Spain Is The Most Popular Country in the World to Learn Spanish – And Much More!
If you are a US student thinking of studying abroad in Spain or you want to learn Spanish in Spain (both are very intelligent choices!), you have a treat in store for you.
Spain is the world’s top destination for students who travel abroad to learn Spanish. And not only US students. International students from all over the world come to Spain to learn Spanish, to study abroad, and to complete undergraduate and graduate degrees at Spanish universities. Once in Spain, you will meet students from nearly all European countries, Japan, Korea, Asia and elsewhere.
The Spanish language is, in fact, an important world language among educated people, even in the business world, where English dominates.
Throughout your time studying abroad in Spain – especially if you focus on Spanish language and culture, you will find yourself speaking to your Japanese, Korean, and Chinese counter parts … in Spanish!
At first you might find it strange, but when you take a moment to realize that you are communicating with an Asian student who may not speak any English, and that you do not speak Japanese, Korean, or Chinese…you will realize that you have broken the langauge barrier! It is just one of the perks of achieving Spanish language competency!
Of course, this does not apply only to communication with students from Asian countries – it applies in any situation where Spanish is the common language.
Spain is More – It Is a Country Rich in History, Culture, and Traditions. More So Than You May Realize!
Language in Spain
If you entered Spain from France and travelled across Spain from east to west and from north to south, what language would you expect to hear? Spanish, right!? And certainly you would! However, if you had your radio on during your entire trip, as you travelled through Spain’s many regions, you would also hear Catalan, Basque, Gallego, and Valenciano, along with other unique Castillan dialects, such as the well known Andalucian accent.
While it may be something you need to experience to understand, the linguistic diversity found in Spain is a testament to Spain’s rich and varied history. And when you connect with that concept, doors open that help you to achieve a depth of cultural understanding that can be applied not only to Spain, but to any country in which you might work or visit in the future.
Early Peoples of Spain
Iberians, Phoenicians, Greeks, and Carthaginians, Romans and Moors (among others) have all played a role in Spain’s history and each has left its mark.
The Phoenicians, for example, founded Cadiz, on Spain’s Atlantic coast. Salamanca, one of Spain’s most important study abroad destinations, was conquered by the Romans (who took it from the Carthaginians). It was the Romans who turned Salamanca into an important city. To this day a Roman bridge from the first century is used to cross Salamanca’s Duero river. Salamanca’s Roman bridge is just example of many structures constructed by the Romans in many of Spain’s regions.
When the Western Roman Empire fell, German tribes conquered parts of northern Spain. By the 8th century one of the German tribes (the Visigoths) ruled Spain, which they did until the Moors began to conquer Spain. The Moors, in turn, left their mark in forms such as the Alhambra in Granada, the Mesquita in Cordoba (which also has a Roman bridge still in use), and numerous works of architecture in Seville.
These are just a couple of examples of the influences that have influenced Spain’s history and cultural heritage.
Religion and Tradition
Add Catholicism, with it’s churches, cathedrals, monestaries and traditions, and take into account the festivals that celebrate the reconquest of Spain and the festivals that originated out of economic necesity, and you have a culture rich in traditions.
Among the most interesting and fun to observe are the Easter celebration, “Semana Santa” (especially in Cordoba, Granada, and Seville) and Moros y Cristianos (especially in and around Alicante and Valencia) – just to name a very few.
Simply viewing these processions, parades, and spectacles is an education in itself if you are able to understand the history behind each and see beyond the surface. They are testaments to history of Spain and the inter-connection between cultures and countries.
Not least important, if you are able to grasp even only a portion of Spain’s rich history, influences, and traditions, you will have developed the capacity to experience and understand other countries and cultures with greater insight.