A look back at what the Spanish language world was twenty-five years ago is in strong contrast to what it is now. Who would have said only a few decades ago that a community of 250 million speakers with a low economic development would jump into number two as a world langauge and as a thriving culture which has managed to captivate the rest of the world with its arts and entertainment. Now, at over 500 million, Spanish is not just a matter of quantity. In these two or three decades many things have happened. Spain, accounting for over 40 million, has fast developed into the world's 9th industrial power and a key member of the European Union. Mexico, Chile and Argentina have become much more important than they ever dreamed in the entangled economy of the Americas. The Spanish language minority in the United States has reached unforeseen proportions and keeps growing in a development which will certainly reshape the USA into a formally bilingual country sooner than expected. In other words, the Spanish language world had never been so important in the international context since the old days of the Spanish empire back in the 1500s.
Spanish language is not just an interesting extra for our education and our children's. It is indeed an increasingly important part of the ordinary citizen's CV. Spanish language schools in Spain used to receive a large amount of students in their late teens or early twenties, to whom learning Spanish was just a secondary subject and a lot of fun. Nowadays, the amount of these students have multiplied by twenty while thousands of new courses have been launched for minors and, more importantly, also for executives. It has always been normal to see top level executives taking a two week leave to do a super intensive English course in the UK, the heart of the English language. Well, it is now easy to see the same happening around Spain: top bosses from multinational corporations travelling thousands of miles to take an exhaustive course in order to learn Spanish, not for fun, but because it is crucial to their business.