Decided to learn Spanish? Excellent. Regardless of whether you’re taking Spanish classes or living in a Spanish speaking country, it’s helpful to build study habits that will last long beyond the time you spend in a classroom.
We suggest tackling these two projects to give yourself the chance to see Spanish language and grammar on a regular basis and build a relationship wih Spanish in context.
Not sure yet what we mean? That’s OK. Have a look at these two projects designed to help you learn Spanish and get started on the journey ahead. ¡Buena Suerte!
Learn Spanish Project #1: Experiment with study methods
For any language learner, it’s important to get a sense for how you want to learn Spanish. Remember, even if you take classes, one day they will end and you’ll need to guide yourself independently.
We recommend experimenting with a few different types of methods -online and offline- and choosing one or two that work best for you. And then: stick to it. Commit to using a study method for a while and get in the habit in order to really learn.
Use an app to learn Spanish
Phone apps are great because they’re always available and right in your pocket- not to mention they’re usually gamified, which makes them engaging and fun to use.
We love: Memrise
Our favorite language learning app is called Memrise, a flashcard-like tool designed to help you learn vocabulary and integrate each new word into your long term memory. It’s often compared to Duolingo, but this app is special because it will show you a word, test your ability to translate it in both languages, and then show you the word again after some time, using a method called spaced repetition. You can also download courses so they’re available offline.
Listen to a podcast
Podcasts are another great way to learn a language on the go – just plug in and start listening wherever you are. They’re also nice because they are consistent, so every time you start listening it’s like hanging out with an old friend.
We recommend: LanguageTransfer.org
Language Transfer is a unique podcast created by a linguist to show you the Spanish “that you already know”. He’ll make comparisons between the structures of English and Spanish so that you can learn new phrases and structures fast and easily. There are 30+ podcasts in the series, and each one is 5 to 7 minutes long so you can listen to them in short bursts without going numb.
Here’s a full list of Spanish podcasts from Colombia Immersion.
Read a book to learn Spanish
Like having a solid resource to go back to time and time again? Whether you prefer a traditional book or e-book, they’re a great option to use as reference, entertainment or as beach reading– you really can’t go wrong.
If there was ever a perfect resource for Spanish language learners coming to Colombia, Colombian Spanish is it. You can consider it your giant bible of Colombian slang, cultural information, and practical learning tips. It addresses a oft-forgotten aspect of language learning: that terms and phrases are inexorably tied up with the culture, and to speak like a local you don’t just need to know a local phrase, but understand where it comes from.
Other books are El Principito for beginners, Harry Potter for advanced learners and Colombia – historia minima for alle the ones interested in Colombian history and culture.
Follow a blog to learn Spanish
Sometimes it’s nice to get interesting articles sent to your inbox, and following a language-learning blog will get you inspired on a regular basis. It’s not necessarily the place to go to learn the language itself, but having the help of a friendly blogger is way more fun and supportive than going it at your own.
This blog has email series, e-books, and helpful articles
We recommend: Fluent in 3 months
The blog Fluentin3months.com is a wealth of language learning information, written by Benny Lewis- a guy who has self-taught himself six languages. So, all his tips are based on his experience and tend to be very practical for anyone taking a stab at self teaching, not to mention that the blog links to an infinite number of other blogs and resources. Tip: start with his Speak in a Week course, then dig through his blog for interesting articles.
Watch videos, TV, or movies
Watching videos is, in general, an entertaining activity. The trick is finding content that forces you to learn and pay attention, because I’m telling you: kicking back and watching a telenovela with English subtitles won’t get you very far. There are plenty of youtube channels to browse through and movies to check out. Have a look at our guide for how to learn a language through movies (or TV)… and get started!
Our pick: The Extra series
This is a funny little series that looks like a simplified version of Friends, but in Spanish. It’s also with exaggerated movements and simple language so that it’s beginner-friendly. The trick? It’s in Spanish with Spanish subtitles, a detail that will help you push yourself to understanding what’s going on in the target language (English subtitles are too tempting).
Top secret resource treasure trove: Spanish Learning Resources Google Doc
Want more resources to add to your language-learning toolbox? Gabriel Guillen is a Spanish professor at Middlebury who has curated an extensive Google Doc to document a bunch of the most interesting and useful websites including free online textbooks, language learning online communities, and self-evaluation tools. Check out his collection here.
Learn Spanish Project #2: Create an immersion environment
Open air and natural light makes Cafe Ondas the perfect place for a study session.
Whether you’re in a Spanish-speaking country or in your own apartment, you’ll want as much exposure to the language you’re learning as humanly possible. This project is to create an immersion environment for yourself by setting all your devices and applications to your target language.
Start with setting your cell phone, facebook, and email to the Spanish language. You might be surprised by how much of the information you’ll understand based on context alone- and we promise you’ll pick up the rest quickly.
Facebook, Instagram, accountsCell phoneEmail account (ex: Gmail)
LEARN SPANISH WITH INSTAGRAM
Do you use Instagram? If so, follow a instagram accounts that are designed to teach you vocabulary, like these:
Spanish.wordoftheday Howtospanish Daily.spanish.word Espanolconmaria Spanisheducation
You can also follow Instagram accounts that are just in Spanish. This is extra fun because you can search based on your interests and learn about the culture at the same time, like colombiarte if you’re interested in street art. Try searching for hashtags of your interests, but in Spanish. So, if you like to travel, search for #viajar.
LEARN SPANISH WITH FACEBOOK
The same applies to Facebook as Instagram: there are pages you can follow in Spanish as well as pages designed specifically for people learning Spanish. Here are a few that you can check out that will help you learn Spanish:
ColombianSpanishSpanishForNerdsEl muro de los idiomasEl ColombianoCNN en español
There are also a bunch of facebook groups for language learners and language exchanges. Search for the following groups and add yourself:
Spanish Language LearnersPractice your English/Spanish in Medellín#WeDoLanguages
By completing these projects to learn Spanish, you’ll give yourself daily, constant exposure to the language and the chance to interact with it organically. Of course, that’s just the first step. Next, you’ll want to sit down to make a plan to study the language with intention and routine.
Tell us- which resources did you choose? Anything we missed? Comment below and let us know!
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