanish courses, teacher training, and events, fostering dialogue and understanding between communities.

With an estimate of over 62.6 million Hispanics living in the United States (2020 census), it may come as no surprise that Spanish is the second most spoken language in this country. The language of Miguel de Cervantes, el Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz is also the most learned language - other than English - at all educational levels, and that's where Instituto Cervantes comes in. Beyond the promotion of the language itself, Instituto Cervantes New York aims to foster cultural exchange, promote dialogue and inclusion, and establish synergies between Anglo and Hispanic-American communities while integrating and showcasing the many different cultures and regions that shape the rich and diverse Hispanic culture.

We are a non-profit organization endorsed by the Government of Spain. When it comes to teaching Spanish, our internationally recognized curriculum is taught in all 90 centers across the globe. Instituto Cervantes in the US boasts extensive academic and cultural programs in its Albuquerque, Boston, Chicago, El Paso, Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle centers.

As the official reference center for learning Spanish in the United States, our New York branch offers the most competitive in-person and online general Spanish language courses, as well as a wide variety of special courses that address the truly diverse needs of the people it serves: professionals from all backgrounds, university students, kids, teenagers, and seniors. With over 2,500 students registered every year, our program of general Spanish language courses covers all levels of competency and is designed to help students develop their ability to speak, understand, read, and write in Spanish. We also offer courses for specific purposes tailored for schools, universities, and business ​professionals, such as Spanish for legal, medical, and health professionals, to name a few.

Our highly-trained, experienced, and multicultural teaching staff brings along with them not only their expertise, but also the language varieties of their Spanish-speaking countries, as well as the cultural awareness and richness of their diverse backgrounds.     

Other popular academic services Instituto Cervantes New York offers are the Spanish teacher-training courses adapted to local needs, and an all-year-round selection of dates to take the  Spanish DELE, the official certification accrediting competence and mastery of the Spanish language, and the computer-based SIELE, which certifies the degree of proficiency in  Spanish by  incorporating the option to choose the language skills to be tested and a fast delivery of results.

A new highlight is the teacher accreditation certificate (DADIC), where theory and practice meet to accredit one’s teaching skills.

Likewise, and of great relevance at this time, is the demand for the CCSE exam to obtain Spanish nationality. Every year, around 1,400 candidates take these tests to get certified.

Hidden Gem

The New York branch of the Instituto Cervantes was inaugurated in 1994. Apart from teaching Spanish to thousands of students, it has also become a vibrant center of culture, learning, and social life in Manhattan.

Located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, within walking distance from the United Nations, it is in the beautiful and historic Amster Yard (211 E 49th St.), named after James Amster, the visionary designer who remodeled the building and garden in 1944. One of our best-kept secrets is our historical courtyard, considered one of the most beautiful small enclosures in the Turtle Bay neighborhood.

Another little-known invaluable feature in our New York branch is our library! The Jorge Luis Borges Library of Instituto Cervantes in New York offers free public access to its facilities and a collection of more than 92,000 items as well as 14,000 e-books. The subjects covered include material for the study and teaching of Spanish as a Foreign Language, Spanish and Spanish American Literature, Social Sciences, Music, and Cinema.

A Cultural Feast

Although the Institute’s objective is to promote the Spanish language through classes for kids and adults, teaching and certification, Instituto Cervantes New York is sprinkled with cultural activity throughout the year. Since our inauguration almost 30 years ago, we have collaborated with museums, galleries, theaters, international musicians, renowned artists, filmmakers, and writers to bring New Yorkers an array of cultural activities, exhibitions, symposiums, concerts, and events that celebrate and showcase the richness and plurality of Hispanic literature, gastronomy, and culture all over the globe. Our annual wine tasting program is a must on New York’s cultural to-do list.

The best way not to miss any of our cultural activities and have the opportunity to experience them in person or virtually is by signing up for our weekly newsletter, visiting our website, or following us on Instagram (@InstitutoCervantesNY), Facebook (Instituto Cervantes New York), LinkedIn, Twitter (@IC_NewYork), and our YouTube channel (Instituto Cervantes Nueva York), where we share unique content like our “The Way They See Us” - a series of short interviews where personalities from the English-speaking world offer us their personal views on all aspects of  Hispanic culture - or our “Tribunas de actualidad iberoamericana” — a gathering of experts in linguistic, cultural, scientific, technological, political, and social fields, that aims to highlight the milestones, challenges, and goals from each of the different countries within the Hispanic world. In addition, there is our “Annual Conference of Language and Identity”, or even our Gastronomy course, “Cocinando con Cervantes”, with renowned Spanish chef, Nacho Manzano, among many other offerings.

As the Hispanic population grows rapidly in the United States, at Instituto Cervantes New York, we aim to be an approachable and inspiring haven for Hispanic culture and the Spanish language in a city that seems to be heading towards bilingualism at the speed of light.  

About the author:

Richard Bueno Hudson, PhD in Spanish Philology from the University of Salamanca, Spain. Currently the Executive Director of the Instituto Cervantes in New York, and previously Global Academic Director of the Instituto Cervantes. A corresponding member of the North American Academy of the Spanish Language, he is a specialist in language teaching and language acquisition. He has directed international certification and digital education projects, such as the SIELE project. He has been Executive Secretary of the SICELE Association, Vice president of the ALTE Executive Committee, and Permanent Secretary General of the International Spanish Language Conferences from 2015 to 2019.

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