Now and then, we all reach that point: enrolled in a Spanish learning process only to feel overwhelmed by the amount of grammar rules, vocabulary lists and conjugations in all possible tenses. By the time class is over, it can be hard to motivate yourself. Thus, this post aims to help you to ease your student life. The following list is split into four different categories: blogs and online webpages, podcasts and audio material, newspapers and applications. All 12 resources have different advantages and will improve your progress in Spanish besides class.
Part I: blogs and online webpages
Peppyburro is like the Bible of the Spanish blogs. Being one of the oldest and most popular blogs, it has collected a wide range of different topics and contents. The website offers videos, a verb conjugator and free Flashcards to download. The actual blog is structured into vocabulary, grammar, resources, street Spanish, general tips and culture. Thus, it includes a little bit for everyone. The content is handy to improve your Colombian slang, learn about the paisa culture or just figure out the difference between estar and ser.
Δ Our favourite blog post: 16 ways to die in Spanish
Ø Its biggest shortcoming: Not everything is free of charge.
Almost everyone starts learning the basics of Spanish with Duolingo. Duolingo introduces the language in an easy and playful way. The best thing is, it’s available for free on your smartphone, and therefore it’s a portable and time-saving way to learn the most important words and sentences. Including audio and speaking practice, Duolingo offers you a comprehensive way to dip your toes into a new language. Some users complain about the slow speed and that there’s not much context provided, but o be fair, as a free source it is a good website for beginners.
Δ Our Favourite aspect: The gameplay feeling
Ø Its biggest shortcoming: Missing context to learn deeper contents
Spanish obsessed is the typical blog you will find yourself browsing through in search for helpful resources. The content is clear: tips and techniques, culture and travel and the Cumbamberia Spanish blog (claro, que si en espanol). Spanishobsessed offers a wide range of information but focuses on the beginner levels. The information is more practical than at peppyburro and contains the grammatical framework of the Spanish language.
More advanced students might use the webpage to repeat rules or to refresh old information.
Δ Our favourite Blogpost: Why you should join an Intercambio
Ø Its biggest shortcoming: To have the full access they will ask you for 45 pounds
Every learner’s heart will beat faster on Speakinglatino. While they not only offer many different resources like videos, presentations and grammar tables (with free access to a respectable number) you can also download flashcards or simply read their informative blogposts. The motive of the page is to serve Spanish professors the best way to design their teaching classes – but as student you also benefit from the comprehensive explanations and informative charts. For full access the page might be a little bit costoso – but the free version is sufficient to repeat some rules or dip into advanced content.
Δ Our favourite aspect: How to introduce poems in Spanish
Ø Its biggest shortcoming: Full access is not free of charge, focus on teachers
Part II: podcasts and audio
This podcast introduces every beginner into the world of listening and audio practice. The content differs from grammar rules over cultural and daily news. The podcast is the perfect entry for beginners: with a slow pace, friendly use of vocabulary and easy topics Coffee Break makes Spanish listening comprehension into a child’s play.
Δ Our favourite podcast: Episode 33
Ø Its biggest shortcoming: Only for beginners
Whether literature, music, movies, videogames or politics (and even erotics) – the Club of the 21 serves every taste. The podcasts are for an intermediate up to an advanced level. The debate includes famous guests or experts for the different fields. Thanks to the the talkshow style of the podcast a big portion of fun is secured – as long as you understand Spanish bromas. But no worries, the good thing about podcasts is the repeat button.
Δ Our favourite podcast: El episodio de Simpsons
Ø Its biggest shortcoming: has not been updated since 2017
The advantage of listening to news in Spanish is not only to practice audio skills, but also to be up to date with world affairs and Colombian daily news when you learn Spanish in South America. It is always valuable to inform yourself about political, societal and economic daily news. It helps to understand the country you are currently living in better and what you learn will be an icebreaker to have interesting conversations with local people. NewsinslowSpanish concentrates on a few topics but is really easy to understand and has two different speed levels.
Part III: newspapers
Daily news is an enjoyable way to learn the language and get some handy topics to talk to native speakers. If you prefer worldwide news from an objective source El Pais is the choice. It’s a newspaper from Spain that is also concentrating on the countries in South and Central America. El Colombiano is the newspaper for Medellin that will give you the chance to keep up the pace with the things that happen around Antioquia and in your Medellin neighbourhood. And both are totally for free and available everywhere.
El malpensate keeps what it promises: it’s everything but conservative, modest or boring. The malpensate is the perfect cultural newspaper and online blog resource for the people that think beyond borders: for the philosophers, the literature-addicted, the artists and the musicians between us. It represents the creative scene of Colombia and is a must-read. Although most of the context is a bit more difficult and requires an advanced level of Spanish, it’s one of the most interesting and open-minded resources to always stay up-to-date.
Part IV: applications
With Tandem, meeting locals is easier than ever before. Just create an account, type in which language you speak, which you want to learn and start to communicate! You have the possibility to chat, video chat or meet your new contacts in person for tasty coffee. It’s a good source to enjoy your free afternoon and to make local friends to immerse yourself with Spanish.
Your vocabulary list seems endless and all the different verb conjugations just don’t want to stay in your head? Try the Flashcards App and it will be easier than ever to repeat all the important basics of the Spanish language. With Flashcards you can create your own lists or download others people’s lists. The application is handy, easy, portable and therefore the perfect online learning resource for in between. It organizes your lists, saves your progress and reminds you where your mistakes lie. The only thing you have to do is to use it!
Hangouts in Couchsurfing shows people who want to do something in your radius and the feature to create events can be used to invite a big group of people to watch football together, visit sightseeing attractions or experience Medellin’s lively nightlife. Hangouts is like a blind-meeting and definitely a fun way to experience the city. Therefore, it will connect you with a variety of people and events, and is handy for the ones who already have a home to stay.
We from Colombia Immersion have set our emphasis on the most important aspect of the language learning process: to combine Spanish classes with an immersing community and the right portion of fun.
Join our Spanish school in the lively city of Medellin and become part of a real Colombian and unique community.
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