Do you want to move abroad to experience new cultures and meet new people? Or maybe you’re looking to widen your job opportunities and get a salary bump by learning a new language?
In any case, you’re probably wondering which language will allow you to reach your objectives.
Two of the most popular languages to learn today are Spanish and German. But which one will be more useful to help you accomplish your goals?
Let’s see in depth which doors Spanish and German can open for you!
Spanish or German: Which One Will Take Your Career to the Next Level?
Nowadays, there are 21 countries where Spanish is spoken as an official language, against 6 where German enjoys the same status. This means that in most workplaces (particularly those that specialize in international communication, sales, and services) Spanish is not just an advantage anymore—it’s a necessity. In fact, it is one of the main assets to get a job in at least four of the US’s top career choices.
On the other hand, Germany has the largest economy in Europe and the fifth-largest in the world, so there are lots of jobs available for foreigners both in qualified positions and in casual jobs as well. It’s no wonder that, according to official statistics, the annual unemployment rate amounts to 5.9% this year, a very small number especially if we compare it with Spain which, being the most prosperous Spanish-speaking country, has a much higher 15,67% unemployment rate.
So, if you’re looking for a language that will allow you to get a well-paid job in one of the most financially solid countries in the world, you might opt to learn German and pursue a career in a German company. On the other hand, if you want to learn a language that will be more relevant for getting a job in the US or that will give you the flexibility to work in lots of different places, from Spain to Latin America, taking a Spanish course should be your top priority.
Is It Better to Travel Knowing Spanish or German?
According to Ethnologue, a website that specializes in language statistics, Spanish is second only to Mandarin Chinese as a worldwide language, with 420 million users if we only count native speakers.
By contrast, German has 90 million speakers globally, which is somewhat disappointing if we bear in mind that the population of Germany is around 82 million.
The statistics might be tentative, but the disparity is plain to see. Spanish romps home by a landslide.
But then, there is another thing to consider. Anyone who has traveled to a Spanish-speaking country knows that Spanish speakers tend to be very supportive of foreigners who try to speak their language, regardless of their level.
German speakers, on the other hand, see language learning as an ability, and they expect people to do it well. They won’t show any positive feelings towards a foreign person just because they have taken the trouble to learn a few basic German phrases. This is to say that while a basic Spanish level could be an advantage, a mediocre German is usually a demerit.
If you’re toying with the idea of pursuing a master’s degree abroad but you’re still indebted with student loans from your bachelor’s, Germany is a top choice. Not only does it boast one of the best free education systems in the world, but it is extended (tuition and all!) to international students. And if this were not enough, many of the most sought-after institutions in Germany offer a few master’s courses taught entirely in English. Still, you should consider that degrees taught in German are usually free, while the ones delivered in English tend to be paid (and they’re usually quite expensive!).
While you can also study bachelor’s programs for free in Germany, most of them require proof of a high level of German proficiency. However, instead of seeing this as a disadvantage, it could become a huge incentive to start learning this fascinating language!
So, what are some of the best free German universities that accept international students?
- Free University of Berlin, which is predominantly focused on arts, humanities, and social sciences.
- Humboldt University Berlin, known for being the workplace of Albert Einstein, is a public research university that offers degree programs in nearly 200 different disciplines.
- Technical University of Berlin, one of Germany’s top institutes for technology and engineering.
If you think Spanish-speaking countries won’t stand a chance against Germany in terms of opportunities for studying, think again!
Latin America is not only known for its varied and vibrant cultures, it is also home to a huge number of renowned universities that are very welcoming to international students. Colombia, for example, boasts one of the highest-ranked universities in both the regional and world rankings: Universidad de Los Andes, which ranks 5th in Latin America and 283rd globally.
Argentina is another great option that offers relatively low living costs and public universities with free tuition for international students all across the national territory. The most prestigious Argentinian university is Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA), 8th in the Latin American rankings and a notable 69th in the QS World University Rankings 2022.
Then, of course, there’s Mexico, whose higher education system follows a similar format to universities in Europe, and which boasts one of the highest-ranked universities in Latin America: the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). Mexico is a great choice for English speakers who are not very fluent in Spanish, as most universities there offer programs taught entirely in English. But don’t get too comfortable: you will need to speak at least some Spanish for most administrative matters and for your daily life.
All in all, it seems that both German and Spanish will open very big doors for those who want to pursue studies abroad. If you want to study in a prestigious institution at no cost, you might opt for a German institution. If you want to explore different cultures but you’re not sure where you want to go yet, you can rest assured that the whole of Latin America is positively full of universities with low cost (and sometimes free) tuition.
So, Which One Is Better for Me?
When we learn a language, we usually do it with one of three things in mind: boosting our professional careers, seeking educational experiences, or being able to communicate with people from exciting cultures.
It might appear that, no matter which of these three is your top priority, knowing Spanish or German will open a lot of different doors for you.
Would you like to study a free bachelor’s or master’s course in a top university so you can get a qualified job in one of the most developed countries in the world? If the answer is yes, you don’t need to think twice. German should be your next language.
On the other hand, if you want to study a language that will allow you to communicate with millions more people from many different countries, a language that will boost your CV at home and take you to some of the most exciting cultures on Earth, then Spanish is the answer.
Or maybe it’s the other way around? When it comes to language learning, you never know. In the end, what language you choose is a very personal decision that depends on things like motivation, personal interests, and professional objectives, but also the “bond” that you create with the language you’re studying.
So, which one will you start with? Spanish or German?
Can’t make up your mind just yet? We might be able to help. At Listen and Learn, we offer tailor-made courses both in Spanish and German, taught by native speakers who also are fully qualified teachers. This means that you will be able to get personalized feedback and classes prepared to address your specific strengths and weaknesses. Take a free trial lesson in both languages and make up your mind! Who knows? You might end up learning two languages at the same time.