Learn Spanish While Studying Abroad to Broaden Your Mind
by Patrick Collins
Studying Spanish in Spain serves the double purpose of teaching
you a new and useful language while placing you in a culture distinct
from your own. Learning an additional language is good to sharpen
and exercise your mind, while living in a new environment is
conducive to a broadening of perspectives as you adjust to an
alternate society and learn to navigate a foreign world.
Spain's culture is a particularly enjoyable one; in the 30 years
following the repressive dictatorship of General Franco (which in
itself was precluded by a brutal civil war), the Spanish people
have developed a unique affinity for the balance between enjoyment
and the demands of work and family. Social life in Spain is exciting
and dynamic, as evidenced by the appreciation of people of all
ages for la marcha (nightlife).
Spanish as a language is a valuable commodity in today's marketplace,
where close to half a billion people speak Spanish as a native
language and over 20 countries throughout the world are officially
Spanish-speaking. Added to that is the increasing importance of the
language in countries like the U.S., where the Hispanic population
is expected to make up a quarter of the total population by 2050.
The European Union holds Spanish as one of its six official
languages due in part to the important role Spain plays as a
business and cultural bridge to Latin America. In areas such as
these, knowledge of Spanish can lead to better access to employment
and higher salaries.
Perhaps one of the most important benefits of learning Spanish
within the context of Spain's culture - besides helping the student
learn faster and better retain the language - are the personal
benefits one derives from a study abroad experience. This is
especially true for young students with limited experience away
Studying and living in a new culture takes you from your
familiar surroundings to unexplored and unknown horizons. In
exploring a new world and learning its lessons, you're also
exploring and coming to know yourself. New experiences provide
valuable opportunities for growth, and although challenging at
times, they have the potential to teach us lessons that can be
applied throughout our lives.
Spain offers an ideal combination of a unique and intriguing
cultural-historical heritage, a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere
and excellent quality of life. Its sunny weather, sparkling
coastlines and adventurous nightlife draw millions of visitors
to the country each year, making it the world's top tourist
destination. Life in Spain is also appreciated by thousands of
foreigners who decide to move permanently to the country every year.
The opportunity to study abroad in Spain and learn Spanish
is one of the greatest advantages you have as a student, and is
most easily realized during this time in your life when traveling
is perhaps at its easiest. You'll come back home with a new language
under your belt and a deeper understanding of yourself and life
that can only come from traveling and seeing a larger part of the world.