The number of pupils studying Spanish in the UK and globally is consistently on the rise and it is fairly easy to see why. Spanish is the world’s second most spoken language by native speakers, with more than 400 million Spanish speakers in no less than 21 countries. The Spanish language and Hispanic cultures also continue to be increasingly dominant as a first or second language in the USA and for fellow English-speaking nations much closer to home. Spanish has emerged as ‘the most important language for the UK’ in an analysis made by the British Council. Additionally, certain aspects of Spanish make it easier to learn at the early stages, thanks to its similarities to other Romance languages and the fact that its pronunciation is relatively straightforward.
Spanish has an ever-increasing presence in the global market. Emerging economies in Latin America mean that the scope for work and business opportunities arising from any knowledge of Spanish is rapidly increasing. Business and commerce aside, the vast range of countries where Spanish is spoken make an understanding of the language extremely useful for those who want to travel and experience other parts of the world. The idea that “everyone abroad speaks English” is a myth and if you really want to know a country and its people, you have to at least try to speak like them.
The Hispanic World has of course produced many of the world’s most renowned artists, such as Francisco Goya, Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso and Frida Kahlo. Meanwhile, writers such as Cervantes, Vargas, Lorca and García Márquez continue to be praised and studied across the world. And of course, Spain and Latin America have and continue to produce many of the world’s greatest athletes and sports stars; from five time Ballon d’Or winner, Lionel Messi, to Olympic swimming gold medallist, Mireia Belmonte, to the winner of seventeen grand slam tennis titles, Rafa Nadal, there is no certainly no shortage of successful Hispanic role-models. Similarly, in music and broader popular culture, international stars, hits and trends continue to emerge from all places Spanish-speaking; whether you are a pop fan of artists like Shakira and J-LO, a reggaeton enthusiast or just love the tradition of flamenco, there is a whole world of Spanish music for you.
The real question is, why wouldn’t you study Spanish?