Learning a foreign language provides many benefits. It allows you to communicate with people from other areas of the world. You also gain a better understanding of different cultures and how they are similar to or different from your own. But how do you know which language to learn?
One option to consider is Spanish. While many high schools and online apps offer this ability on a basic level, you can also advance your understanding of the Spanish language by pursuing a Spanish minor in college. Here are the top benefits of a minor in Spanish.
1. Spanish is a high-demand language in the job market.
Spanish is one of the many languages that are in high demand in the job market, according to the nonprofit, bipartisan immigration research agency New American Economy. Specifically, the number of employers looking for Spanish-speaking job applicants increased 150 percent in a five-year time span.
Getting your minor in Spanish positions you for these job openings. It also gives you an advantage over other applicants who aren’t able to speak this language.
2. It Prepares You for Bilingual Job Opportunities.
Read through a few job descriptions and you’ll likely find several that want applicants who speak both Spanish and English. This is especially important in positions that often work with diverse populations, such as social work, health and human services, or international business.
Being bilingual is also critical when working in a geographic location with a high number of both English- and Spanish-speaking residents. Within the U.S., the top Spanish-speaking states in 2022 are California, Texas, and Florida. If you plan to pursue a career in one of these locations, getting a minor in Spanish enables you to communicate with more of the individuals in the community.
3. It Can Increase Your Salary.
Professionals who know how to speak and write two or more languages can earn more than those who know only one. If the second language is Spanish, you can earn around 1.5 percent more, according to the United Language Group. This might not seem like a lot, but it can add up over time.
For example, if your current pay is $40,000 per year, earning 1.5% more would kick it up to $40,600 annually. Over a 30-year career, this would result in an additional $18,000 in earnings—and that’s without any type of income increases, which is highly unlikely.
4. It Improves Your Ability to Communicate, Both Professionally and Personally.
The more tools you have in your communication toolbox, the greater your ability to connect with others. Getting your minor in Spanish can help you better communicate with both clients and colleagues who speak this language. It also improves your ability to communicate with Spanish speakers during your travels.
If you have a desire to spend time in Mexico or Spain, such as while on vacation, having the ability to speak Spanish on a more advanced level makes it easier and less awkward to communicate with the locals. This highlights the fact that the benefits of a minor in Spanish can extend to your personal life as well.
5. Spanish Is One of the Easiest Languages to Learn.
Are you concerned that you might struggle to pick up a new language? Did you have a hard time in your English classes and worry that passing a foreign language course might be even more challenging? If you answered yes to either of these questions, Spanish is the perfect option for you.
The experts at Babbel, the company behind the well-known language-learning app, report that Spanish is one of the easiest languages to learn, particularly for English speakers. This is partly because many English and Spanish words have a Latin basis, so they are similar in structure. Plus, Spanish is “a phonetic language,” meaning that you typically pronounce the words the same way they are spelled. This fact alone makes learning Spanish far easier than a number of other languages.
Interested in Getting Your Minor in Spanish?
If you’d like all of these benefits, Saint Leo University offers a Spanish minor to interested students. This is a 15-credit hour minor that includes courses such as Advanced Spanish I and II, Introduction to Spanish-Speaking Cultures, and Advanced Spanish Through Literature and Film. You also get to choose one additional course, with your options being:
- Peoples of Latin America: Cultural Perspectives
- Peoples of Spain: Cultural Perspectives
- Peoples of Al-Andalus: Their Influence and Legacy to the Spanish Culture
When you earn your minor in Spanish at Saint Leo, you must also complete 30 hours of community service within Spanish-speaking populations. This gives you the opportunity to use your Spanish language skills with native speakers. Spanish minors are also encouraged to pursue study abroad opportunities, enabling you to fully immerse yourself not just in the Spanish language, but also in different cultures and customs.