Why Is It Important to Learn Spanish? 14 Ways Spanish Will Improve Your Life
Spanish is one of the most spoken languages in the world.
It is an official or national language in over 20 countries and the number of native Spanish speakers worldwide is a whopping 475 million!
In 2015, there were nearly 41 million native Spanish speakers in the US alone.
It is next to impossible to avoid the language of Cervantes.
But that is not the only reason why learning Spanish is useful. It has a rich history and culture, and knowing the language can help you do well in life.
It can improve your quality of life and generally make you happy!
That is what you are about to learn. If you are unsure about learning Spanish, this post will show you all the positive benefits of doing so.
So sit back, relax, and let me convince you that learning Spanish is so important.
Why Is It Important to Learn Spanish? 14 Ways Spanish Will Improve Your Life
Every person who studies a language has their own approach, strategies and goals, but without a reason for learning, we are doomed to lose motivation sooner or later.
You might be trying to decide whether you should learn Spanish, French or maybe Chinese. Maybe you have already started learning Spanish and feel a little bit lost. In any case, this list has 14 compelling reasons why learning Spanish in today’s world is important.
I hope this post will help you make up your mind and make the right decision for you.
That said, here are 14 reasons why learning Spanish is important!
1. Because of the Number of Speakers
As I have already mentioned in the introduction to this post, there are over 475 million native speakers of Spanish worldwide.
If you add the number of people who use Spanish as a second language or are studying it, the total shoots up to around 572 million, making Spanish the second most-spoken language in the world after Chinese Mandarin!
In the US alone, the number of native Spanish speakers is over 41 million, a number that is growing so fast that it is estimated that in a few years, the United States will be the country with the most native Spanish speakers in the whole world!
It sounds crazy, but those are the facts.
Imagine learning the second most-spoken language in the world, being able to communicate with people from all the continents (yes, Spanish is an official language in at least one country in each populated continent) or being able to have a casual conversation with your Mexican neighbor or the cute Spaniard working in your office.
Imagine how easy it would be for you to find a Spanish native speaker in order to practice your conversation or writing skills. The money you could save is incredible!
But not only that: The growing number of Spanish speakers means they are present in almost every country in the world. You can make friends abroad, visit them and practice your Spanish at the same time!
Being immersed in this language without even having to go outside your house has never been easier. Do you really want to miss the chance?
2. Because It Can Get You a Better Job
Are you career-oriented? Would you like to get a better job or have several employers throw offers and counteroffers in a scramble to hire you? Then start learning Spanish now!
It does not matter if you want to stay in America or you plan on finding a job abroad—the fact remains that with the number of Spanish speakers growing, sooner or later you will have to attend to a patient who only speaks Spanish or help a South American client get their taxes sorted.
If you are a translator or an interpreter, mastering Spanish can open a whole new world of documents that need to be translated and people who will hire you to interpret for them while at a meeting or an interview.
Learning Spanish will add that final touch to your resume that will make you stand out among the rest of candidates who are applying for that job you so want to get.
However, if you do not want to change your career or leave your job, Spanish is also a great asset that can help you get promoted at your current place of employment!
Maybe your bosses want their managers to speak three languages fluently. Maybe the company is opening a new branch office in Venezuela and they are looking for an American with fluent Spanish to be their international director. Or maybe your employers are like many others who value foreign language skills in their employees.
You never know! There are so many ways of going up the ladder just by learning Spanish.
3. Because of Commerce
Money makes the world go ’round. It always has and it always will.
Have a look at a map of the Americas. What do you see below the US?
Exactly: a bunch of Spanish-speaking countries! And guess what these countries have in common with the US? A whole lot of Spanish native speakers!
Hispanic Americans are getting wealthier, whether it is in their home countries or working in the US. A wealthier person will buy more of that product you are selling, and since their purchasing power is on the rise, your sales can be, too!
Learning Spanish is your key to opening a business in the Spanish-speaking area of your city or even in a Latin American country.
With Hispanic Americans spending more and more each year, you have the perfect opportunity to get your dream business started and make some profit while helping others get what they need.
4. Because You Want to Grow as a Person
With English being the world’s lingua franca, there are hundreds of thousands of English native speakers who do not even try learning a second language. Many believe that they do not need to, because “everybody speaks English.”
But this is just an excuse not to learn. If you decide to start biting onto that Spanish grammar and learning vocabulary, you will acquire a skill that sets you apart from monolinguals. Ain’t that cool?
Learning a second (or third) language will not only make people around you look at you in awe and admiration, but it will also allow you to grow as a person and make you proud of yourself!
And I mean the whole “growing as a person” thing literally: It has been demonstrated that people who study another language acquire some personality traits related to that language and its native speakers.
For example, Spanish is a much more affectionate language than English, so when an American starts using Spanish in their daily life, they tend to express their feelings more and be more open about expressing love for others.
And that is just one way you might change! You may see yourself grow in other ways through learning Spanish. It will be a fun adventure!
5. Because It Will Open the Door to Other Languages
If you are a language lover like me, you can never have enough and are always looking for the next language to immerse yourself in.
If you choose Spanish, the most widely spoken Romance language in the world, you will be learning valuable information that can help you study other Romance languages like Italian, Portuguese and even French!
Romance languages come from Vulgar Latin and they share a whole lot of characteristics like core vocabulary that is written either identically or very similarly. In addition to this, their grammar and sentence are structurally similar and the different tenses and verb moods have a tendency to stay more or less the same across all of them.
Imagine learning a language that will drastically shorten the time you need to learn its sibling languages!
6. Because It Is an Easy Language
I have heard a lot of people say that the tense system and, especially, the subjunctive mood in Spanish make it a very difficult language to learn.
But here is the tea: Spanish is actually easy to learn!
For starters, Spanish shares thousands of cognates (words that sound and mean the same) with English. Thanks to this, you already know more Spanish than a native five-year-old even if you have never touched a Spanish grammar or vocabulary book!
Secondly, Spanish grammar is nice and easy. Spanish likes (no, it loves!) its grammar rules, and tends to stick to them. If you learn a grammar topic, you will be able to apply it right away and it will help you to learn other topics. Yes, there are a lot of tenses and Spanish speakers love using the subjunctive mood every day of their lives, but isn’t a small challenge appealing?
Last, but not least, Spanish is spelled exactly as it is pronounced (with the exception of the magical letter h, which has no sound whatsoever).
English, for historical reasons, has not changed its spelling too much since Shakespeare’s birthday. The result is often ridiculous and nonsensical pronunciation rules with more exceptions than followers—there is even a joke that the word fish might as well be spelled “ghoti.”
Spanish, on the other hand, has evolved not only its pronunciation but also its spelling. Every letter is pronounced the same way, no matter what the context is. What you see is what you get!
7. Because It Will Improve Your English
No, I have not gone crazy. Learning Spanish will indeed make you better at English, too.
As a language teacher, I have daily contact with numerous students. Each of them might excel at one thing or have that unique hobby no one has ever heard about but at the end of the day, they all have one thing in common: unless they have studied it or another language, they have no idea how their own language works.
This is normal. We learn our native language with the trial and error method: If we, as babies, made a mistake while trying to say something, we got corrected by our parents or teachers and slowly but steadily our brains created the whole template in our mind, allowing us to become fluent in our mother tongue.
However, we did not have anyone explaining to us at the age of two why in Spanish the adjective follows the noun, or why English needs the auxiliary “do” in order to make questions in the present simple. We just learned it, locked it into our brains and repeated the pattern.
That is why you might be able to tell when something sounds “wrong” in your native language, even if you cannot explain why.
You might have learned a little grammar in school but it is learning a foreign language that really opens your eyes to how grammar and languages work. And once you see it in another language, you will tie the information back to your native language.
This will make you more conscious about your own grammar and will make you realize things you never paid attention to or have always taken for granted, like (surprise!) English having a subjunctive mood, too!
8. Because It Will Let You Enjoy Books, Music and Movies in Their Original Language
Imagine you want to watch your favorite series, which happens to be from Mexico, but they are not dubbing it into English and there are no subtitles available.
Imagine you have heard about a book that can change your life forever but it is only in Spanish with no plans for translations into your native tongue.
Finally, imagine you want to sing and understand “Despacito” like a boss or want to know what Ricky Martin is singing about.
The solution to these and other similar problems is super easy: learn Spanish!
You will not have to depend on a native speaker to help you understand those lyrics. You will not have to depend on subtitles, dubbing, translated versions of books…
By learning Spanish, you will get to enjoy Spanish books, movies, songs and TV shows like a real native speaker… in Spanish!
Learning another language opens a world of opportunities that has virtually no end.
9. Because It Will Make Your Vacation More Enjoyable
We all enjoy preparing our next trip and going on vacation to beautiful destinations, but a lot of us limit ourselves by choosing countries where they speak our language.
If you start learning Spanish now, you will be able to choose from 20+ more countries!
You will leave behind all the stress and anxiety related to not knowing how to get from one place to another, how to order food at a restaurant or how to visit the hidden places only those who know the local language can find.
If you speak Spanish, you can interact with the people of the place you are visiting, ask for directions without having to carry a dictionary with you, mingle and have fun at local bars and parties… Plus, your trip can be the perfect way to get really immersed in the language and culture of the country!
A vacation gone wrong makes us not want to return to that place. Start learning Spanish so that all your holidays are awesome!
10. Because It Will Help You Make New Friends
You can make friends while on vacation, but that is not the only way of making Spanish-speaking friends.
We are in the era of the internet. Everything—literally—can be done online. Why not take advantage of that and make a ton of friends from the comfort of your computer or phone?
Making friends from other countries will help you practice your Spanish and get feedback right away. Your writing skills will skyrocket, and if you decide to make phone calls or use online video chatting, you will also practice your conversation… for free!
Besides, making friends, whatever your age, is always fun. You can share your interests and hobbies with them or even meet if you live in the same area and go out. The sky is the limit, really.
11. Because It Can Help You Find Love
If you are the romantic kind, Spanish can help you find love.
It is cool to know someone online and talk in English for hours. Been there, done that.
It is also cool and very feasible to fall in love online and start a long-distance relationship. Been there, done that, too.
But imagine how many points you can add to your “love score” if you learn Spanish for love. You could make it a surprise and only start using it once you feel confident enough, or maybe the love of your life can help you learn their language.
It does not matter which method you use: I can assure you that if you send a Te quiero instead of an “I love you,” the Spanish-speaking person you are head-over-heels in love with will start looking at you with different eyes.
Let Spanish find you love! And if that does not work, at least you will be bilingual. It is a win-win situation!
12. Because It Can Save You from Trouble
I do not want to be negative, but we need to be very careful when we visit a new place. There is always the risk of getting robbed or assaulted if we do not know what areas to avoid!
If you travel to a Spanish-speaking country and you do not know the language, there is nothing you can do except be careful. People will talk to you and you will not know if they are asking you for the time or for your wallet.
But if go to the same place knowing Spanish, you can avoid certain situations just by paying attention to what the people around you are saying.
For example, if you hear a guy behind you saying to his mate that they are going to steal your purse, you can react and grab it on time or maybe run and cry for help. Or you might overhear a conversation that implies someone else is in danger, and warn them!
Very often, people assume foreigners do not speak their language and might even say bad things about you in Spanish to your face. Knowing what people say when they think you cannot understand is an extremely useful skill to have.
Even a little bit of Spanish knowledge will definitely come in handy in order to feel more secure and at home in a foreign environment.
13. Because of the Amazing Food, People and Culture
There are over 20 countries where Spanish is an official or national language. That means there are over 20 different kinds of traditional foods, customs and cultures!
One of the best things about traveling abroad is being able to savor regional and local food. Once you know how to speak Spanish and you decide to go to your next destination, you can go to a local bar or restaurant and ask the waiter to make some food suggestions. Or you can visit an ethnic food spot in your home country and know how to ask for down-home style cuisine!
There are so many different types of food, even inside the same country, that you would need five lifetimes to try them all.
The same happens with the local people and their culture. Each of the countries where Spanish is spoken has its own history, traditions and way of living. People from Nicaragua, for instance, are distinctly different from people Spaniards. Even within these countries, there can be several kinds of traditions, folklore and dialects!
When you start learning Spanish you will open a window to its history, traditions and people, and you will be able to fully understand our differences and similarities.
Now put that burrito down and keep reading, because we still have one reason to go.
14. Because You Want to Grow Old with a Powerful Brain
The brain is a muscle, and as such, the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets.
Learning a new language involves memorizing grammar rules, tenses, vocabulary words, idioms and much more. If you start learning Spanish and spend, say, 20 minutes a day practicing and studying it, you will be exercising your brain every day!
But learning a new language will not only boost your brain: it will slow down its aging process!
There are several studies that demonstrate that learning a new language can delay the appearance of dementia. This is mainly caused by the fact that when you speak more than one language, you need to switch between them, making your brain work harder and thus making it more powerful.
There are really only advantages to learning a new language. Start learning Spanish and see your life get better!
That is it for today, my friends.
As you can see from this list, there are plenty of good reasons to start learning Spanish today.
Whatever your personal motivation is, the truth is that learning a new language can only bring positive things to your life.
So do not hesitate any more, and get yourself started in this new adventure. You will thank yourself so much in the future!
Stay curious and, as always, happy learning!
Francisco J. Vare loves teaching and writing about grammar. He’s a proud language nerd, and you’ll normally find him learning languages, teaching students or reading. He’s been writing for FluentU for many years and is one of their staff writers.