TOP 10 Reasons to Learn Spanish
If you have ever watched the famous Nickelodeon show ‘Dora the Explorer’ in your childhood, you must be familiar with Spanish language words like Hola (hello/hi), Adios (goodbye), Vamos (come on/let’s go), Gracias (thank you) and so on.
If you were not taught Spanish in school, this was probably your first experience with learning the language, albeit a very basic level of it.
So, what are the benefits of learning this popular language? (apart from being able to understand your favorite cartoon shows, of course).
If we dig into the historical origins of Spanish, it is actually said to have emerged as a dialect of Latin, the official language of the Roman Empire. It is also known as ‘Castellano’ in Spain and is spoken in various places around the globe.
Spanish is an official language in countries like Argentina, Bolivia, Cuba, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Columbia, Chile, Honduras, Guatemala, Venezuela, and Uruguay, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Equatorial Guinea and of course Spain.
If we count an estimated number of Spanish speakers they amount to about:
- 110 Million in Mexico
- 41 Million in Colombia
- 40 Million in Argentina
- >38 Million in Spain
- 27 Million in Venezuela
- 26 Million in Peru
- >16 Million in Chile
- >14 Million Ecuador
- 11 Million in Cuba
- 10 Million in Guatemala
- >8 Million in Bolivia
- >8 Million in Dominican Republic
- 6 Million in El Salvador
- 6 Million in Honduras
- 6 Million in Nicaragua
- >4 Million in Paraguay
- 4 Million in Costa Rica
- >3 Million in Puerto Rico
- >3 Million in Uruguay
- 3 Million in Panama
- 627,000 people in Equatorial Guinea.
It comes in the second position as the language with the most native speakers, being the mother-tongue to about 330 million people dispersed across 21 countries. It is also a popular vehicle for international communication and the third international language of politics, culture, and economics.
Now that we have familiarized ourselves with just how popular and widely spread a language Spanish is, lets dive into 10 very compelling reasons as to why you should learn Spanish:
- It is one of the best languages for Travelling
As I already mentioned earlier, Spanish is widely spoken across the globe, about 17% of the world population to be exact. Even in America, some 418 million people speak the language.
Thus, if you speak Spanish as a tourist in some of the most beautiful Spanish speaking countries of the world, you will get to experience benefits you probably would have never imagined.
Firstly, it will help you get around the places much more easily, and you can even travel alone without having to rely on other tourists or tour guides.
Moreover, it will take the stress of getting lost off you as well, as you could easily conversate with a local and ask for directions.
And if this was not enough, learning Spanish can actually save you money on your vacations! Instead of paying inflated ‘tourist’ prices, you can bargain for the actual prices with the locals and get the best deals for everything.
2. Endless opportunities to study abroad
As a student or young adult, there is no such thing as too much exposure or experience.
This is the prime time of your life and you should explore opportunities to travel as much as you can, as this is the only way you will unlock your true potential and step outside your comfort zone.
There are numerous educational institutions in Spanish speaking countries that offer some of the highest-ranked courses in the world, and even help you land a job once you have completed your educational requirements.
Of course, due to the competitive market, you will only be able to land a place in these institutes and in the job market if you stand out from the thousands of applications they receive. And guess what? Just knowing the native language can instantly boost your application to several hundred places.
Even if you don’t go to a university abroad, you can grab the opportunity to study abroad as part of an exchange program for a shorter time period. Whatever the case may be, learning Spanish is surely to help you gain more opportunities and experience than the average student.
3. Learning Spanish increases your chances of employability
With the ever-increasing globalized world, many organizations have business operations abroad, especially in Spanish countries. Or even if they do not, Spanish speaking customers are a common occurrence for many businesses to maintain relationships with and cater to their particular needs, and you could find yourself interacting with these customers more often than you may expect.
Even the United Nations has Spanish as one of its six official languages, and it is also the third most used language in media. Thus, it is not strange that job seekers are learning Spanish as a means to stand out from the crowd and increase their chances of employability.
Spanish can not only increase your chances of earning an additional $ 51,000 in life, according to The Economist, but can also help you land jobs where speaking the language may not be a necessity but could be an added bonus for dealing with native customers.
Moreover, it can also lead to rewards such as promotions, expat opportunities, bonuses, and higher pay.
4. Spanish sharpens your mind
Recent studies have proven that being bilingual or speaking more than one language helps the brain resist the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, and even delay the effects of dementia in old age.
This is because switching between languages is equivalent to brain exercises and thus makes our minds more resilient, leading to better short- and long-term memory.
This was exemplified in a study conducted in Milan, Italy where CT scans of 85 elderly patients of Alzheimer’s were studied. Half of them were monolingual and half bilingual. The results showed bilingual people performing better on all memory-related tasks, even scoring up to 3-8 times higher than monolinguist patients.
If we talk about Spanish in particular, it involves learning and memorizing new words and grammar rules that are especially beneficial in building memory.
Moreover, it also improves the cognitive functions of the brain as learning a new language gives the brain the necessary exercise, and thus equips learners to perform better than average on standardized tests. Bilinguals have even been found to be more rational and take effective decisions.
5. It will help you become a better person
Despite that this might sound like a huge claim, it is actually true if you read on to see what I mean by this. One aspect of being a better person through learning Spanish is through the act of Volunteering.
Certain areas of Central and South America are ruined by poverty, and while many organizations are helping the inhabitants of these areas, the need for volunteer and missionary trips is a growing one.
If you play your part in such a charitable purpose, it might prove to be one of the most humbling experiences for you, through interaction and exposure to the unique struggles of people in a different part of the world.
Moreover, you could also educate the children using your formal Spanish language knowledge and make friends with them during your stay there. There is also a need for translators in such poverty-stricken or even disaster-stricken areas, and that could also be another opportunity for you to play your part in helping humanity, through as simple an act as being fluent in a language.
Another aspect of becoming a better person by learning Spanish is that it could make you more aware of certain social cues and feel empathetic towards others not sharing the same mother tongue as you.
It will also help you understand the culture of Spanish speaking countries better and develop fundamental social and emotional skills that involve specific perspective-taking into consideration.
6. Access to world-class art, literature, and beauty
If you are a lover of the arts like me, you will be most excited about this particular benefit of learning the language. It definitely expands the intensity of your exposure to the Hispanic culture by several folds.
Despite that you may be able to watch the classic Spanish movies with subtitles, there is no parallel to understanding them in their natural language. Same is the case with literature, old classics by the likes of Pablo Neruda or Gabriel Garcia Marquez are best read in the original language they were intended for.
This not only provides greater insight into the writer’s message, but also helps in engaging with the content in a more exclusive way.
Moreover, despite that art is a universal language, learning the mother tongue of the likes of Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali can help understand the context, and inspiration of some of their best works.
7. Getting the best of pop music
It is not an unknown fact that music is food for the soul. And if you have heard the music produced by geniuses like Ricky Martin, Shakira, Enrique Iglesias, and Pitbull, you definitely know how their music has the ability to shake your soul and get up to dance.
Spanish artists are currently some of the most vibrant and dynamic pop talents of this time. Just recently, the song Despacito took the entire world, both Spanish and non-Spanish speakers, by storm.
Now while the beat is one thing aka it is extremely contagious, the lyrics are another thing. Most listeners enjoy the melody without ever understanding the lyrics of these songs. If you learn Spanish, you will be able to understand the beautiful emotion behind the songs and appreciate them even more.
It can work the other way around too; Spanish music can actually help you learn the language better. Indeed, such a fun way to learn!
8. Chance at better relationships and friendships
I am sure we have all dreamed of having cross-cultural relationships and friendships, especially when on vacation.
Connecting with people who come from a completely different background, but at heart are so similar to you in terms of spirit is a different kind of feeling. It honestly feels like meant to be.
So, if you get such a chance, why would you want to blow it by restricting yourself because of language? It is unrealistic to expect someone to speak your language but you not knowing anything about theirs.
If anyone in your family or friend circle or even class is a native speaker, this ability gives you exclusive opportunity to talk to and build a repo with them. This will surely help you stand out from the rest and add an interesting element to your personality. If nothing else, it can serve as an interesting conversation starter with someone you find attractive!
So don’t limit your prospects at finding a Spanish soulmate and get to learning!
9. It actually isn’t that hard
How long you take to learn the language depends entirely on you, but according to the American Council of Teaching Foreign Language, languages of Group I i.e., Spanish, French, Portuguese etc. take an average of 480 hours of professional curriculum to achieve a moderate level of fluency.
Moreover, Spanish has been regarded as one of the easiest languages to learn. Thus, you will be reading and speaking at a basic level in no time at all!
10. Polyglot Panda is the BEST place to learn it!