The Spanish language is trendy in China. The main reason? The growing trade links between the Asian giant and the countries of Latin America. The Spanish language link between Spain and Latin America is attracting more and more people who have Chinese as their mother tongue.
Thus, Spanish is gaining ground by leaps and bounds as a second language in China to other languages such as French or German. Only the omnipresent English surpasses the language of Cervantes as the linguistic goal that a large part of the Chinese population wants to reach.
According to the latest report of the Instituto Cervantes, “Español, una lengua viva. 2018” [Spanish, a living language. 2018], 31,154 people in China are studying Spanish. Of these, 8,874 learn Spanish as part of their primary, secondary or professional training, 22,280 study Spanish at university and 3,307 enrolled in one of the Instituto Cervantes Centres in China during the 2016-2017 academic year.
These positive data, along with the close ties being established between China and the government of Spain, display a great future ahead for Spanish in China. One of the most important steps, without a doubt, is the inclusion of Spanish into the courses taught in primary and secondary schools in China..
In addition, with the advice of the Real Academia Española (RAE), the highest institution of the Spanish language, the Shanghai University of International Studies (SISU) will be responsible for promoting research and study of Spanish in China from higher education courses.
Aside from this Hispanic-Chinese collaboration, the creation of the Centro de Investigación Universidad de Estudios Internacionales de Shanghái-Real Academia Española [Research centre of the RAE and the SISU] will facilitate cooperation between the two institutions.
Good training for teachers of Spanish in China
The decision of the Chinese Ministry of Education to incorporate Spanish teaching into the education system marks a before and after of Spanish in China. The main and most obvious change is that it will be necessary to train many teachers of Spanish to meet the needs of the Chinese education system.
One of the keys of Spanish in China is the training of teachers of Spanish (either Chinese, Spanish or Latin American nationals) who are able to transmit their knowledge to the Chinese nationals learning Spanish.
Teachers of Spanish in China have it easier since November 2018. They have access to the digital materials of the Enclave RAE online platform, where they can find all kinds of resources to teach Spanish: dictionaries, interactive linguistic services with analysis and corrections or automated proofreading, word cards with their use and historical context added, grammar rules, queries and libraries of digitised oral and written sources.
There is no doubt that the Spanish language has all the ingredients to experience a true explosion in China in the upcoming years and that, in a short period of time, there can be record numbers of Spanish speakers in China.
Linguistic immersion in Spain, the best way to learn the language
Besides attending to Spanish classes in China, more and more Chinese nationals are choosing Madrid to learn Spanish. Madrid is a city in which, not only can they study Spanish courses, but also live a complete linguistic and cultural immersion in Spanish.
Madrid is a welcoming city where you can practice Spanish almost anywhere: bars, shops, discos, public transport, cultural spaces such as museums and art galleries, and so on. This is something highly appreciated by Spanish students coming from China.