Janet Jackson wasn’t wrong when she sang “The Best Things in Life Are Free.”
And although she might have been singing about romance with the lovely Luther Vandros, the same rule applies to free Spanish lessons.
The internet is literally awash with options if you’re looking to take advantage of free Spanish lessons.
Very specifically, a quick 0.36 second search will spew out 126,000,000 results. That’s way too many to wade through. And even if you could dedicate light years to the task, there’s the added complexity of trying to pick the right style of course—because we all have different needs when it comes to learning.
Some of you might even prefer face time with a native speaker.
No matter your learning preferences, the good news is that you don’t need to sift through millions of options.
We’ve done the research for you so you can spend your time focusing on what you turned to the internet for in the first place: free Spanish lessons. Below are six fantastic free Spanish lessons, covering different ways of learning Spanish.
Why Free Spanish Lessons Are Perfect for Beginners
At any level of learning, free Spanish lessons are not to be sniffed at, but they’re all the more enticing for newbies.
You may find out that you’re a fiend for verb drills (though, really, is anyone into conjugation that much?), or you could discover that online tools with real-life examples are best at helping you practice.
There are myriad language learning options available, but before you fork out your hard-earned cash, using free Spanish lessons can help you determine which way you want to go with your learning and the kind of learning tools you want to invest in.
Better still, you might find out that those free Spanish lessons are all you need as a beginner. At the very least, who doesn’t want to gain a basic foundation and knowledge of Spanish for zero cost?
If you’re up for living the vida libre (free life), here are six of the best ways to get free Spanish lessons.
Jump for Joy: 6 Fantastic Free Spanish Lessons for Newbies
A quick note about this list…
While Duolingo is a hoot (sorry, the reference to the adorable owl was too much to pass over), and the BBC course is highly dependable, as you’d expect, you’ve probably already discovered these resources on your own.
The following six free Spanish lessons will hopefully give you some fresh options to explore.
Livemocha’s biggest draw is its online community. Imagine it as the virtual equivalent of an Ashram—the kind that Elizabeth Gilbert stayed at in Eat, Pray, Love—except in this case you’re required to speak in order to move forward with your free Spanish lessons.
The community system is pretty straightforward—you’re given a bunch of free credits to get you started with some basic reading, writing and speaking practice. However, if you want to continue on the free train, you gain extra credits by giving online feedback to other language learners who are studying your native tongue.
It’s impressive how quickly you get drawn into the sense of community, and getting feedback on your own work from a native speaker is pretty invaluable.
Added bonus: You get a serious dose of the warm fuzzies helping others improve their language at the same time that you learn.
FluentU is one of the most visual and authentic options for free Spanish lessons. FluentU takes real-world videos and turns them into Spanish learning experiences. Movie trailers, music videos, news and inspiring talks have all been sourced to make your learning as interesting and interactive as possible.
FluentU is designed for you to become familiar with everyday Spanish, by combining all the benefits of total immersion and native-level conversations with easy-to-read subtitles. There’s an entire category of videos for complete beginners, so you’re all set!
And FluentU isn’t just videos—it’s a complete language learning program. So once you pull yourself away from the videos, your learning is reinforced with a series of interactive exercises in “learn mode,” which teaches you based on what you already know.
Some of the personalization comes with a paid subscription, but anyone can open a free account and have access to all of the free videos—which will keep a beginner busy for quite some time. Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU App from the iTunes store. Check out what the app’s capable of here:
Overall, the experience is fun—not something you’d traditionally associate with learning, but it’s something FluentU has nailed successfully.
Ever considered taking your laptop and sitting in the cupboard under the stairs because you don’t want your housemates/family to hear you saying random Spanish phrases out loud as you practice?
Meetup is a great website for finding real-life language exchanges near you. The benefit of meetups is that you don’t need to be the lone stranger uttering Spanish sentences into a silent space. You can practice your Spanish with native speakers.
If you’re very new, don’t worry. There is usually a wide range of learning levels and the meetups are often held in casual settings like bars and coffee shops, so a shot of caffeine (or rum) might help.
Just set the parameters for how far you’re prepared to travel and the language you’re looking to learn, and check out the results. If there aren’t any exchanges near you, why not start one?
There’s something very addictive about Busuu berries!
This comprehensive course takes you through a program of interactive units that covers the usual: reading, writing and speaking skills. For each unit you complete, you’re rewarded with Busuu berries. Ok, so the berries have no real currency, but neither did those gold stars at school—and that didn’t stop you wanting them, did it?
Busuu has an online community you can connect with, and perhaps most appealing of all is the Busuu app, which means you can get a dose of free Spanish lessons on the move.
Although the units at Busuu are thankfully short, they get you stuck straight into sentence building, which is what most new learners feel they need. If you really want to enhance your skills, there is a premium option that will supercharge your grammar and some other skills, but if you’re after freebies, Busuu free course is more than adequate to take you from beginner to intermediate and beyond.
Ah, a learning option for serious adults who don’t want to replicate learning as if they were a child—they want to learn as a grown up.
Nulu is a website that gives you daily Spanish news stories, translated into your native language. Using news as the basis for learning, Nulu helps you understand Spanish in the context of real life. And you can even focus on the topics that are of interest to you—if you don’t care about sports, you don’t have to listen to the sports stories.
There are no gimmicks with Nulu, just pure Spanish content for free (there is a subscribe option for more stories but there is enough free stuff to keep you going). You can save words that are new and take tests to see how well you’ve absorbed what you’ve read. You can even grade words based on how difficult they are for you to remember. You’re trusted to grade yourself accurately without a teacher checking in, because these are lessons for grown ups, right?
Nulu isn’t great if you you’re looking to learn in a structured way because you’re thrown straight in there. But, Nulu is highly immersive and if you don’t feel the need to have your hand held along the way, it’s an excellent option.
Study Spanish may not have the whizziest online interface, but it is certainly a comprehensive study system that will take you step by step through the deepest details of learning Spanish. At Study Spanish, you don’t just learn the alphabet—you get to know the diphthongs (and yes, the website even talks you through what a diphthong is).
The course has extensive lessons in vocabulary, pronunciation, verbs and grammar, and also features cultural notes, idioms, word of the day and a help section for travelers. You can take the course in an orderly way or just pick through the sections on a need-to-learn basis (no point learning about pets if you need to buy clothes).
There’s a premium (paid-for) option if you want to go a lot deeper, but there really is more than enough detailed information for beginners. So, if, after getting a good dose of free Spanish learning, you realize that verb conjugation drills might be your thing, Study Spanish might be the course for you.
And there you have it, seven awesome ways that you can have free Spanish lessons! What are you waiting for?
Jo Fitzsimons is a full-time traveller, digital nomad and language learner. When she’s not up to her neck in false cognates, she spends her time writing about her travels on a freelance basis and also on her blog, IndianaJo.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Spanish with real-world videos.