Spanish is the second most common language in the U.S. and third in the world, after Mandarin Chinese and English. That alone is a compelling rationale for learning a language spoken by more than 500 million people around the globe. But for those of you who need some extra motivation, here’s our list of reasons to say “Hola” to Spanish:1. Expand Your Job Opportunities
When it comes to the workforce, speaking a second language pays — literally. According to Salary.com, bilingual employees make between 5 and 20 percent more per hour than workers who only speak one language. And there are more job options for people who speak a second language, particularly a common one like Spanish. For industries like healthcare, customer service, and education, having Spanish-speaking employees is extremely valuable — and sometimes even critical. In a tight race between job candidates in these fields, a bilingual applicant may have a leg-up.2. Don’t Get Left Behind
The Hispanic population in the U.S. hit 57 million last year, and Latinos accounted for 54% of the total U.S. population growth from 2000-2014, according to Pew Research Center. Learning Spanish is a great way to join in this growing community (albeit indirectly). As more Spanish-speakers and people of Hispanic heritage become part of our national fabric, wouldn’t it be nice to create a sense of camaraderie by speaking their language?3. Connect With Your Community
In the same vein as the previous point, being able to speak Spanish can help you communicate with members of your community and connect with them on a deeper level. Whether it’s greeting your Hispanic neighbors or chatting with the Spanish-speaking owner of your local grocery store, it shows true character to make the effort to speak to someone in their own language and can help you form unlikely bonds within your community.4. Get Some Culture
This should be the only motivation you need. Want unfettered access to the delicious food, beat-driven music, and vibrant visual and performing arts that make up Hispanic culture? Knowing the meaning of the lyrics when you’re salsa dancing, or being able to order authentic cuisine in Spanish will only enrich your appreciation for one of the most enchanting cultures in the world. And then there’s travel! There are more than 20 Spanish-speaking countries around the globe, each with its own distinct culture. Make your visit much more meaningful by learning the language before you go.5. Be Your Best Self
Promising yourself you’ll go to the gym regularly, attend more social events, be neater around the house — these are all pledges we make to better ourselves, and learning a language can easily be added to the self-improvement list. It not only opens up incredible opportunities, but it’s also good for your brain. Numerous studies have found bilingualism improves your cognitive abilities, particularly when it comes to multitasking, maintaining focus, and completing mental tasks. And perhaps unlike the aforementioned list of promises, learning a language is one you can actually follow through with!
The reasons speak for themselves. Learning Spanish is fun and useful for everyone! But no matter your motivation, the true goal of learning Spanish is to be able to have real-life conversations, and Babbel is your shortest path to get there.