Growing up I gave my parents a hard time when they tried teaching me Spanish. They would ask me something in Spanish and I would reply in English. However, my parents never gave up as they saw the future benefit of being bilingual in the United States. After summers of visiting my family and living in Mexico for a few years, I am now fluent in Spanish and took on the challenge of learning French in college. Looking back, I wish my parents spoke more languages because being bilingual today does set you apart and makes you more attractive to employers. With today’s economy, any skill that can give you an advantage over another is worth having.
With the growing Spanish speaking population and the importance to capture this market, employers are more likely to hire a bilingual employee. For example, the University of Phoenix Research Institute asked 419 employers in 2010 what skills would be in most demand in the next decade. Of the total surveyed, 42% said Chinese and 70% said Spanish speaking and comprehension is a skill they deem most important. On the contrary, 80% of the employees surveyed stated that it was very unlikely that they would be fluent enough to be able to manage business in Chinese and 60% said they are most likely to not learn Spanish (City Town Info).
Of course, just speaking Spanish will not get you a job. It helps, if not necessary, to have a college degree and previous work or internship experience, but I personally know that I wouldn’t be able to do this job without it. I also know that I wouldn’t be able to communicate with my family in Mexico, which would make me feel isolated and very sad. Thus, although at the time I did not think it, now I thank my parents from the bottom of my heart for making me speak Spanish at home. I encourage other parents that come to this country to take on this much needed battle with their kids. Make sure they speak, write and read it well because although they might stick their tongue out at you right now, it is an inexpensive investment that can result in high returns, and a thank you, in their future.
By Alejandra Peimbert
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