Why Study Spanish?
There are many reasons.
Spanish is the language of the Hispanic civilization, one of the greatest cultural groups in the world. Originating in northern Spain after the fall of the Roman Empire, the Spanish or Castilian language rapidly spread through the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages. Spanish imperial expansion in the 16th and 17th centuries caused the Spanish language to spread even further, to Northern and Western parts of Africa, the Caribbean, Central and South America, vast areas of North America, and the Philippines.
Today, Spanish is the first language of 400 million people, and the second language of many in Europe, the United States, Brazil and North Africa. According to the CIA and other observers, Spanish is now the second world language in terms of native speakers (5.05 % of the world population), ahead of English (4.84 %). Due to demographic and political factors, Spanish is now a de facto second language in the United States, Brazil, and virtually all the smaller states in the Caribbean and Central/South America.
Together with its influence in international politics, trade and commerce, the growing prestige of Spanish in the cultural terrain makes it a highly desired language.
It is the language of reputed Latin American writers such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Isabel Allende, Jorge Luis Borges and Carlos Fuentes, of Oscar-winning Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar; of unique painters Frida Kahlo and Pablo Picasso, the muralists of Mexico, the Nueva Troba Cubana; it is the language of Liberation Theology and Spanish Mysticism; the language of bullfighting and Real Madrid; of Carlos Gardel and Astor Piazolla, of tango and flamenco.
Nowadays, it has become a common practice for many Spanish students to take advantage of one of the various exchange agreements and spend one semester (or longer!) studying the language in Spain, Mexico or Argentina. Upon their return to Queensland, some choose to complete an Honours degree in Spanish and specialise in a particular country or cultural area.