Hey, you’re no space cadet.
You’ve been lased-focused on learning Spanish like a boss.
Advanced Spanish certainly sounds daunting, though, doesn’t it?
It practically goes hand-in-hand with other dreaded class titles like Advanced Calculus, Advanced Fluid Dynamics and Advanced Nuclear Physics.
But the thing is, “advanced” doesn’t necessarily have to mean difficult. It can be just a natural next step in your journey of learning a new language. Since you’re done with “beginner” and “intermediate” stages, now you go to “advanced.” There’s really nothing to it.
And guess what? The gap between “intermediate” and “advanced” Spanish might just be smaller than you think.
What’s the Difference Between Intermediate and Advanced Spanish?
How do you tell an intermediate from an advanced learner?
Well, this one’s a matter of degrees. There aren’t any hard and fast rules to determine where the exact cut-off point is. We can’t say, for example, that an intermediate learner understands and uses 500 vocabulary words while an advanced one knows 800. It’s not that cut and dry.
In the same vein, we can’t precisely measure a learner’s language level by the number of weeks or months they’ve spent studying. Spanish learners are all inherently different. There are some who log in serious hours exactly because they badly need the extra study time to hammer the basics into their brains. Then there are others who absorb languages like dry sponges, and they’ll have the basics mastered in the blink of an eye.
The main way to tell the difference between intermediate and advanced is through nuance. Again, it’s a qualitative distinction. An intermediate learner will be well-versed in the Spanish rules of grammar, verb conjugations and usage (e.g. they can differentiate between por/para and ser/estar). An advanced learner can get creative and will know when to break those rules.
For a really advanced fellow? Well, he can purposely break some rules for effect, confident in the fact that this doesn’t reflect poorly on him, just like any native speaker would. (This stands in contrast with intermediate learners who obsessively make sure that their T’s are crossed and their I’s are dotted.)
Here are some more noticeable differences between intermediate and advanced learners:
- An intermediate learner will know the difference between calor (heat) and caliente (hot) or derecho (straight) and derecha (right). A quite advanced one will know these tricks plus some handier things like idioms.
- An advanced learner will be capable of constructing compound and complex sentences with relative ease and fluidity. The intermediate fellow is still at the cusp of learning them.
- An intermediate learner knows the proper structure and usage of sentences, phrases and words. The advanced one will be familiar with both proper and authentic structure and usage—meaning that they’ll know how natives use these things casually and (occasionally) improperly in their day-to-day speech.
- An intermediate learner can grasp a Spanish book, movie or telenovela, but they’ll spend more time mentally translating from Spanish to their native tongue (and vice versa). An advanced one can think and mentally process things in Spanish the whole time while casually munching on popcorn in front of the TV.
Why Take an Advanced Spanish Class?
Simple. If you don’t continue on with advanced Spanish classes, you’ll lose the gains you made in the beginner and intermediate classes. Unless you practice and proceed to higher stages of study, your Spanish will suffer.
I’m guessing you have a friend who used to go to language classes as a kid, but because he stopped taking the classes after some grade level or didn’t use it conversationally, he lost it. At most, he may have retained a tiny core of some of the most common and memorable vocabulary words and phrases. His Spanish is like an old friend he doesn’t quite recognize anymore.
And you don’t want that to happen to you, do you? Waste all the gains you’ve made in your beginner and intermediate classes? Never. You’ve worked so hard to reach this level that it would be a darn shame not to carry on.
Still need another reason to take an advanced class?
How about this: The greatest pay-offs from learning Spanish can be had once you step into the advanced stage. It may be all well and good to know your beginner level greetings and your intermediate verb conjugations, but in the advanced level you resolve any gaps in your knowledge and tie it all up.
The advanced level is “Go Time!”
It’s where things get really interesting. This is when Spanish fluency ceases to be a far-off goal and you realize that you can actually converse with natives fairly well. You finally gain confidence and start to feel that you can actually engage in meaningful conversations with native speakers, not just Hi’s and Goodbye’s.
This is when language is most useful and most liberating. At the beginner stage, you’re just really orienting yourself to the idea that they have different names for everyday objects you take for granted. At the intermediate stage, you’re just really trying to avoid getting tripped up by the grammar rules. But in the advanced stage, that’s when you’re really getting into the full richness of Spanish.
You have a deeper and a more insightful appreciation of the Spanish books, movies and programs. It’s a totally new way of looking at the world. At the advanced level, you’ll come to understand why Charlemagne said that “to have another language is to possess a second soul.”
So is it worth it to continue to the advanced level?
Most definitely! I don’t see any reason for you to rob yourself of the profound perks of Spanish fluency.
11 Advanced Classes to Kick Your Spanish into the Stratosphere
Advanced Spanish Classes Online
The Spanish Blog advanced classes are taught by teacher Laura Eslava, who you may have met on YouTube for your beginner and intermediate classes. As you know, these are no fuss sessions with just teacher Laura against a white background.
Spanish Blog advanced classes include topics like “Spanish Expressions with double meanings,” “Pretérito Indefinido & Pretérito Perfecto” and “Colloquial Expressions of Manner” that give students more of the nuances of the Spanish. The lessons are in manageable bits (around 2-5 minutes long), so you can replay them as often as you want.
You can find all 75 of her advanced videos here. They come with text for you to follow along.
Light Speed Spanish is run by Gordon (English) and Cynthia (Spanish) who, together, boast 20 years of combined teaching experience.
The lessons are taught through casual interactions between the two teachers, which are all in Spanish. Here you have the advantage of getting linguistic viewpoints from both sides of the aisle, from a native speaker and from a learner. You get a conversational flow to the lessons and your ears become better attuned to the distinctive pauses and rhythms of Spanish.
The advanced lessons assume that you’ve already nailed down most key grammar points by now. With this program you’ll hear the grammar lessons in action, simply using a specific topic as a vehicle for conversation. The lessons are divided into different topics like food, medicine, films and politics. The feeling of watching these lessons is similar to sitting with friends over coffee, listening to them talk about an interesting topic in Spanish.
FluentU is a treasure trove of videos that cater to the whole range of learners from beginners to highly advanced learners. It promotes the smart use of multimedia to effectively teach a lesson.
Everything starts with a video. It can be a Spanish newscast, a music video or a documentary clip. Then come the subtitles. Every word uttered in every video is converted into text so you can follow along with ease. If it’s a music video that you’re watching today, you’ve got the lyrics presented on screen so you can even sing along. If it’s a documentary clip, then you’ve got the narration converted to text.
The subtitles are available in Spanish and English, and you can opt to toggle them off if you’d like more of a challenge. The full textual transcript of the audio is also available for download.
Finally, and here’s the kicker, you’ve got every word in the subtitled turned into a mini-lesson! When you roll over a specific word, out pops everything you need to know about it: the in-context definition, English translation, part of speech, usage, pronunciation, etc. So you’ve got a dictionary and thesaurus molded into one nifty learning tool.
All this coolness in one engaging video? Totally possible. And you haven’t even heard about the active learning features yet. Multimedia flashcards, vocabulary lists and more draw featured vocabulary, phrases and grammar directly from the videos you’ve watched. This will help you to really study and reinforce all of your video language lessons.
Hear Spanish as it’s normally spoken—really, really fast.
For advanced learners on the go, make this podcast your everyday companion. It’ll ensure that you’re still learning even when you’re in transit or waiting in line for that delicious cup of coffee. With topics like “Fútbol en los Estados Unidos,” “Supertramp y su música en Latinoamérica” and “Vivir el momento,”, you’re sure to have an interesting multitasking activity.
These podcasts are perfect for learning the finer points of Spanish, while exploring relevant topics like music, culture, history and food. Listen to them whenever you get a chance. It won’t take too long just to try out a podcast or two and see if you love them—the average podcast length is only 15 minutes.
In these audio-based lessons you’ll find another Englishman and Spanish tandem. Marina is a Madrileña and Ben is an Englishman who came to Spain in 1998. Together, they run Notes in Spanish, which has received nods from the media and has been featured in Spain’s El País newspaper and on Radio Nacional de España.
These audio sessions involve conversations and interviews ranging from happenings in a Spanish office to the Miss Spain competition. Lasting an average of 12 minutes, the audio is perfect if you find the other programs “too fast.” It’s a tad slower and tremendously helpful for advanced learners who wanna nail diction and pronunciation. The audio comes with worksheets that back up everything you learn, so you’ll never be able to forget the key details.
The one’s backed by your tax dollars. The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC) has an online program geared towards Spanish learners. The program, called GLOSS or Global Language Online Support System, has 7 learning levels and is divided into Listening and Reading modes.
Each lesson is divided into 4-6 activities. For example, you may be initially presented with an audio conversation. Then you’ll be asked to type in a box (using your own words) what the main topic of the conversation was, what each speaker has said about the topic and some implications regarding what each speaker has said. In the next activity, based on what you heard in the conversation, you may be asked to fill in the blanks with answers that complete the thought in each statement.
The site is brimming with challenging activities that can flex the muscle of any language learner.
Advanced Spanish Classes In-country
In addition to the online route, you always have the option of packing your bags and going to a Spanish-speaking nation. You’ll immerse yourself not only in the language but also in the culture. Make Spanish inescapable, make learning inevitable.
Here are some programs that might lead you to fluency:
Head to South America for that unforgettable Spanish immersion.
Partner with A.I.E. Spanish Language Program which has locations in 7 countries (16 cities). There are classes for all levels all year round. Come in on any Monday and start immediately. So whether you’re a 20-year-old newbie or a 65-year-old advanced learner, there’s a slice of the pie waiting for you in South America.
Classes are small, so you can be assured the close attention of instructors. And when classes are over, guess what happens? You get to engage in awesome cultural activities that allow you to experience that distinctive Spanish flavor beyond your workbooks.
When you’re thinking Mexico, you should be thinking IMAC Spanish Language Program. It’s the most accredited Spanish language school in the country – getting the nod from the venerable Instituto Cervantes of Spain no less. It’s also the only Spanish language school accredited by the Mexican government.
The IMAC institute is located in Guadalajara, Mexico, right in the heart of the historic district and only a few blocks away from cultural treasures like the Metropolitan Cathedral, The Degollado Theater and City Hall, whose murals are the brainchildren of the great Jose Clemente Orozco.
In addition to standard intensive Spanish language courses from expert instructors, IMAC also offers the “Work & Study” program for those who may want to stay in the country and work there. Another is the “Study & Volunteer” program where students are doing one-on-one Spanish lessons in the morning and doing volunteer work in the afternoon.
With programs like these, there’s little wonder IMAC is a top choice for Spanish learners around the world.
Would you like to learn Spanish by also engaging in Flamenco, Tango, Salsa, Caribbean Music, Scuba Diving, Kite Flying and other elements of the Spanish culture? Well, Don Quixote (dQ) Spanish programs could be for you.
With 35 schools in 11 Spanish-speaking countries, dQ offers classes in all language levels. You can start when you want to and choose from over 25 courses that include: Intensive Spanish, Part-time Spanish, Spanish for Teachers, Spanish for Professionals, Spanish During Christmas, Spanish Business. You can also earn credits because they partner with 100 universities worldwide.
With dQ, you not only hear Spanish as it’s supposed to be spoken, you’ll also hear what 25 years of teaching experience sounds like.
Whether you’re a medical professional trying to learn Spanish so you can better communicate with patients or a legal officer who needs to understand the nuances of contract Spanish so you don’t sign away billions of your company’s resources, Amerispan has got you covered. Even when you just wanna have fun, Amerispan has something in store for you in one of over a dozen countries.
Their programs range from a few hours of class to a whole university degree abroad.
Considering themselves “The Bridge Between Cultures,” Amerispan understands that the classroom experience is but one component of your study. Its many programs immerse you smack in the heart of Spanish culture. You’ll not only know how to deal with those pesky verb conjugations, but you’ll also master those scintillating Spanish dance steps.
Imagine you’re backpacking in Northern Spain, finding yourself in the mountains of Asturias. You chanced upon this idyllic bed-and-breakfast in the middle of the mountains. A couple, named Jimena and Alfredo, welcome you to their home, serving as gracious hosts.
Only later did you discover that they are both Spanish language teachers (both with Masters Degrees) who once owned a Spanish language school in Ireland and came back to their home country in 2007 to live in this charming part of Spain.
Not for one second did you suspect that you were in for one of the most refreshing and educational Spanish class this side of learning. Chinese monks go up to the mountains to learn Kung Fu. Many trek to El Cuelebre to learn the secrets of Spanish.
So, now that we’re wrapping things up here, are you psyched for that advanced Spanish class?
Whether you choose the online route or the in-country immersion method, know that you’re in for the adventure of a lifetime. Learning Spanish opens up a whole new world and a whole new way of seeing things.
So take that first step towards Spanish fluency. You’re actually almost there. You’ve made it this far. Why stop now?
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Spanish with real-world videos.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Spanish with real-world videos.