Es Muy Importante: The Five Reasons Gen-Y Should Learn Spanish

by Michael Park

Spanish is a rapidly growing language that bears a wonderful influence on past and modern culture. It is one of the world’s most popular languages and is spoken by over half a billion people worldwide. Due to its popularity, Spanish is becoming an increasingly important language in society and commerce. It can be difficult to learn another language, but getting to grips with Spanish can yield huge benefits for entrepreneurs.

Here are the 5 reasons why Gen-Y entrepreneurs should learn Spanish:

It’s become immensely popular.

As mentioned above, Spanish is one of the most popular languages in the world. Spanish is spoken by approximately 500 million people – second to only Mandarin. It is widely spoken in 44 countries. The worldwide popularity of the language alone makes it key to getting involved with global economies.

Even if you’re not thinking about going global yet, more opportunities lie closer to home. It is not a widely known fact that the US is home to the second most Spanish speakers in the world. In fact, by 2050, the US will overtake Mexico as the country with largest amount of Spanish speakers.

Spanish will still be an excellent skill to have when communicating with those who have it as a first language, which is soon to be 50 percent of the US population. This can aid in increasing the quality and comfort of the relationships you have with people who bear a Spanish dialect.

Latin America is thriving.

Economically, Spain hasn’t had much to smile about over the past few years, but look further ahead at Latin America, and you will see where the potential lies for entrepreneurs (Lo siento, España). Latin America is home to some of the most rapidly growing economies in the world. Let’s take a look at Mexico, the country with the largest Spanish speaking population. Mexico has great potential, being part of the N-11 economies. These economies are known for impressive economic growth, technology adoption, and attractiveness for investment in infrastructure.  Colombia, the third largest Spanish speaking country, follows on the trend as one of the ‘CIVETS’ economies.

If you are rather ambitious as an international entrepreneur, a business trip to Latin America will do you very well, as the business opportunities are massive. Spanish is vital here, as it would be very difficult to even order a meal outside of tourist locations, let alone get involved in business. The most popular English speaking country in Latin America is Mexico, but only a paltry two percent of the adult population claim to have a high proficiency of English, highlighting the significance of the language.

It betters your business etiquette.

If you are an international entrepreneur seeking to do business in Latin America, learning the language yields more than the understanding of words. In Latin America, many key countries like Mexico and Peru share common business values, such as respect and familiarity. In Chile, humor is a popular factor, and if you don’t understand a joke, well… there are only so many times that you can fake a laugh!

It can even be seen as quite discourteous to hand associates a business card in English. What better way to show respect and gain familiarity with your business acquaintances than to speak to them in their language? Speaking the native language of the country will show commitment and an interest in their culture and values, which will give you some bonus points in building relationships.

It helps you to delve into different cultures.

There’s only so much you can understand about Latino culture before learning the language. Hispanics account for 60 percent of future U.S. population growth. If you are able to gain an insight into Latino culture, many business opportunities lie ahead, such as Latino television programs, websites, magazines and much more media exposure.

Knowing Spanish highlights great skills.

Not only does Spanish benefit you greatly when speaking it, it even does so when you’re not. Being able to speak a second language is bound to impress employers if you note it on your CV. Learning how to speak a language fluently requires dedication, resilience and intelligence, which is what most employers keep an eye out for. These are also key traits of entrepreneurs, so it all seems to tie in pretty well.

Yes, learning a foreign language can be a pain, but if you keep at it, you will get a lot more out of it than you put in. Try to fall in love with the language, enjoy the culture and experience, and remember that you are earning a skill. ¡Vamos!

Jibola Babatunde | Elite.

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Photo via World Cup Girls