There are plenty of technical & logical reasons to learn Spanish (we’ll get to those in a minute), but at it’s root, Spanish is a means of communication. It’s the situations you find yourself in, the experiences that you have, and the connections you make with people by speaking another language which are the real reasons to learn Spanish. Each Spanish-speaker potentially offers a world of opportunity, you just have to choose to explore it.
Your real reasons for learning Spanish don’t exist yet, because you haven’t created them. They are not the same reasons as my reasons. They will be unique to you as a person, and belong to your life. For an idea, I want to list a few of my personal experiences first. Without at least a working knowledge of Spanish, I would not have been able to:
- Make $1,000 in 2 hours. That’s what I sold my Spain vs. Chile World Cup ticket for, outside of the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Thousands of Chileans pressuring me to sell, Brazilians trying to “help” me sell, and SWAT team police arresting people selling/buying tickets left and right! No Spanish, no way.
- Pour sweat, sing & play drums, discuss the beauty of life, & cry in the complete dark, for over 2 hours, with 15 strangers in a “temazcal” in Valle de Bravo, Mexico. Temazcals are pre-hispanic sweat lodges that have been used for self-reflection & spiritual cleansing since before the Aztec empire.
- Soak up the World Cup atmosphere with the locals in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and speak with Argentinians about the love/hate relationship the country has with their superstar Lionel Messi and debate whether he is as good as immortal legend Diego Maradona. Soccer is like a religion in Argentina, so this was a true cultural experience.
- Haggle with tour operators in Puerto Escondido, Mexico, to the point of eventually becoming friends with them and getting invited to go out on their fishing boat where we caught 15 Mahi-Mahi & saw hundreds of dolphins & sea-turtles!
- Damage control after waking up late & almost missing our flight out of the Bolivian Amazon jungle, by quickly getting 3 motorbike taxi’s to the airport & arriving in time to plead with the guy at the ticket counter to bump us on the next flight for no additional charge.
General Reasons for Learning Spanish:
- Spanish is the world’s second most natively spoken language, after Mandarin Chinese, and is the second most used language in international communication, after English.
- Spanish is the second most studied language in the world, meaning that Spanish will only continue to grow, giving you more opportunities to communicate with people around the world.
- There are 25 countries that speak Spanish as an official or primary language.
- There are an estimated 470-550 million Spanish speakers worldwide.
- Spanish is one of six official languages used by the United Nations, and is declared an official language of the European Union.
Experiencing the Culture
- Of course it’s possible to experience other cultures without knowing Spanish, but knowing the language will give you insight into why things are the way the are.
- The food is some of the best in the world. Ask locals which ingredients are used, about cooking instructions, or how things are prepared, etc. From Mexican tacos & quesadillas, to Argentine barbecues, to Spanish paella – there is no shortage in variety & flavor. Don’t even get me started on Chilean wine.
- The music/dance – salsa, merengue, reggaeton, tango, mariachi, etc. Listen to some real music & real artists instead of packaged Disney pop that pumps through the radio waves.
- Fine art – truly understand the genius of Pablo Picasso. Would you prefer to read William Shakespeare in another language than English? Then why read Cervantes’ Don Quixote, the 2nd best-selling book of all time behind the Bible, in any language other than Spanish? Nothing is ever as good as the original.
- History – Learn about Aztec pyramids, Mayan calendars, & Inca kingdoms as told by those who saw them in the flesh: the Spanish Conquistadors.
- Connect with local people. Latino people are extremely friendly & hospitable, they want to share with you. Allow them to by speaking a little bit of Spanish, & become an instant friend.
- Get off the beaten path. You don’t you want to limit yourself to traveling & exploring tourist locations that are flooded with English speakers, do you? Learn how to read road signs, speak with the taxi driver, get directions, etc. See the authentic places. That indigenous lady over there looks like she could tell you where the best waterfall is, not your travel agency.
- Speak a little bit of Spanish & maybe you won’t get gringo prices everywhere you go. Learn how to negotiate prices & relate to people and save yourself some dinero.
- Spanish has been identified as a strategic & key language for the future according to a report published by the British council.
- Between the years 2000-2010, 1 in 4 countries saw their hispanic populations double. That means that not only are Spanish speakers multiplying, but they are spreading to other countries.
- Latin American countries have been experiencing strong economic growth for years, and only look to strengthen going forward. In fact, most economists have listed Latin America, along with China & India, as having the most economic potential to develop in the future.
- In 3 or 4 generations, it is estimated the 10% of the world’s population will understand Spanish.
- The US is already the 3rd largest Spanish-speaking country in the world
- The majority of people immigrating to the US are hispanics, & will account for 60% or more of future population growth in the US.
- By 2050, the hispanic population will be an estimated 130+ million in the US, accounting for 30% of the nation’s population.
- Many predict that eventually the United States will be the largest Spanish-speaking country on Earth.
- The latino market is the fastest growing segment in the United States in terms of purchasing power, and demand for Spanish-language media (TV, radio, magazines) is skyrocketing.
- Nothing (no law, legislation, nor politician) will stop Latino immigration to the United States.
- Employers are much more likely to hire bilingual people
- Spanish is a romance language. That means it’s beautiful, probably more beautiful than your language. Communicating becomes more beautiful. Ever communicated with a beautiful person, in a beautiful language? You should try it sometime.
- Learning Spanish opens up the doors to learning more romance languages. Learning French, Italian, Portuguese or Catalan becomes so much easier with knowledge of Spanish.
- Spanish makes you smarter. Scientific studies show that learning another language is good for your brain. Learning another language reduces your chances of dementia, and developing Alzeimer’s disease. It also improves memory, critical thinking skills, and creativity!
- Studying Spanish helps you speak English better. Learning Spanish has been shown to improve English grammar & vocabulary, as Spanish was derived from Latin.