“Hola! Como estas? Muy bien. Y tu?” These small Spanish phrases can get YOU places. Most Americans, more than 70 percent, are monolingual. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of the American population speaking a language other than English at home was at 21.6 percent in 2016.
Spanish is the largest non-English language spoken at home, at 13.3 percent, or 40.5 million people. The language is spoken in 20 countries and by over 450 million people. You’re missing out on many opportunities and conversations when you don’t speak Spanish.
As a Latina, I was raised to speak both English and Spanish in my household. This skill has benefited me throughout my education and career. One of the reasons why I have my job at Adelante Abroad is because of my fluency in Spanish.
When you’re bilingual, it enhances your resume and you are more competitive in the workplace. Your job can send you abroad to Spanish speaking countries (the way Adelante sent me to Spain for a week) and your employers will have more confidence in you communicating with Spanish speakers.
Do you ever get the itch to travel, perhaps work or study abroad? If you know how to speak Spanish, you can travel, work, intern, or volunteer in Spanish speaking countries. You’ll feel more comfortable living there instead of constantly worrying about how to ask someone “Where’s the bathroom?”. If you’re interning or working abroad, your employer will be able to communicate with you a lot more and give you more to do. This gives you the opportunity to network with people from different countries, and it will stand out on your resume.
In middle school, I was able to brush up on my Spanish grammar skills and learn about other cultures that speak Spanish. I’m Mexican and Nicaraguan, both countries speak Spanish but both are different in the ways they speak it. In Nicaragua, “straw” is “pajilla”, but in the region of Mexico my mom is from, “straw” is “popote”. It can be difficult to keep up! While you learn Spanish, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about other cultures and not make the mistake of saying “popote” in Nicaragua.
In the long run, knowing more than one language enhances your life in ways you never thought possible. Studies have shown that learning a language improves and develops your cognitive skills. Learning a foreign language helps keep your memory sharp.
What are you waiting for?! Sign up for a couple of Spanish classes. Start planning your next trip abroad because this time you’ll be able to communicate with the locals and get around without hesitation.
Thinking about interning or studying abroad?