LATINO VOICES
08/31/2015 02:31 pm ET Updated Aug 31, 2015

15 Reasons Every American Should Learn Spanish

Spanish is kind of, sort of everything

If you don’t already speak Spanish, you really should consider learning, like, ahora!

Whether you want to improve your job prospects, keep your mind sharp, or explore new cultures without having to rely on Siri to ask for directions, Spanish is the one tool that will help you achieve all of that and more -- and we’re not just saying that because we’re Latino Voices. No (said in español )!

Spanish is the second-most spoken language in the United States, after English, and is the dominant language in many of our neighboring countries in the Western Hemisphere. It also happens to be an extremely beautiful language that is as useful as it is melodic.

Here are 15 really good reasons why every American should learn Spanish. De nada!

  • 1 Stand out in a competitive job market
       <span>A rising number of employers&nbsp;prefer individuals who can speak Spanish fluently. </span><span>A 2013 survey of h
    BartekSzewczyk via Getty Images
    A rising number of employers prefer individuals who can speak Spanish fluently. A 2013 survey of high level managers and executives conducted by Strategy + Business found that 96 percent of respondents “thought language skills are either “very important” or “somewhat important” for professional success in the current business environment.”       
  • 2 Expand your horizons
    With 329 million native speakers,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ethnologue.com/ethno_docs/distribution.asp?by=size">according to E
    Perez-Simons Media via Getty Images
    With 329 million native speakers, according to Ethnologue, Spanish is the second most commonly spoken language in the world after English. Get to know your hemispheric neighbors in Latin America, and fake your with through Portuguese in Brazil with your new language skills. 
  • 3 Do your job better
    Doctors, lawyers and social workers work with&nbsp;diverse individuals and families day in and day out, many of whom may spea
    Jose Luis Pelaez Inc via Getty Images
    Doctors, lawyers and social workers work with diverse individuals and families day in and day out, many of whom may speak Spanish. According to the U.S. census, 12.9 percent of Americans speak Spanish at home. 
  • 4 Communicate with your children
    <span>By 2050, the U.S. will be the <a href="http://newamericamedia.org/2011/02/us-will-be-biggest-spanish-speaking-country-b
    Creatas via Getty Images
    By 2050, the U.S. will be the largest Spanish speaking country, according to the Association of Spanish Language Academies. That means that if if you have children in the next decade or so, they will likely speak the language or at least have friends who speak Spanish. Now, wouldn't you like to understand what your children and their friends are saying to one another when they're not speaking English? 
  • 5 Work abroad
       <span>If working abroad or traveling for work is one of your career goals, learning how to speak Spanish fluently will hel
    Jack Hollingsworth via Getty Images
    If working abroad or traveling for work is one of your career goals, learning how to speak Spanish fluently will help you get there. In an increasingly global market, being bilingual will help you speak with international clients, negotiate business deals abroad, and collaborate with experts across the globe.      
  • 6 Watch foreign films without reading subtitles
    YouTube
    Once you master the Spanish language, you'll be able to understand the subtleties and get the jokes in real time whenever you watch a film from Latin America or Spain.
  • 7 Improve your cognitive skills
    Not only does learning a second language improve your brain, but it helps your mind stay sharp longer. That's right -- severa
    Kutay Tanir via Getty Images
    Not only does learning a second language improve your brain, but it helps your mind stay sharp longer. That's right -- several studies show that speaking being bilingual improves cognitive skills unrelated to language.
  • 8 Keep your brain young and healthy
    <span style="color: #474747;">Researchers at the University of Ghent in Belgium recently&nbsp;</span><a style="color: #2467a8
    Blend Images - Jose Luis Pelaez Inc via Getty Images
    Researchers at the University of Ghent in Belgium recently published a study that added to the growing evidence that bilingualism can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and it "contributes to cognitive reserve and postpones the symptoms of dementia."
  • 9 Become a more independent person
    Ever find yourself in downtown Laredo, Texas or somewhere in Miami without an English speaker in sight? Learning to speak Spa
    Zoonar RF via Getty Images
    Ever find yourself in downtown Laredo, Texas or somewhere in Miami without an English speaker in sight? Learning to speak Spanish will help take care of that problem. 
  • 10 Understand Spanish song lyrics
    YouTube
    Want to know what Shakira is saying when she sings in Spanish? Interested in knowing what the salsa song you're dancing to means? Learn Spanish and find out.
  • 11 Make new friends
        Latinos are one of the fastest growing populations in the United States. Though English may be the country&rsquo;s most c
    JGI/Tom Grill via Getty Images
    Latinos are one of the fastest growing populations in the United States. Though English may be the country’s most commonly spoken language, many Latinos in the U.S. come from Spanish-speaking households. Learning Spanish may help you get to know your neighbors and make new friends.
  • 12 Improve your English
        Learning the Spanish can help boost your vocabulary by familiarizing you with English words that have Latin roots.
    Daniel Grill via Getty Images
    Learning the Spanish can help boost your vocabulary by familiarizing you with English words that have Latin roots.
  • 13 Up your game
    Nothing says romance like taking the time to learn how to communicate with a potential partner or significant other in their native tongue.  
  • 14 It's relatively easy to learn
    YouTube
    Spanish is spelled phonetically and many of the words are similar to English. And because so many people in the U.S. speak the Spanish fluently, you don't have to go very far to find someone with whom you can practice or some place where you can fully immerse yourself in the language. 
  • 15 You can put it to good use all day, every day
        Spanish is the second most spoken language in the U.S. You&rsquo;re bound to run into someone who speaks only Spanish in
    Giphy
    Spanish is the second most spoken language in the U.S. You’re bound to run into someone who speaks only Spanish in your daily life. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could communicate with them? 
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