There are so many great benefits of learning Spanish that it’s hard to name just 11.
I imagine, you can probably think of several yourself. I’m going to focus on the ones that I think will leave you wondering “what am I waiting for?!”.
The first step is to create the habit.
All you need is to put your willpower to work while giving it consistent action. You can start with 30 minutes a day and build up from there!
11 Awesome Benefits of Learning Spanish
1) Stand Out From The Crowd
Here’s the part where I tell you: “it looks good on your resume”.
I know. It sounds like a cliché. But it does look good, and it says so much about you!
Not only that, it is more and more becoming a business necessity altogether and a heavily coveted skill (bilingual) to have in the workplace.
Speaking Spanish in this modern, global world will definitely give you an advantage no matter what your pursuits lead you to.
It sure makes you more marketable and desirable for employers as many will be in awe of your ability to take on the tough task of learning a second language.
It is great to set goals for your language learning but you definitely don’t need to speak flawlessly with perfect grammar to reap the benefits of speaking Spanish!
For one thing, you will be able to connect at a deeper level with your co-workers or perhaps even your boss.
Sure, English is the language of business but imagine how pleasantly surprised customers would be if you spoke their language!
It will completely change the way they look at you. You took the time and the interest to learn their language and culture.
You can be that person creating a special relationship that translates into client retention…and employers know this.
Speaking a second language gives you an edge over someone who doesn’t.
You will be that much closer to getting that dream job!
2)You’ll Feel Good!
Learning a new language is a challenge and learning Spanish is no exception.
The fact is, it will make you feel better about yourself, give you a further sense of achievement and an extra boost to your self esteem.
Just watch for those bursts of joy as you reach, week by week, month by month, your set goals.
Soon, you’ll be able to have entire conversations even if your Spanish is not “perfect.”
The fact that you can communicate and are able to comprehend another language certainly qualifies as a pat on the back!
3) Life’s a Journey, Not a Destination
It will take traveling to a whole new level.
Spanish is the official language in 20 countries and several dependent territories.
Just imagine how much richer your experience will be, being able to mingle with the locals and integrating yourself deeply into a different culture.
You will not be restricted to the touristy areas where English is somewhat expected to be spoken.
You will be prone to explore other areas you could have never imagined seeing before and at the same time getting a real, authentic experience, interacting with the locals and finding the hidden hot spots.
It will also come in handy when reading the menu at a restaurant, asking for directions, asking for assistance or assisting others, telling the cab driver where to go, you name it.
Again, no need for perfect fluency here, you can always find solace in the universal language of gestures.
The fact that you are trying, will create a much more special connection with people and a better understanding of your surroundings.
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” -Nelson Mandela
4) Eat, Pray, Read
Spanish will take you to unknown and untapped territories.
A new world will unfold in front of you and things will start to acquire a different meaning.
Your life will be enriched in many levels, as you satisfy your curiosity.
For instance, there are many hispanic artists- Pablo Picasso, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró… and writers- Borges, Arturo Perez-Reverte, Isabel Allende, Gabriel García Márquez, Julio Cortázar…
Hispanic literature is just awesome!
We are talking about books that could potentially change your life forever...
Not to mention the food. Ahh, the food.
There are a great variety of dishes in Hispanic countries that will rock your world.
Want to learn a couple of my favorites?
At the bottom of the article I put together a couple fantastic recipes for Argentinian empanadas and Colombian arepas.
5) You Will Culturally Shock Yourself! (and that’s a good thing!)
It’s about unity, not uniformity!
Learning about a different culture will help you take an introspective look at your own culture.
I have naturally become a more empathetic person after learning a second language as I can now better understand those that aren’t intrinsically like me.
Cultural diversity makes us come together as a whole. We are all human, and each one of us brings something different to the table.
If the dinner party is at 9pm in a Latin American country, the guests arrive at 10pm (or later) and this is not only accepted behavior but most importantly, expected.
Dinner at 10 or 11pm is very common in the hispanic culture. 6pm is time for merienda!
Beware of this when looking for open restaurants.
There is this sense of spontaneity in the hispanic culture when it comes to dropping by a friend’s house, just because “you were in the neighborhood.”
This type of action may require more planning in other cultures, and thus it may be perceived as rude.
There is a whole world of cultural differences for you to discover and experience!
Perhaps most importantly, you will have a better understanding for who you are and a greater appreciation for others as you see and understand them in their own unique culture and circumstances.
6) Sing Your Heart Out!
Ever wondered what that song you can’t take out of your head is?
Now you can sing along!
It’s "Despacito," isn’t it.
If you haven’t heard it yet you are missing out. And if “Despacito” isn’t your thing, keep in mind there are a multitude of fantastic artists to listen to and learn from.
Sing along and learn from the lyrics being spoken.
Learn to appreciate a whole new world of music and culture.
7) Power to the Mind!
Learning a second language helps boost your memory and keeps your mind sharp.
Furthermore, learning Spanish can help prevent Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
Think I’m just making it up?
Studies have shown that bilinguals have been diagnosed 5 years later than those that speak just one language. That could be 5 years of your life back!
In addition, a second language has been known to boost your creativity.
Finally, Spanish can also be the bridge to learning other languages.
Spanish is a Romance language, which means that it is based on Latin, so when it comes to learning another Romance language like French, Italian, Portuguese- knowing Spanish will give you a leg up and make it that much easier.
Also, there are many English words with Latin roots so learning Spanish will broaden your understanding of English while also expanding your vocabulary.
You will soon notice the similarities and differences between Spanish and English grammar, which just might teach you a thing or two about your own native language.
8. Got Flicks?
Did I mention hispanic movies are awesome?
There are so many great Spanish-speaking movies out there that we put together an in-depth article of the 11 greatest Spanish movies of all time.
Make sure to check out the above article if movies are your thing.
Here’s a short list of some of my favorites...
...and the list goes on and on!
What’s your favorite flick? Let us know in the comments below...
9) Friends Will Be Friends
Whether it be traveling the world or traveling right up the street, the potential of making a life long friendship is palpable.
You will be amazed at how people from Spanish speaking countries respond when you have made the effort to learn and speak in their native language.
Soon, you will find yourself having deep, meaningful conversations with people you just met for the first time.
The level of authenticity, love, and genuine concern for each other found in many Hispanic friendships and families is unmistakable.
Don't believe me? Get a Latin friend and experience that infectious authenticity.
You’ll be surprised at the closeness of the friendships.
10) Want to Make Good Decisions?
Studies have shown time and time again that those who learn a second language are not only smarter, but more likely to make better decisions.
Think I’m making it up?
Researchers at the University of Chicago found that those who speak a second language were more analytical in their long term planning and considerably wiser in their financial decisions.
So if you struggle with long-term thinking and finances, maybe it’s time you focus on Spanish. 🙂
Want to be more rational, understanding, and wiser in all aspects of your life?
11) All You Need is Love
Speaking of romance!
How could we finish our 11 benefits without talking about the potential to find love.
With a quickly growing 577 million Spanish speakers worldwide, you have a good chance that your future special someone be Hispanic or from Hispanic descent.
You’ll instantly be able to meet with millions of different types of people from all over the world (even in the United States, where the Hispanic population is growing rapidly!).
Plus, you’d score points with the in-laws in many cases.
But we’re not just talking about falling in love for the first time; we’re talking about keeping that flame alive.
For example, you could be reciting a poem in Spanish to your significant other.
Here is a list of a few of the most popular Hispanic poets. You’re welcome.
What Are You Waiting For?!
Now that we have established that Spanish brings that extra layer-in all aspects- to your life, what are you waiting for?!
Learning Spanish is not only fun, it’s one of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn. The phonetics and lettering system is not nearly as difficult and complex as many languages in the east.
With the exception of a couple of combos, there is only one sound for each letter. So you will always know how to pronounce and spell words.
If there’s a lesson to be learned it is that Spanish will…dare I say it... complete you.
Art, music, movies, food, new experiences, people, friends, connections and perhaps even love… endless possibilities.
Whatever your main reason may be, it will change you and make you a better person because of it.
Go get ‘em.
2 Great Latin American Recipes
Here are a couple great Spanish recipes… and yes, welcome to the metric system!
*Note: the term ‘cup’ is used more loosely. A cup is literally any regular size mug you have at hand.
Empanadas are not only a typical Argentine dish and an essential element at the dinner table. They are a way of life.
Just like mate, Argentinians live and breath empanadas.
Behold, the recipe for the best empanadas you’ll ever taste (as long as they turn out ok).
For the dough
- 1/2 kilo flour
- 1 big spoon salt
- 3/4 cup oil OR 200 grams soft butter
- 1 cup cold water
For the filling
- 1 kilo ground beef OR beef cut into small pieces
- 1 kilo onions
- 1/2 green pepper
- 1/2 red pepper
- 4 hard boiled eggs
- 100 grams green olives
- 100 grams raisins (optional)
You will get about 2 dozen from this recipe. It seems like a lot but you’ll be glad you’ve made enough.
How to make the dough
Mix all the dry ingredients (flour, salt) in a bowl and then add the oil/butter and the water.
Adjust the amount of flour and water as needed.
It should result in a soft and even ball, not too sticky and not too dry. Cover it with a damped rag and put it aside while you make the filling.
How to make the filling
Hard boil the four eggs. Do this first, trust me, or you’ll be hitting yourself with the wooden spoon later.
Cut up the olives. Sauté the onions and peppers for a few minutes until the onions are transparent, add the raisins if you wish for a sweet and sour taste.
Add the beef and cook on low heat. When the beef is almost done, add the salt and cumin to taste, mix well.
Last but not least, mix in the hard boiled eggs (cut up into small cubes) and the green olives.
Let it sit until it cools down. Time to turn the oven on! Let’s say, 180 degrees (celsius!) or medium heat.
Roll out the dough and cut it into thin disks, more or less the size of a CD (You may have to google this word nowadays!).
How to make the magic!
Well, well, well…the time has come.
Grease a big pan.
*Notice*: put all the forks out of sight.
Place a disk in your hand, put a couple of spoonfuls of filling and seal the empanada using the repulgue technique (not a fork! Come on! Where is your spirit of adventure? This is an important part of the experience, ha ha).
There is a handful of YouTube videos out there on how to do just that.
Tip: if the edges are not sticking, get them wet using your finger.
Place the empanadas, one by one in the pan.
Very important: retrieve one of your forks and poke each one 3-4 times before sticking them in the oven. You don’t want them exploding all over!
Bake for about 45 minutes at a medium heat (30 minutes at higher heat) or until golden brown.
You now feel a little bit Argentinian, don’t you? 🙂
Beware, arepas are a one way trip…once you try them, you’ll never stop.
Colombians take great pride in their arepas (as they should!). It is considered their cultural symbol after all.
Here is why.
How to Make the Perfect Colombian Arepa...
- 120 grams arepa flour (pre-cooked corn flour)
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 cup water
- 2 big spoons water
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
How to make them...
Toss together the arepa flour, cheese, and salt in a bowl.
Stir in water until it is absorbed for a soft dough to form (dough will continue to stiffen).
Grab some dough, make it into a ball and flatten it between your palms, gently pressing to form a half centimeter thick patty, the size of a CD, then gently press around the sides to eliminate cracks.
Form more disks with the remaining dough in the same manner.
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat, then fry the arepas, turning them over once, until deep golden in patches, 8 to 10 minutes total per batch.
Drain on paper towels.
Now pair it up with a cup of hot cocoa and you are all set!
Is that flair for cooking bubbling up yet?