We are often approached by students and enthusiasts with varying approaches towards learning languages. In fact, the purpose for which they started learning the language, decides in many ways the way they approach it.
From our experience, students who want to learn Spanish online can be divided into a few major categories.
First- The professionals. These are the ones that are learning Spanish online because it would help them with their career or their business. An often-heard statement in these circumstances is “I learn Spanish online because I work quite a bit with Spanish speaking clients and I am hoping that learning their language online would help my business flow better.”
The second big segment is the socializing crowd. Thanks to the internet, social media, and the globalization of communication- this segment has friends all over the world. They love to catch up with these global friends, visit them during holidays, and explore the country together. They chat endlessly with them or even catch up on an online game- as a team or as frenemies. “I learn Spanish online because I want to know my friends better and have meaningful conversations with them when I visit them”
Third- Fans of Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Pablo Neruda! These two glorious names of Spanish literature are a major reason for students to take up Spanish. Very often we hear students who are in love with the fiction of Marquez – especially 100 Years of Solitude- and they dream of reading the novel in the original language. “I learn Spanish online because I would love to read an Allende or a Neruda in Spanish”
The fourth big segment is comprised of Fans of Casa de Papel/Narcos! So many students have taken an interest in Hispanic culture and now want to learn Spanish online thanks to these behemoths of Netflix. In fact, Spanish shows have been a great motivator for learning Spanish in many countries for years. For example, Israel has a lot of young people who learn and speak Spanish, but with an Argentinian accent! Why? Because they have picked up Spanish from the Argentinian soaps that are extremely popular there. (By the way, I am yet to meet someone who has wanted to learn Spanish online, seduced by the films of Almodóvar, although, I have heard of this being a great motivator in other countries)
Segment no. 5-La Liga! Just two football teams have seduced generations of young people into the Hispanic culture- Real Madrid and Barcelona. An often-heard reason is “I learn Spanish online so that one day I could go to Madrid and see a Clásico and while there, spend two or three weeks exploring the country!”
The sixth ( and a pretty unanticipated) segment of people who want to learn Spanish online- Group Che Guevara! Cuba, Havana, and everything that goes with it enthralls these revolutionaries who are attracted to Hispanic culture and its spirit of confrontation. Frida Kahlo is another such motivator for the revolutionary Spanish student.
The final segment of Spanish learners is those who have joined the course because they just want to explore something new. This category is perhaps the most interesting of the lot- may be because everything is a new discovery to them. You can see their eyes open wide when they learn of the diversity of Hispanic culture. Or their interest piqued when you talk to them of the food and all its variety across the Central and South American continents. Their first experience of a poem or a piece of literature in Spanish is a moment of deep pride. “I started to learn Spanish online to see what it is all about and now I am in love with it.” Words that you long to hear as a teacher and make you feel that it is always worth it.