A report released last week by the Cervantes Institute detailed the organization’s new focus on supplying Spanish-language instruction to Asian countries, where interest in the language and in Hispanic culture has increased dramatically in recent years. Currently, the 90 universities in the region that offer Spanish courses teach 25,000 students, a marked jump from 2000, when only 1,500 students existed. Japan is preparing to offer Spanish instruction to all of its high school students, and China currently sends students to universities across Spain and Latin America because there aren’t enough Spanish teachers available.
What’s the Big Idea?
Today, Spanish is the most commonly used language in the world after Mandarin Chinese, the most commonly used language on Twitter after English, and the third most popular Internet language after Chinese and English. Eighteen million are learning Spanish as a foreign language, many of them young people hoping to gain a career advantage. Cervantes Institute director Victor Garcia de la Concha says that in a few generations, “10 percent of the world’s population will understand Spanish, and the United States will be the country with the highest volume of Spanish-speakers, after Mexico.”