If you’re reading this blog, chances are that you’ve thought about learning a second language (Spanish, most likely) and that you’ve decided to do some research into it. You may want to feel more connected to people that don’t speak your language, or advance in your career, or maybe you just like linguistics and would like to become familiar with another language and culture. Everyone has personal reasons for learning another language. The students at Vamos Spanish Academy come here with a range of reasons:
They just moved to Buenos Aires Argentina, someone in their family speaks Spanish, a significant other speaks Spanish, they need it as a job requirement, or they just want to experience a new culture.
Whatever your reason, learning a new language can be fun and rewarding. Here are some benefits of learning another language that maybe you didn’t think about.
Cognitive Advantages in Learning Spanish
Many studies have shown a direct correlation between bilingualism and high scores on cognitive tests. Thomas Bak, a researcher in Edinburgh states in an interview with Mental Floss magazine that “people perform better than you would predict only on the basis of if they learn another language”. *
By and large, bilingual people have advantages in what’s called “executive control functions”. These are the tasks that include managing one’s self and one’s resources. The benefits of being bilingual and switching in between languages showed higher attention to detail in people of all ages. According to the US National Library of Medicine, bilingual people process information better and are able to learn better in a series of different subjects. They theorize that “The bilingual language-learning advantage may be rooted in the ability to focus on information about the new language while reducing interference from the languages they already know”. Bilingual people also have better conflict management skills. They saw benefits of this in children as young as 7 months old. **
More than that, studies show that being bilingual can delay the onset of dementia. Neurology.org posted a study in 2012 with 648 cases of dementia. The study found that independent of “other confounding factors” dementia onset was 4.5 years later with bilinguals than monolinguals. There was no significant difference in people that spoke more than 2 languages. ***
Along the same lines, another recent study by the Alzheimer’s Society states that the “study provides new evidence that people who are fluent in more than one language have some protection against dementia. Brain scans showed that lifelong bilinguals have stronger connections between certain brain areas compared to those who only speak one language – this appears to allow their brains to cope better with damage before they start to show outward signs of dementia.” ****
Advantages of the Immersion Spanish Schools in Argentina
Vamos School is an immersion program, meaning that you will be learning Spanish in Argentina, an absolute Spanish speaking culture. When you go out with friends after class, you’ll have to speak (at least a little) Spanish to get where you’re going, or to order food. Due to the fact that you’ll be with other foreigners as your classmates, it won’t be overwhelming. But it will be different.
Another advantage to working in an immersion environment is that after class you don’t immediately forget what you learned. During the afternoons, finding your way around in Spanish will reinforce what you learned in class that day, and thus, it’s a more effective way of learning.
Cultural Advantages of Buenos Aires
I’ve found that Buenos Aires is very special because it is one of the few places where there is a mix of European and Latino influence. It’s considered the “Paris” of South America. It keeps the warm welcoming culture of Latin America, but with European architecture and Italian influence on food. The people of Buenos Aires speak like their Italian ancestors, using the hands and Italian intonation. Watching a Porteño speak is comparable to watching an Italian speak. If you’re not paying attention, you could get the two confused.
Also Read about the Tu vs Vos
and the Negative Myths of Argentine Spanish:
— Vamos Spanish School (@Vamospanish) June 26, 2017
Listening to a Porteño talk is not like listening to other Spanish dialects. Porteños (people that live in Buenos Aires) have a special accent that is very nice to hear. The people of Buenos Aires have an accent that replaces the “y” sound with a “sh”. For example, “yo” is pronounced “sh-o”. I find this accent less harsh than other types of Spanish. It sounds almost smooth when they speak.
The Argentinian culture is very welcoming. Friendships and family relationships tend to be closer than in American culture. The advantage of being in a big city like Buenos Aires is that there are many ways to meet and connect with the local people. The language exchange are a great way to meet the local (and foreign) people, get to know the culture, and go out and about to see the city.
Whatever your reason, Buenos Aires is a huge city filled with a variety of activities for everyone.. It’s a place where you can explore history, art, food, language: whatever resonates with YOU. Buenos Aires is a city that has a niche for just about everyone and you’ll find your home in this abundant Porteño world. Once you have your niche, you can start to learn the language and open yourself up to a whole other world of opportunities.