We live in a time where it seems that the English language is taking over the world. More and more people are learning how to speak English across the globe and it has become the go-to language where people from every part of the world “meet” when they have to communicate with one another. English is the language of business and of science and you can now even study in English in many places where English is not the national language! And this has resulted in many native English speakers becoming lazy when it comes to learning a new language.
Why should I learn ANY foreign language?
For many native English speakers, learning a foreign language can appear to be a lot of pointless work. After all, everyone speaks English, right? While it is true that English speakers are very lucky that they will often be able to find someone that speaks English in most places that they might find themselves in, the first reason for learning a foreign language (or languages, but let’s take this one step at a time!) is that this is not always the case! Even where (some) locals do speak English and can communicate with you if they choose to do so, it is a distinct advantage to be able to talk to people in their language.
Beside the practical aspects when travelling to foreign countries, learning a language has a whole range of benefits such as improving your job prospects and leading to better pay, amongst others. It is also a good idea to learn languages because of the different perspectives of the world that this opens you up to. Studies have even found that it is good for the brain and helps to ward off some of the effects of ageing!
Having established that learning a foreign language is never a bad idea, let’s now turn to why Spanish might be a good choice for you. First, some raw numbers: Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world, with an estimated 480 million native speakers in 2018. It is the official language in 20 countries, and the third most used language on the internet. It is also one of the six official language of the United Nations. Let’s explore how these facts and others lead to different reasons why you, personally, might want to think about learning Spanish.
Besides the obvious external benefits, learning Spanish is a good idea because of the self improvement dynamic that it will most likely get you into. Spanish is one of the easier languages to learn for English speakers, and one that you can use in many places, for many things, and with a lot of people!
Due to its relative ease, it’s quite likely that if you apply yourself, you will quite quickly pick up enough Spanish for you to be able to start using it. And that feels good! Following that train of thought, it could also be argued that Spanish is a “gateway language”. Once your Spanish starts getting good, you will realise that you can understand bits and bobs of Portuguese, French and Italian as well, amongst other romance languages which will become much easier for you to acquire afterwards should you choose to do so! Imagine taking many of the benefits of learning Spanish and being able to replicate and multiply them as you learn other languages as well! Sounds like a great reason to begin with!
Better holidays and travel
As mentioned before, Spanish is the official language in 20 countries. Speaking Spanish then, will make your experience when travelling in these countries much better. And these countries have a lot of potential for you, in terms of having a good time.
Whether in Europe or in Latin America, Spanish speaking countries have something for everyone. Mountains and deserts, forests and beaches that evoke images of paradise… these countries have it all! If breathtaking scenery is what you’re after, you could do a lot worse than travelling around Latin America. History? Friendly people and good food? Yep, you’ve got it all there as well! And Spain itself, with its 82 million visitors each year has also got a lot to offer, whatever it is that you’re looking for in a holiday.
It is particularly useful to speak the local language in Spanish speaking countries because locals there often don’t speak much English except for the highly educated circles and, increasingly, young people.
Being able to speak Spanish in Spanish speaking countries will make you more confident there because you’ll be able to understand what is being said around you. It will mean that it’s harder for you to get lost, and people are going to be both friendlier towards you and less likely to try to take advantage of you than the next gringo/guiri that comes along (read shortchange or otherwise rip you off).
Winning over people’s hearts can be done by doing something as simple as speaking to them in their own language!
Better job prospects
Besides having fun when you’re travelling, being able to speak Spanish is also something that can help you in your professional life. In the United States, for example, Spanish is the most widely spoken language after English, with Spanish native speakers there being counted in the millions. In some U.S. states such as Florida, California, Texas or New Mexico, for example, between 30 and 40% of the population is of Hispanic origin and speaks Spanish at home. It is no surprise then, that if you want a job in these places, speaking Spanish is going to be a huge, sometimes essential, asset for you to have. Large Spanish speaking diasporas in many other parts of the world result in similar effects, with Spanish being a very useful language to have in your skill set that helps you find a job.
In many other cases, speaking Spanish is not a requirement, but speaking it can occasionally help to better serve some customers’ needs, so it’s a bonus. Because of this, it is also the case that speaking Spanish not only makes you more employable, but it also leads to your having, on average, a higher salary than people in the same job that don’t. Now there’s some motivation!
Making friends and more
Learning how to speak Spanish opens the door to your being able to meet and communicate to almost 500 million people. That’s a fairly large group of people! You’ve got lots of potential friends and significant others in there, no matter what kind of person you’re into.
Ever thought about hooking up with a Latino or Latina? Speaking their language is a great way to get things going! Want something more serious? Again, speaking their language will give you a much more accurate insight into the kind of person you are facing and will make help you to fall in love or realise that it could never work out. Either way, it’s a win for you.
Spanish speaking people tend to be very social folk. Even if you don’t travel to a Spanish speaking country, if you live in a large or medium sized city, chances are that there is a tight Spanish speaking community there that regularly gets together for a kickabout and/or a barbecue (asado) in the park as soon as the weather allows it. You can probably hear them from quite some distance! In many cases, such groups want to connect with locals as well, but many of their member might often not speak very good English yet. If you speak Spanish, you’ll more likely than not be welcome to join them and they’re usually a friendly bunch. Go on, have fun!
It could be said that it is easy to see why learning Spanish is probably a good idea for many, or at least that there are many reasons why you might want to learn Spanish. If you’re still not quite sure about whether it’s for you, feel free to check out some of our free Spanish grammar and media resources to dip your toes in the water. For a more humorous take on Spanish, and also other languages, check out our Instagram page!