Yes, you read that well. The British Council is now recommending Brits to study Spanish. The goal, apparently, is to make their economy more competitive post-Brexit. But if the United Kingdom did not get on that well with its closest neighbors, what measures does it need to take this time around?
According to the British Council, language should work as the main cultural bridge, and Spanish appears as a top priority. Mandarin, French, Arabic and German follow. Instead of expecting others to speak English, Brits should now turn to learning languages to establish the fruitful relationships they will (undoubtedly) need.
Why should Brits learn Spanish?
There are several reasons why Brits should learn Spanish. Let’s start with the first - Spain. You may not know this, but Britain and Spain share a huge trade market. Spain supplies 32% of all vegetables and 20% of all the fruit sold in the UK. A couple of years ago, when weather changes had devastating effects in Southern Spain’s crops, British consumers had shortages of random things like iceberg lettuce.
Several hundred thousand British retirees live here, especially in the Southern communities. Spain is the most popular holiday destination for British citizens, who cannot resist our sun-kissed beaches and the delicious jamón. (Yes, we know, Spain is amazing.) In fact, this might be the reason why British adults are trying to learn Spanish more than any other language.
But Spain, of course, isn’t the only reason why Brits should learn Spanish. There is a whole part of the world which speaks it - Central and South America. Those are countries with whom the UK hasn’t enjoyed a particularly close relationship, and therefore those are emerging markets their companies still need to tap into. At the top of the list are Mexico, Colombia and Chile.
Is the future of English as a global language threatened?
Not in the least. English is spoken around the globe by millions of native and second language speakers. But nothing will ever win over a Spanish speaking country’s heart like speaking their own language. At the end of the day, it’s also about bridging a culture gap.
The British have now seemed to realize, post-Brexit, that they need to get out of their comfort zone and learn foreign languages. Speaking languages will allow Brits to move more easily and seek jobs in other countries. For our part, we’re delighted to welcome you the Spanish speaking global community.