It’s not complicated – two is better than one.
The minority population is growing at a rapid rate in the United States. It is currently at 22% of the total US population, according to the US Census Bureau. So it’s not unusual to meet someone who is bilingual. And if you haven’t, well nice to meet you. I speak Spanish fluently, and I have learned that there are a lot of perks to speaking two languages. Here are just some of the advantages:
1. More job opportunities
More employers are looking for people who can communicate to more clients, especially in major cities. You definitely can get an employer’s attention with that extra skillset on your resume. Many jobs are even being created to specifically target minority audiences. For example, ABC and Univision are creating a new channel for Spanish-speaking Americans called Fusion with a variety of bilingual programming.
2. Double the culture fun
Language is only the beginning. Speaking a second language introduces you to a different world of culture. You can learn about another country’s customs, history, slang, and food. That means more crème brûlée and more ways to call your boss un pendejo.
3. Easier to learn other languages
Knowing two languages, as opposed to only one, can give you a leg up on learning a third language. Bianca Ogura, a bilingual Interior Design student at UF, wants to add Spanish to her list. “Spanish comes easy to me because it’s like Portuguese,” she said. That’s because Spanish and Portuguese are both Romance languages; they derive from Latin. French and Italian are also in the same family, thus many words in these languages sound similar and can make learning easier.
4. Great for traveling
This may seem a bit obvious, but being bilingual can raise your chances of running into someone you can communicate with in a foreign country. Ogura, who went on a mission trip to Brazil, was able to speak to the children there without a problem. When I went to Paris, I found more Parisians who spoke Spanish than English. That means more studying abroad!
5. Talk to your friends in secret!
When your friend speaks the same foreign language, it’s so much fun practicing with them in a public place. When my friend Phaedra and I wait in line at the Reitz Union, we can easily talk about things in private by speaking Spanish. The cute guy next to us has no idea we’re talking about him! Just make sure they don’t speak the language you’re speaking or then you can face some serious embarrassment. A lady once spoke about me in French while at a game, and you bet I mumbled something back in the little French I know.
6. Impress everyone.
There will always be one person who will think that speaking French or Italian or whatever language is really hot. Veronica Salguiero, a UF junior who also speaks Spanish, thinks being bilingual is a great way to show off. “You can impress people that don’t know the language with your skills,” she said. You get brownie points for talking! Who doesn’t want that?
So, take that language class you’ve always wanted to take or look at some simple lessons on Youtube. It’s not easy learning a second language, but it sure is worth it.
*Picture credit to Youtube.com.