Are there days when you feel like you’re getting nowhere with Spanish?
Does it feel like one long road ahead?
Yeah, we hear ya.
You might be finding it hard to find the time to learn. Alongside everything else you have going on in your life, it’s often a real challenge to set aside a few moments each day.
You may be looking at others who are learning and feeling like you’re miles behind.
Alternatively, you may be a total overachiever and are just striving to be better at Spanish than ever before.
That’s cool too.
6 Useful Tips Guaranteed to Help You Learn Spanish Faster
1. Take Advantage of Opportunities to Speak Spanish
Conversation Classes and Intercambio
Wherever you’re based, it’s likely that there are conversation classes or intercambios (conversation exchange) available that will give you more opportunities to practice your Spanish. Whether it’s for a coffee or glass of vino with someone, you’re bound to build up that vocabulary—and all-important confidence—when it comes to speaking the lingo. MeetUp and Vive are good sites to sign up for events and meetings happening in your area.
One unique option to converse with a group of Spanish speakers is LingQ. This oddball Spanish learning space has a ridiculous amount of cool features all packed into one online bundle. I say “oddball” because it’s just so unique. The stand-out feature for those of us trying to learn Spanish fast is the opportunity to have group conversation lessons and one-on-one lessons. Getting the chance to chat in Spanish all the time will make a big difference in the speed of your learning. Having the ability to easily schedule and have these chat sessions online can make the learning happen even faster.
Go on a Date
If you’re single and looking for love, then why not combine that search with your quest to learn Spanish? Kill two birds with one stone! Yes, dating can already be quite daunting. But if you end up meeting someone interesting (or even the man or woman of your dreams!) it could be your ticket to some fast track (not to mention exciting) learning. Start by acquiring some great Spanish conversation starters and restaurant vocabulary in order to impress on your first date. Swot up on romantic phrases if it’s looking like things are moving onto the next level.
Live with a Spanish Speaker
If you’re able to live with someone who speaks Spanish then—assuming they don’t mind being practiced with—you’ll reap the rewards of speaking Spanish on a daily basis. Before you know it, every day phrases will be rolling off your tongue!
2. Dedicate Time to Learning
Invest Time and Money in Lessons
It’s the classic advice given to those wanting to learn Spanish quicker, and for very good reason. It really does help to prioritize and put money towards Spanish lessons, especially if you’re just starting out.
It may not be easy to imagine yourself back at school all of a sudden, however, with the right teaching and dedication, lessons can definitely be an effective way to learn Spanish quickly. They provide you with a strong foundation to build on.
There are endless Spanish schools and teachers you can find online, but the best ones are often those recommended by others. Ask around to see which teachers and courses would work best for you. Questions you might want to ask are: Are they easy to communicate with? Are they good value for money? Flexible? Do they seem in tune with students needs?
One option to get you started is Speed Spanish from ed2go. This course is for anyone looking to learn Spanish quickly, and it builds on practical, versatile vocabulary to ensure that you’re able to start speaking and using Spanish as soon as possible.
Nail the Basics (e.g. Conjunction of Verbs, Pronouns and Tenses)
The number of verbs and tenses might feel overwhelming at times but start by learning a few basic ones first, such as: hacer, tener, gustar, comer, tomar, estar. In good time you can build on these and be armed with all the verbs you may need. Maybe download a list of verbs and pronouns on audio so they’re knocked into you as you commute to work or take an evening stroll.
Go Through Everything You Have Learned
For those of us who have experienced Spanish classes or teaching, there may sometimes be the inclination that having lessons is enough. To really speed up your learning, it’s worth setting aside a few hours each week to go over everything. Treat yourself to a nice coffee and throw in some fun exercises to test all you have learned.
3. Make Learning Part of Your Daily Routine
Download Audio You Can Listen to On-the-go
Downloading an app or podcast onto your device is definitely a good option for when you’re on the move and want to keep up with all your learning. Be it when you’re out for a run or traveling somewhere in your car, there are many great options to choose from via iTunes and Google Play ( look out for the ones with high ratings or good user reviews).
Watch Movies with Subtitles
Like the idea of learning Spanish without needing to move off your sofa? Well, by switching on Spanish subtitles while watching a movie or TV show you can do just that. On Netflix you can find lots of movies and TV shows that come with Spanish subtitles and, if you’re feeling really adventurous, then you can switch to the dubbed version or even watch an original Spanish movie or series.
Listen to Spanish Music
Playing some Latin music in the background when you’re cooking, cleaning or reading is a great way to advance your listening skills in Spanish. You could even take it a step further and download the lyrics so you can eventually sing along to whatever it is you’re listening to.
4. Try Online Spanish Immersion with FluentU
Authentic content like movies and TV are great.
But there’s one problem: they’re really difficult.
Sometimes it might feel like you’re spending all your time going through dictionary.
If that’s the case, you might be looking for something like FluentU. FluentU takes real-world videos like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks, and turns them into Spanish learning experiences. Learning from native language content becomes a smooth experience due to FluentU’s special video player and interactive learning mode.
Start using FluentU for free on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store for iOS and Android devices.
5. Travel to a Spanish-speaking Country
Stay with a Host Family
Tons of people decide to live with a host family to improve their Spanish. It’s certainly a surefire way to speed up that learning process and also experience the local culture and way of life. There are organized programs such as My Family Abroad or Enforex that offer host family options for many Spanish speaking countries around the world. If you’re studying at a university now, you could choose to study abroad as part of your degree program.
Work in an Environment Where You Can Speak Spanish
There are tons of volunteer and even paid jobs in Spanish speaking countries that will give you the opportunity to immerse yourself more fully in the Spanish language and culture. For instance, if you’re a qualified TEFL teacher then the options are endless in terms of teaching English abroad. Another possibility is to work on a farm or teach yoga whilst living somewhere. That way you’ll have lots of opportunities to meet locals and practice your Spanish constantly. A few sites that are useful for finding work abroad are Work Away, Craigslist and WWOOF – to name but a few.
Do a Course in a Spanish-speaking Country
The option to learn abroad in a Spanish-speaking country is a great way to improve your Spanish and also learn a new skill at the same time. If you’re not quite ready to take a course in Spanish then you could do one in English and still have the opportunity to chat with locals while adding a new string to your bow. For example, you could be wine tasting in the vineyards of La Rioja, Spain, learning to paint in Barcelona or taking photography lessons in Buenos Aires.
If you’re taking the plunge with any of the above then it’s worth checking out our list of what to do and what to avoid when you’re learning a language abroad.
6. Last But Not Least, Practice!
This is really obvious but it shouldn’t be underestimated how important it is to practice—constantly and consistently—when you’re learning Spanish. Throw yourself out there and speak to the bus driver, hairdresser, shopkeeper or anyone who will lend an ear. If you’re not in a Spanish speaking country, then repeat phrases in front of the mirror, to family and friends or even your dog—basically anyone who will listen! You could even try recording yourself and playing it back to your teacher or to yourself so you can check if your pronunciation is on the right track.
If anything, just don’t be afraid of making mistakes when putting your speaking to the test. Although it can be uncomfortable at times, the more you practice the easier it will become.
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