Spoken by an estimated 400 million people worldwide, Spanish is currently the 4th most spoken language in the world.
If you are from the United States, in many cities and rural areas you may be able to have frequent contact with native Spanish speakers.
There are 21 countries in the world that have Spanish as an official language. Knowing the language will make your travel experiences in beautiful Spain and Latin America much easier. A good grasp of the Spanish language will be a valuable window into helping you learn about the true culture of the areas you visit, which will truly enhance your travel experience.
Knowledge of a foreign language can help open doors to job opportunities that you might not have had access to before. There are a number of jobs that require a basic proficiency in another language. In this global world, the more people that you can communicate with, the more valuable you are as an employee. You may even earn a larger salary because of your Spanish knowledge!
There are many universities, colleges, high schools and other organizations that offer a variety of study abroad programs and exchanges. You may be required to have a year or a semester of language study in order to participate. Even if a study abroad program does not require prior knowledge of Spanish, you will be at a great advantage when you study abroad if you have studied the language before arriving in the country. It will make it easier to make friends, shop for groceries and clothes, eat in restaurants and do many other essential things to help you enjoy your experience while abroad.
English and other European languages have many words of Latin origin. Spanish, one of the Romance languages, comes from Latin. Since Latin roots are the basis of so many English words, especially scientific and technical words, knowledge of Spanish will help English speakers and, to an extent, other European language speakers, not only to expand their vocabulary, but also to better understand the words of their own language.
While language learning takes a lot of practice, hard work and dedication, the learning process actually develops a number of mental and social skills. These skills are transferable to other aspects of life and it has been said that once you become bilingual and have learnt one language, the next language you learn is easier to master.
If you want an insider’s view of Spanish and Latin American cultures, a knowledge of Spanish is essential. When you can read and understand Spanish, whether on the street, in the metro, on television or in the newspaper, not only will it make your life much easier, but it will allow you to gain a greater understanding of the culture. Knowledge of Spanish will also open up the world of literature, and an understanding of the history of the Spanish speaking countries will help you to understand the historical influences that still affect the culture today.
Understanding Spanish will also open up the world of Spanish theatre to you, allow you to read great works of literature such as Miguel de Cervantes´ Don Quixote in their original forms, and watch Spanish language films without all the distracting subtitles. If you learn Spanish it will allow you to simply enjoy the films in their natural language. Oscar-winning films in Spanish include: Belle epoque (1993), All About My Mother (1999), The Sea Inside (2004) and Pan´s Labyrinth (2007). Famous Spanish-speaking actors include: Antonio Bandaras, Penelope Cruz and Salma Hayak.
There is also lots of wonderful Spanish and Latin American music. Popular Spanish-speaking musical artists include: Cuban Gloria Estefan, Colombian Shakira, Spanish Julio Iglesias as well as his son Enrique Iglesias, Puerto Rican Ricky Martin, and American Jennifer Lopez. Don’t just limit yourself to this list; there are many websites online where you can listen to many different and exciting types of Spanish and Latin American music.
When you learn a new language, such as Spanish, it opens up a whole new world of people that you can talk to that you may never have been able to communicate with before. This can give you many exciting opportunities to learn about other people’s cultures and form lifelong friendships.