Improve your Spanish

5 Ways to Improve Your Spanish Without Going to Spain

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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.

Andean Mountains from Thomas Grill hostels in Cusco Peru

Improve Your Spanish

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

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.

Listening skills

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?’

Jess from Sweet and Sour Adventures is a British born Chinese girl with itchy feet. Year abroad student now turned content creator who can’t sit still and loves to live outside her comfort zone.
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What methods help you improve your Spanish?

Gemma and Craig are full-time workers with a life-long travel habit. Flirting with 30 and let loose on the world! Gemma writes, Craig looks good in the photos.

Comments 7

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    2. Duo Lingo is a great app for beginners but for more advanced language learners I recommend engaging with the country of the target language as much as possible via movies, TV, radio and of course, natives!

  1. Good tips Jess!

    I lucked out; we learned Spanish in high school so I was set once I traveled to Lima, Cusco, and throughout Costa Rica. Still can’t keep up with the machine gun speak though LOL… I let my wife handle that stuff because she is more fluent than I. Fun share and smart tips.


    1. Thanks! Glad you enjoyed the article!

      Haha I feel you! When I first moved to Spain for my year abroad I had NO IDEA what people were saying, almost thought I went to the wrong country cos they didn’t seem to be speaking Spanish to me. Now after a year, my listening has improved so much but in a group of Spanish people at times they speak so fast I do still get lost!

  2. Hello, so I would like to thank you for these usefull tips that allows us as beginners to understand more how to improve spanish speaking skills.

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