7 Good Reasons to Learn Spanish this Year

Speak Spanish - Imagen vía huffingtonpost.comNeed an excuse to skip off to Spain to learn Spanish?

Here are seven good ones…

1. Spanish is not really a foreign language anymore

English may still be the world’s most spoken language, but Spanish is quickly taking over other non-English languages.

Why? Because so many people in emerging economies and major business sectors (like finance, import-export, travel and leisure, entertainment, recruitment, medicine and journalism) speak Spanish. There’s a big market out there if you want to create business or get a really good job.

The British Council recently listed Languages of the Future – and Spanish is at the top of the list, followed by Arabic, French and Mandarin Chinese.

2. Spain is EU’s best destination for language students

Out of all the EU countries, Spain is currently the destination most favoured by foreign language students. Why? Well, this may be surprising news amidst all the negative economic press on Spain. But thanks to the country’s solid language sector (driven by private language schools and public universities, and backed by the government) Spain is a no-brainer when it comes to choosing a language-learning destination.

3. You’ll get to watch original Almodóvar and Guillermo Del Toro

7 reasons to learn Spanish in Spain - Image by blogs.periodistadigital.comIf you can read Spanish, there is a wealth of world-class literature that you can enjoy. UniSpain recommends Miguel de Cervantes, Pablo Neruda, Isabel Allende, Gabriel García Márquez, Eduardo Mendoza, Roberto Bolaño, Mario Vargas Llosa… and many more.

Then there are the Spanish movies: watch films by Almodóvar, Del Toro, Saura or Berlanga, and hear Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas en version original.

Sure, you can read good translations and watch subtitled films. Are they the same? The answer is no. Each language has its own subtleties, nuances and beauty – as well as being the doorway to a deeper cultural experience. Spanish literature and film greats are all the better when enjoyed “unadulterated”.

4. You’ll get much more out of your travel experiences

Close your eyes. Imagine you’re walking down the long, white-sanded coastline of Alicante, the fresh sea breeze from the Mediterranean is blowing in your hair, the sun is already up promising a beautiful, warm day ahead. Maybe you’re up early because you fancied a walk, or maybe you’re just coming back from the local nightclub!

Either way, the salty sea air is making you really hungry. You spot a group of fishermen pulling in their boats. You ask them in Spanish, “¿Dónde se puede desayunar bien por aquí?” and they direct you to a local bar, hidden down a narrow street in the village’s fishing quarter. When you get there, the family who owns the place are incredibly friendly. You order a piping hot, strong café cortado, and a generous serving of pan tostado con aceite y tomate. You pick up the bar copy of the Diario Sur, then read the local news (or check the Spanish Liga results) over your desayuno. When you get the bill, the breakfast costs you 2,30€ (about £2 or $3,50), instead of the 10€ (about £8 or $14) that you’d normally pay at the touristy café in the centre of town.

Great, right? Speaking Spanish in Spain means you can go where the locals go, eat what they eat, party where they party. Your holidays will no longer be merely restricted to touristy main drag attractions and sights touted by guidebooks. Spain isn’t the limit either, once you master the language; South America has 20 Spanish-speaking countries and some of the coolest destinations in the world.

5. You’ll be doing your brain a favour

Seven reasons to study Spanish in Spain - Picture by news.discovery.comAccording to scientists, being bilingual is good for your brain. It not only improves memory, but learning a second language significantly delays the onset of dementia and Alzheimers. According to a Canadian study carried out and published in 2011, persons who were genetically predisposed to Alzheimers were found to experience up to five-year delays in developing the disease when they began to train their brains by studying a second language.

Whilst doctors and researchers are still unsure why this happens, they know that bilingual people exercise a part of the brain called “executive control system”. It involves parts of the prefrontal cortex, which help us think in a multifaceted, complex manner; this is in fact the most important part of our brains, effectively controlling what we refer to as “human thought”. Scientists believe that speaking another language does not so much prevent or cure dementia or Alzheimers, but helps those suffering manage the disease much better.

6. Date someone who speaks Spanish

Come on, own up! How many of you haven’t sometimes dreamt of meeting a tall, handsome stranger on holiday… right? Well, even if that’s not the case, speaking Spanish opens up your social life and your world. Yes, you could potentially fall in love with someone who speaks Spanish and be able to communicate with them, but you could also get a new flatmate who speaks Spanish, make friends with people in another culture, join a Spanish book or cinema club, learn the philosophy behind salsa or flamenco dancing, explore Spanish cuisine through original recipes, or create better business relationships and opportunities with Spanish colleagues and companies. With over 400 million people speaking Spanish globally, the world will be your oyster.

7.  Spanish is one of the easiest languages to learn

Last but not least, let’s look at the list of “languages of the future” that we mentioned in the first paragraph, and compare how easy they are to learn. Chinese and Arabic have different alphabets.

You’ll also need to learn how to pronounce completely new sounds, which can be very hard. Spanish, on the other hand is a phonetic language, which means that it is pronounced how it is written. It only has three consonants with phonetic sounds different to those found in English (g, j and r) – and if you’re Scottish or Scandinavian, you can take the ‘r’ off the list!

Basic Spanish grammar is simple, and you can quickly learn to communicate basic things in the present tense. Additionally, if your first language is English, Spanish contains many similar words like organizar (organise), fotografía (photograph), especial (special), dentist (dentist), tren (train), hospital (hospital and many more. Although French also has vocabulary similar to English, French spelling and pronunciation are much more specific and complex.

So all in all…

If you’re going to pick a language for its usefulness, fun, health benefits, cultural richness and ease, we reckon Spanish is a foolproof choice. Check out our other blog resources and visit the UniSpain website to for guaranteed best rates in quality Spanish courses in Spain  – and start learning Spanish today.

 

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