Today, Spanish is the official language in 20 countries, and there are over 559 million Spanish speakers around the world.
Even 16 percent of the United States population speaks Spanish, and this number continues to rise.
For this reason, there is no better time than right now to learn Spanish as a second language.
Why Is it Important to Learn Spanish?
With the ever-increasing amount of global communication and diversity, there are several benefits of learning Spanish.
1. Keep Your Brain Sharp
One of the main benefits of learning Spanish as a second language is that it will sharpen your brain. Studies show that people who speak more than one language have improved memory, a stronger ability to multitask, and better listening skills.
Also, learning Spanish as a second language can enhance your problem-solving and critical thinking skills. You may even have better concentration when you learn a second language. All these enhanced brain capabilities when you learn a new language are some of the main perks of learning Spanish.
2. Improve and Expand Employment Opportunities
Learning Spanish as a second language will undoubtedly improve and expand your employment prospects. Today, there are many job opportunities where the ability to speak Spanish is a crucial qualification that employers are looking for.
According to The Economist, bilingual Spanish speakers earn an average of 1.5% more than their non-bilingual counterparts. Over the course of 40 years, this may add up to a whopping $51,000 difference. While the year-to-year gains may seem small at first, they result in significantly greater pay over an entire career.
These businesses need Spanish speakers to converse with their diverse range of customers, handle business relationships that are located in Spanish-speaking countries, and communicate with employees who only speak Spanish. With Spanish on your resume, you may be able to apply to more jobs and strengthen your application.
3. Understand Spanish Books and Movies
There are thousands of books, movies, and TV shows exclusively written and filmed in Spanish that are not translated.
In addition, there are many classics you may know that were originally written in Spanish, such as Don Quixote, Macario, and Life Is a Dream.
Once you learn Spanish as a second language, you will be able to understand more, if not all of them. If you have ever gotten tired of reading and watching the same things in your native language, learning Spanish will broaden your horizons to include Spanish-speaking books and media.
4. Meet People From a New Culture
As a new Spanish speaker, you should be able to converse with other Spanish speakers in their native language. Being able to speak someone’s native language allows you to meet people you may never have known if you did not speak Spanish.
Plus, learning the language of a specific culture truly lets you see what that it is like in that culture. As a Spanish speaker, you can connect with this culture in ways you might not otherwise have been able to. You could forge lifelong friendships by learning Spanish as a second language.
In fact, a 2003 study published by Cambridge found that bilingual children demonstrated more development on perspective taking, leading to higher empathy and social skills.
5. Travel to Spanish Speaking Countries
Another main benefit of learning Spanish is the ability to travel to any Spanish-speaking country around the world and not worry about the language barrier.
You can visit, meet, and interact with all that another country has to offer. If you were thinking about traveling to a Spanish-speaking country, learning Spanish before leaving will likely improve your experience.
Some of the most popular destinations for those looking to use their Spanish include:
- Costa Rica, and
While traveling, Spanish may allow you to explore and discover these new countries like you’ve never been able to before.
6. Take the First Step to Become a Polyglot
If you want to become a polyglot or have the ability to speak many languages, the first step is to become multilingual by learning Spanish as a second language.
Once you create the brain pathways that allow you to speak two languages, learning a third and fourth language becomes exponentially easier. It still takes time to be thoroughly fluent. But taking Spanish is a great start to understanding as many new languages as you can learn.
According to the Foreign Service Institute, languages like French, Italian, Portuguese, and Dutch are close to English just like Spanish. In fact, it only takes the average learner 24-30 weeks to reach professional working proficiency in these languages. That’s only about 600-750 hours, or around 2.5 hours per day of study time.
7. Translate Text and Speech In Spanish
If you have ever seen a text or heard someone say something in Spanish and wondered what it meant, learning Spanish as a second language may allow you to translate and understand.
Once you learn Spanish, the ability to translate Spanish words, phrases, and long-form communication back into your native language can become second nature.
This has several benefits, especially when it comes to career opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for interpreters and translators is expected to increase by 24% by 2030. This is much faster than the national average. As a result, the BLS estimates up to 19,300 new opportunities within the next decade. In 2020, interpreters and translators made $52,330 per year on average, with the highest 10% earning as much as $96,480.
8. Strengthen Knowledge of Your Language
After you learn Spanish as a second language, you will likely gain a much stronger knowledge of your own native language.
A 2016 study conducted at American University discovered that bilingual middle school students outperformed their monolingual peers in English reading skills after a four-year bilingual immersion program. In addition, these students had a slightly higher development in their second language than those who took Spanish electives. They scored an intermediate-low proficiency on average, while the control group scored on the novice-mid proficiency level.
While learning a new language, you will be forced to think about how your native language uses vocabulary, conjugation, idioms, and many other grammar rules. Thinking through your language and then translating it into Spanish can help strengthen your grasp of your native language.
9. Boost Your Creativity
Another great benefit of learning Spanish as a second language is that your creative abilities might naturally grow.
Some studies show that bilingual individuals not only have higher divergent thinking skills, but also excel at non-verbal creativity. While research into the effects of bilingualism on creativity is relatively new, initial signs show that there is a connection.
As you learn a new language, you have to think of creative ways to communicate with the words that you know in your new language. Since you only know a limited number of words, sometimes you have to get very inventive. This creativity forms new brain pathways and carries over to other creative endeavors.
10. Delay Diseases Like Alzheimer’s and Dementia
In one study conducted at the University of Milan, researchers did CT scans of Alzheimer’s patients’ brains. The 40 subjects who spoke two languages performed better on working memory and long-term memory. In another study published by the American Academy of Neurology, bilingual dementia patients delayed the onset of the disease by 4.5 years. Many of these bilingual patients were also illiterate. This means that general education had less of an impact on dementia onset than learning a second language did.
Since learning Spanish creates new neural pathways in the brain, the onset of these diseases may be delayed. This delay can help people who speak multiple languages to maintain a higher quality of life. As they age, they can stay sharper.
Interested in Learning Spanish as a Second Language?
These benefits of learning Spanish as a second language are just a few of the many reasons why you should learn another language.
If you are interested, check out Stratford Career Institute’s course on Spanish as a second language. It will introduce you to Spanish and teach you many of the basic phrases and words that you can use in everyday life.
Start Learning Spanish Today
Enroll in our Spanish as a Second Language online course!