Spanish is one of the major international languages exerts a substantial global influence. As such, it is one of the most studied languages all over the world, with programs ranging from basic language skills to full university baccalaureate, master’s, and doctorate Spanish language degrees. Given this fact, what are the advantages of a Spanish language sabbatical done in Spain over those undertaken in other Spanish speaking countries? To answer this question in context, the following backgrounder will be helpful.
As of 2014, over 470 million people use Spanish as their native language, which makes it next in rank to Mandarin in terms of native speakers worldwide. In addition, about 548 million people around the world use Spanish either as a first or second language, and about 20 million students worldwide are studying the Spanish language. Several international institutions including the United Nations also make use of Spanish as one of official organizational languages.
With such a wide sphere of global influence, it is not surprising that people from around the world hold an interest for the Spanish language one way or another. The desire to learn the language among people of different nationalities is commensurate to its influence in international affairs. As a global language with such an importance, learners would do no better than to learn the language in the country of its origin, namely, Spain.
While it is true that numerous countries use Spanish as their native language, the fact can not be denied that the language developed in Spain. As such, the very culture that supported and enriched its development can be traced back to that country. Since language is the verbal translation of the paradigms of culture, we can say that Spanish in its pure form as a language can be traced back to its speakers in Spain.
In that context, and as a corollary to the intrinsic relationship between language and culture, those who learn the Spanish language in Spain have an opportunity to experience what the people there experience, to think the way they think, and to behave the way they behave. They have an opportunity to have a more solid grasp of the language’s meaning based on the underlying cultural context as found in its country of origin.