Image via WikipediaThat's the advice from N.Y. Times columnist Nicholas Kristof:
Spanish may not be as prestigious as Mandarin, but it’s an everyday presence in the United States — and will become even more so. Hispanics made up 16 percent of America’s population in 2009, but that is forecast to surge to 29 percent by 2050, according to estimates by the Pew Research Center.
As the United States increasingly integrates economically with Latin America, Spanish will become more crucial in our lives. More Americans will take vacations in Latin America, do business in Spanish, and eventually move south to retire in countries where the cost of living is far cheaper.
We’re already seeing growing numbers of Americans retire in Costa Rica, drawn by weather and lifestyle as well as low costs and good health care. We’ll also see more and more little bits of Florida that just happen to be located in Mexico, Panama or Dominican Republic.
Another reason to bet on Spanish is that Latin America is, finally, getting its act together. Of all regions of the world, it was arguably Latin America that rode the recent economic crisis most comfortably. That means that Spanish study does more than facilitate piña coladas on the beach at Cozumel. It’ll be a language of business opportunity in the coming decades. We need to turn our competitive minds not only east, but also south.
This article dovetails with my recent post concerning our Spanish sister blog (see link below).