There were a lot of things that I learned from my French classes Brisbane. One of the surprising and most interesting thing amongst them was the importance and the need to learn a second language. No matter what your mother tongue is, it has become a necessity to learn another language if you want to survive in today’s rapidly globalizing world. If you speak English there are countless options available for you to learn. For example, French, Italian, Chinese, Dutch, Spanish are popular foreign languages to learn.
Spanish is the third most spoken language in the world after English and Mandarin. It is the language of more than 21 countries. Over 400 million people speak Spanish. That means that learning Spanish could help you get along with 400 million people! The Spanish culture is one of the largest spreading cultures that not only provides an opportunity for rapid growth of market share and culture but is also opening up new gates to educational institutes and businesses.
Gone are the days when learning a second language especially Spanish, meant that a person will end up landing a job in the embassy or any tourism company. In the world we live in today where globalization is so rapid, learning a language like Spanish can help you obtain great opportunities. More and more industries are exporting abroad therefore businesses like IT firms, pharmaceuticals, banks, marketing firms and so on are all looking for multilingual people to hire for connecting and expanding their brand abroad to extend its global reach.
When talking about the culture, the world has adopted many attributes of Spanish culture unintentionally and are living with it without acknowledging. When we talk about meeting and greeting people, a very commonly seen action is the classic handshake. The handshake is very popular in Spanish culture and is expected no matter who you are meeting. Similarly, when women kiss each other on each cheek to greet each other, this too is an expression that started off as the Spanish cultural norm. As regards personal space, a few years ago people around the world used to be very conscious of how close they should stand around each other whether in a formal or an informal gathering. But as the Spanish culture has been taking over, people adapt their style in informal gatherings. Women are kissed on the hand or the cheek whereas men hug each other.
Another very positive influence the west has adopted from Spanish society is the tradition of giving gifts. When a person is invited to a dinner in someone’s home, it is considered a ritual to take a gift for the host. These gifts are usually chocolates, a bottle of wine or some desserts. If there are children in the house it is better to take small gifts for them preferably sweets.
A very interesting take society has taken from the rich Spanish culture is its dining etiquette and manners. To be honest these rules may seem a little hard to remember at first but as soon as one becomes familiar with these they result in a polite citizen of the country. For instance, a person after entering the venue should wait until he is invited and shown to his particular designated seating area by the host. Another rule is to not start eating the food without the host on the table. You should use your utensils; fork, knife, and spoons, for eating almost everything, even fruits. The guest is supposed to give a formal toast to appreciate their host for the evening. You must never leave the table before the main guest does or in case of a family gathering, before the older guests.
Along with all these cultural impacts that Spanish culture has on the world, it has also taught us some taboos that help us survive social life without any fight or hard feelings and tension. The Spanish culture has spread an unsaid rule that once you are in a gathering do not at any cost talk about anyone’s religion. We have adopted a strong sense of pride regarding religion from the Spanish.
Spanish business culture too has influenced the world in a very formal manner. Be it in terms of how to dress for a business meeting i.e. one should be dressed in a contemporary yet a conservative outfit. Always keep your business cards with you. The whole world has now accepted the business rule that when addressing someone formally a person should always be called out by his second or last name.
Amelie is the CEO of French Lessons Australia. She has always been passionate about languages. Amelie has took part in multiple language exchanges in Spain, America or Ireland, and also decided to make it part of her academic career as she completed a Bachelor of Applied Linguistics at the University of Paris and a Languages program at the University of Cambridge.