Evidently after one week at Spanish school in Cusco, Peru plus a homestay at La Casa de Doris, us Two Scots (Gemma and Craig) still cannot speak Spanish! Why learn a language for travels? Firstly, it is polite even if it is simply a hello, goodbye or thank you in the native language, locals will appreciate it. Secondly, you are less likely to get ripped off! Finally, you can make friends. Why just hang out with native speakers of your own language when you can get involved in the local culture? Here’s five-way to improve your Spanish without leaving your armchair with thanks to Jess from Sweet and Sour Adventures.
Improve Your Spanish
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They say the best way to learn a language is to live in the country to allow for full language immersion. However having lived in Spain for 10 months, I have to say my Spanish hasn’t improved greatly.
It all depends on you and how willing you are to learn the language. No matter where you are, you can create opportunities to learn Spanish. In this article, I’ll address five ways to improve your Spanish without going to Spain.
Online Language Exchanges
Go to language exchanges. It may seem obvious but one of the best ways to improve your Spanish is to speak to locals. You can easily find intercambios on Facebook or Meet Up.
In the UK, there is an abundance of Spanish people who are equally as keen on learning English, as you are about learning Spanish. Take advantage of it!
Language Exchange Partner
Get yourself a language exchange partner. Alternatively, if you prefer to have an exclusive language exchange partner that you can meet up with regularly, you can head to conversationexchange.com.
Once you sign up, search people in your area that want to learn English and speak Spanish and hey presto, you’ve got a list of potential contacts. I’ve used this in different parts of the world and it works great.
Listen to the radio. When outside of Spain, it’s hard to improve your listening skills since your exposure to hearing the Spanish language is very little.
I would recommend that you listen to Spanish radio programmes as often as you can. Whilst you’re cooking, driving, showering – everything.
In the beginning, you won’t understand anything but trust me, after a while, you will subconsciously pick up some words and start to understand what Spanish people are saying – miraculous!
Learn from the Movies
Rewatch a British/American TV series or film with Spanish dubs. If you’ve ever been brave enough to watch a whole Spanish film without subtitles and resisted not switching it off, I applaud you. For the rest of us, we like to put English subtitles or better yet Spanish subtitles.
However, this method is not effective in improving your listening. Instead, rewatch a British/American TV series or film with Spanish dubs. It’ll alleviate the frustration of not being able to understand anything and you’ll be able to focus on understanding the Spanish pronunciation and vocabulary. This is to help improve your Spanish speech.
Write to Improve Your Spanish
Write as often as you can and publish your writing on Lang8. It’s a great website for improving your Spanish writing as native speakers correct your texts which can be as short or as long as you like. In return, you correct other people’s work in your native language.
A Final Note
Lastly, remember that whilst all of us want to sound as sexy as Penelope Cruz, the reality is that we need to adjust expectations and take the language learning process one step at a time. Make yourself small manageable goals such as listening to the radio twice a week or going to a language exchange once a week. You won’t become fluent overnight but enjoy the process and have fun!
Now that you can speak Español why not check out a road trip in Spain?’