So here we are, 2017. New challenges ahead, people to meet, stories to tell, memories to be made and many other things. Whilst I don’t know what this year will entail as I am in the midst of job applications, what I do know is that this year will be the year that I set aside some time to learn another language. I have previously studied French, German and Latin during my secondary education, however, I have always had this strong desire and fasciation with learning Spanish.
There are a lot of tools out there these days to help facilitate learning new things. I am going to be using a mixture of books, podcasts and apps to help learn Spanish. I feel that this is a good starting point as it will help me with reading, writing and listening. To practice my speaking skills, it will be nice to see if I can find and attend some language exchange meet-up groups here in London. I have some Spanish friends dotted around too and even though they speak English fluently, I want to understand them in their native language. It’ll also be fun to test what I have learnt with them.
As I mentioned before, wanting to learn Spanish isn’t something new. I have always wanted to learn the language even from a very young age. With over 400 million native speakers and the second most spoken language in the world (behind Chinese and ahead of English), now seems like a very good time to learn the language. I’m also very interested in the culture and want to learn about the commonalities and differences between Spain and Latin America. As it was when I was learning other languages, having the knowledge of an additional language provides you with even greater opportunities:
- You are able to connect with, help and understand more people (which is especially important in our hyperconnected world)
- You can learn more about the culture (traditions, differences, gastronomy, books, music, films and other art forms)
- It can help you understand how the structure of your own language is put together
- It can provide you with health benefits such as, a reduced risk of developing dementia
- If you travel, it can make your experience much more enjoyable just by speaking the local language – you won’t be limited to staying in touristy areas
- It can change your mindset and help you develop greater self-confidence.
How can I test whether I have achieved this ambitious goal?
Notice how I have not provided a specific time frame or mentioned that I want to become fluent by the end of the year. If I could that would be amazing, however, being realistic I don’t expect that to happen. I will start with the basics and progress from there. Ultimately the level of fluency that I want to reach is being able to understand and have a conversation with someone. It will take some time to get there, but I am dedicated to putting in the effort. Who knows, this time next year, this post may be written in Spanish?!