There are 328 518 810 Spanish speakers worldwide, putting it second only to Chinese for total number of native speakers. In the US, it is used by some 35 million people or around 10% of the US population. This makes the US home to the fourth largest Spanish-speaking population in the world.
There are many reasons to study Spanish. Some of them, presented by The American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese are:
The course of studies leading to a major in Spanish requires no fewer than 30 hours beyond the general studies requirement (FLS 201-202). These hours must include FLS 303, 304, 306, 307, 309-310 and 311-312, and at least two courses at the 400 level.
Substitutions may be approved by the department. FLS 251-252 may be counted toward a major or minor. Students planning to certify as Spanish teachers at the elementary or secondary level should also take FLS 491, Methods of Teaching Foreign Languages, and FLS 492, Applied Linguistics. To minor in Spanish, a student must complete no fewer than 18 hours beyond the general studies requirement. Within these hours must be included FLS 303, 304, 306, 307, 311 and any one of the following: 309, 310 or 312.