Why Learn Spanish
1. Communicate with 350 million native Spanish speakers worldwide.
Spanish is spoken by at least an estimated 350 million people around the world and is currently the 4th most commonly spoken language worldwide. Geographically, a large number of countries have Spanish as a dominant language: Spain, the United States, Venezuela, Argentina, Chile, Equatorial Guinea, the Philippines, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Panama, Colombia, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Knowing Spanish opens the door for you to communicate with 1/3 of a billion speakers worldwide!
2. Communicate with Spanish-speaking people at home.
If you live in the US, it is possible to maintain almost daily contact with native Spanish speakers in many cities or even in rural areas. This is certainly the case in the many states bordering Mexico, or such states as Florida and New York where many immigrants of Cuban ancestry reside. Even if your home state is not located in one of these areas, there is still a great likelihood of finding Spanish-speakers close to where you live. As of 1995, 10% of all people living in the US were of Hispanic descent. In the past 10 years, this number has continued to increase.
Perhaps this is why 53% of students learning languages in US colleges and universities are learning Spanish over other languages. You have the opportunity to use your language skills right at home.
3. Learn Spanish to enhance your travel experiences.
If you've ever dreamed of visiting far-off, exotic, tropical places, you don't have far to look when you consider the great number of Spanish-speaking countries that fit this description. Wherever you decide to go, be it to Central America, or to Spain, the mother-country of the Spanish language, knowing the language will get you far.
Knowing the language and culture of the land you visit will give you insights into the people and culture that a non-Spanish speaker would never have access to. Knowing even a little Spanish ahead of time helps travelers communicate more successfully, especially considering that a great number of Spanish speakers do not know English. Whether giving an address in a taxi, making reservations in a hotel, ordering food or drinks in a restaurant, or meeting the locals at the main hang-out, your travel experience will be much smoother and more enjoyable when you can communicate.
If you take a little time to learn some of the Spanish language before heading off to distant lands, your understanding and appreciation for the places you visit will be improved tremendously.
4. Use Spanish to improve your employment potential.
Know a second language? Great, you're hired! If you have proven yourself to be a capable employee with just the right job skills AND you speak a foreign language such as Spanish, you are much more likely to land that job of your dreams than if you are monolingual. In fact, many jobs today require a minimum of basic proficiency in another language.
With the world becoming ever more global, contact with people of other countries has increased tremendously in recent decades. Just having a basic knowledge may be all it takes to separate yourself from the crowd of applicants for the job you are pursuing. With the rapidly increasing Hispanic population, there are a multitude of career fields in the US that need Spanish speakers. Among them are nurses, social workers, teachers, salespeople, translators, and many more.
Internationally, people who speak Spanish often have opportunities to work in trade or business fields. Other options include diplomacy, interpretation, and security applications, which all require a sensitivity and proficiency of another language. And did you know that bilingual employees often receive a larger salary than their non-Spanish speaking counterparts?
If the chance to show off your skills and be more competitive on the job market doesn't interest you in studying Spanish, perhaps the extra cash will!
5. Learn Spanish to improve your knowledge of your own language.
Spanish is from the Romance language family of languages, its roots coming primarily from Latin, the language spoken by the Romans. As you might know, English, too has many words of Latin origin. Because of this, knowing Spanish helps speakers of English (as well as some other European languages) broaden their vocabulary in their native language. Often times, these same Latin roots are at the base of many sophisticated words in English, so Spanish learners can also become more proficient in English.
In addition, a recognition and understanding of these words of Latin origin is especially helpful in certain professions in science, medicine, law, and many others with specialized vocabulary, as the many centuries of Roman rule left their mark linguistically in these and other modern scientific and professional fields.