Saturday, April 5, 2008

Reasons why NOT stop studying Spanish

People think of a lot of reasons before they start studying a language. How useful is it to be able to speak the language? (in the case of Spanish; VERY!) Is it possible for me to use it in the near future? (in the case of Spanish; probably, yes) Can I get enough materials to learn the language? (Spanish; YES!) Do I really want to learn this language? (that depends on you, hehe) Etc. Etc.

But when they eventually start studying a language and stop after a while, they don't even consider why they should stop. Has the language suddenly become less useful (this is possible, depends on your situation) or has your source of material suddenly dried up (don't give this as a reason regarding Spanish, because there's ALWAYS material for Spanish)? It doesn't matter actually, because most 'reasons' are no actual reasons, most people simply don't have a reason to stop studying Spanish (or any other language). It's simply lazyness. So here are a few reasons why you shouldn't stop studying Spanish.

1. Think about your reason to start studying Spanish
Is it because that cute Spanish girl you met last summer? Do you love the mentality of people in Bolivia? Do you like Mexican food and want to move to Mexico because of this (yes, Mexican food is good, so it's not that weird to move for this)? Whatever your reason is/was, it still counts in most cases. Just think about it every day to motivate yourself. Personally, my first reason to start studying Spanish was because I liked the sound of the language. It still like the sound, but also got some great Spanish friends who only speak Spanish and no other languages. Currently that's even a bigger reason to become better.

2. The time you've invested so far
How many hours have you spent studying Spanish? 10 hours? 100 hours? 200 hours? Again, it doesn't matter. Every 10 minutes well-spent counts. You don't want to be that person that invested a lot of effort in something to forget everything later on, don't you? Why would you start running 10 km to quit after 4 km and return? It's a waste of energy, even if just started studying. Every minute learning (and then I mean learning in a correct way) is spent well, no doubt about it.

3. Look back
This connects with the point above. You look back and see what you've achieved so far. What were your successes? How did you feel when you achieved these things? When I look a year back, I see this bilingual guy, who couldn't roll his R's and could only say hola ¿cómo estás?. Now, I see this guy who has several Spanish(-speaking) friends, can roll his R's, can fake accents and can simply have fun going out with Spanish friends and speaking nothing else than Spanish. I couldn't imagine what I know now, and I'm still not even near where I want to be (at times, I still suck. Actually, most of the time. But that doesn't matter). But I'm happy what I've reached so far, and eager to continue.

4. Think of the joy
Image yourself being in a Spanish-speaking country, hanging out with cool people, going to cool clubs and bars, and meeting cool new people. That's what can happen if you succeed in being fluent in Spanish. You just made it possible for you to get connected with over 400 milion people, on the same level of communication. IF you succeed. Don't be the person dreaming about being in a Spanish-speaking country and doing cool things with natives. Be the person who DOES these things.

5. Money
Although money shouldn't be your first reason to study Spanish, it's perfectly possible to make a nice amount of money every month if you're good at it. Moving to a Spanish-speaking country might get you a well-paid job (for that country, most likely) and living like a god in France (Dutch saying, hehe). Even if you don't move to a Spanish-speaking country, Spanish might get you the job you truly enjoy (teacher? translator?).

6. Integrate in other cultures
Although going to clubs and bars is fun, learning another language also involves learning another culture and customs. When I was studying Russian I was able to integrate in a completely other culture. Studying Spanish involves learning a slightly less extreme way of integrating, but it's still different to what you're used to in most ways. Especially in Latin-America there are countries with some cool, pre-Hispanic, customs. Getting to know these opens a totally different world for you.

7. ...
I can mention a lot of other reasons why NOT top stop studying Spanish, but I think the point is clear and that you should convince yourself. Just don't quit when you're having a hard time getting the hang of the language, just continue.


Jeffrey Hayes said...

You leave little room for comment, but I'll try anyway :)

These are definitely all great reasons why one shouldn't stop studying Spanish. The ones with which I can really identify are 4, 5, and 6.

Becoming fluent in Spanish means that you can speak comfortably with almost 10% of people on the planet! THAT is an accomplishment to be proud of!

Being paid for speaking two languages fluently is another good incentive. If you enjoy speaking your native tongue and Spanish simultaneously throughout any given day, then it is a dream come true for many people. The opportunities are endless for multilingual job's for you to pursue those opportunities.

Learning about other cultures and customs teaches you about yourself, so why not learn another language? Connecting with number 5, employers really value job applicants who have a world view and can communicate cross-culturally.

Overall, I think that learning languages is a task met with many struggles and difficulties, but when you finally become fluent, you look back and feel a real sense of achievement and confidence. Your future even begins to look a lot brighter with knowledge of another language. That is what language-learning can do for you. So I te des por vencido (don't give up)!!!

Rmss said...

That was the reason for me to switch from IT to languages :). I just don't see myself working in an office for 8 - 9 hours a days and seeing nothing else than code.

I want to interact, enjoy communicating with people. Actually, the learning process itself is a big motivation factor for me. I just love learning, don't know why. I love reading a book, writing down the translation of words I don't know and add the sentence to Anki.