Achieve Spanish Immersion at Home with 15 Powerful Methods
It’s absolutely possible to reach a near-fluent level in any language without ever setting foot in a country where this language is spoken (although doing so does help tremendously).
I recently read an article about language learning from Benny the Irish polyglot. He wrote something in that article that hit me like a ton of bricks. He basically said that if an Irish dude can learn Egyptian Arabic while being in Brazil, what stops you from learning the language you want to learn from anywhere in the world?
So don’t listen to people who claim that they can’t speak Spanish because they haven’t been abroad.
This doesn’t prevent you from getting really good at speaking this language! You can totally get Spanish immersion at home. And here’s how you can go about it.
- What Is Spanish Immersion?
- Achieve Spanish Immersion at Home with 15 Powerful Methods
- 1. Write in Spanish Every Day
- 2. Watch Authentic Spanish Videos
- 3. Change the Language on Your Electronic Devices
- 4. Use Social Media Exclusively in Spanish
- 5. Try Spanish Shadowing
- 6. Set a Time to Think in Spanish
- 7. Watch Spanish Movies and Series
- 8. Label Your House and Workplace
- 9. Listen to Spanish Radio, Podcasts and Audiobooks
- Audiobooks in Spanish
- 10. Play Board Games and Video Games in Spanish
- 11. Use Your Hobby as a Language Tool
- 12. Take Online Spanish Courses
- 13. Find a Language Exchange Partner
- 14. Hire a Language Tutor
- 15. Read Your Favorite Book in Spanish
- Bonus: Immersion Programs at Home and Abroad
What Is Spanish Immersion?
Broadly speaking, language immersion is a method to learn a second language in which students get completely surrounded by the language of instruction.
In the case of Spanish immersion, (almost) all the input learners get is in Spanish, whatever form it may take, so their native language gets demoted from their primary language while the learning process is taking place.
But why is immersion thought to be such a great method?
For starters, every one of us learned our native language through immersion.
Ever since we’re born, adults speak to us in their native language, and little by little our tiny brains absorb the information in a natural way, until one day we start “talking.”
We still have many years of learning ahead of us, but we’ve already learned the most important language foundation of all: the foundation of our native language.
The Spanish immersion method works similarly.
Learners of Spanish get access to Spanish input in a natural way.
At first, a great part of the learning is passive. You listen to and read Spanish.
With time, your learning journey becomes more active. You start speaking and, eventually, writing in Spanish. Even though this is just the beginning, you’ve already acquired a solid Spanish foundation only natural methods like language immersion can offer.
There are lots of techniques you can use in order to get immersed in Spanish, but all of them belong to one of two big groups: immersion at home and immersion abroad.
Immersion abroad, although more expensive, tends to get great results faster because you’re in an environment where only your target language (Spanish) is spoken.
All major language skills (listening, reading, speaking and writing) plus vocabulary and grammar get fed to you in Spanish most of the time, so you tend to be more focused and willing to learn.
It’s like a life or death situation. You either learn the language or you won’t survive in that country.
On the other hand, home immersion is cheaper, more comfortable (you’re at home, after all) and much more common.
This kind of immersion requires the learner to want to learn. You can easily “break character” and start talking in your native language, so the results won’t be as good or as fast as if you were abroad.
However, home immersion isn’t only possible but also very feasible if you commit yourself to be serious about your Spanish learning journey and implement a series of techniques that’ll help you keep the immersion bubble whole and maximize your results.
This is what the rest of this post is about.
Achieve Spanish Immersion at Home with 15 Powerful Methods
1. Write in Spanish Every Day
Writing is indeed a highly engaging exercise for the mind, regardless of the language you write in.
Writing is essentially putting thoughts on paper, so imagine if you were to practice writing in Spanish for just five to 10 minutes every day. Do you think your Spanish-speaking abilities would improve? You better believe it!
So what exactly do you write about?
Well, some people have the habit of journaling about what’s happening in their lives. If you’re already used to doing this, keep on going, but do it in Spanish from now on.
What if you can’t write in Spanish? Do it anyway!
Start using Word Reference, Google Translate or some other dictionary apps on your smartphone to help you out.
Make sure not to overuse these resources, though, because the end goal is to communicate in Spanish without relying on dictionaries and translators.
Writing in a journal is a tremendous personal development exercise that I’d encourage anybody to take on, but if you’re still on the fence about it or not sure what “journaling” entails, there’s a simpler way to look at it.
During this writing time, jot down either an interesting experience that happened to you that day, something you care about or something you’d like to remember.
Honestly, it doesn’t matter that much what you’re writing about, just as long as you’re doing it sincerely and putting some effort into it. This means you shouldn’t just copy things from Google Translate—that’s not how you’ll learn Spanish.
2. Watch Authentic Spanish Videos
When you immerse yourself in a language by moving to a country that only speaks it, you literally surround yourself with the sounds and sights of the language. When studying from home, you can simulate this experience by watching Spanish-language videos.
These can’t be videos made for learners—these often have a mix of English and Spanish instruction and are slowed down for learners to follow, both of which are useful for learning but not conducive to creating an immersive environment. You want to hear the language—and only the language—used naturally and at its actual speed.
Authentic Spanish speech can be difficult for learners to follow, especially if they’re beginners. But don’t be discouraged! Repeat sections as often as you need, listen to the same videos a few times, note down and look up unfamiliar words and you’ll find yourself understanding more and more each time.
You can also use a program like FluentU, which is designed to create an immersive environment for learners while also providing much-needed support.
For instance, as you watch a video on FluentU—whether it’s a movie clip, a news segment, a funny commercial or something else entirely—you can turn off the English subtitles and follow along with Spanish subtitles only. If you get lost at any point, you can replay individual sentences as often as you need by clicking an arrow. You can also check the meaning of any word by clicking on it in the subtitles.
Clicking on a word will pause the video and show you a detailed overview of its contextual meaning. This means there’s no guessing at which of a word’s multiple definitions are being used in the sentence you found it in, which is useful for words with many meanings and even with slang and colloquial usage of common words.
You can also see more example sentences of the word, its grammar information, an audio pronunciation and clips from other FluentU videos where the word appears. You can even save the word as a flashcard and study it later through personalized quizzes. These quizzes include opportunities to read, hear, type and even speak each word until it’s been secured in your long-term memory.
FluentU is available to use in a browser, or you can get the iOS or Android apps for on-the-go learning.
3. Change the Language on Your Electronic Devices
Sometimes, something as simple as changing the language on your smartphone settings can have a positive impact on your immersion experience.
Start by changing your phone settings to Spanish.
This way, every time you reach for it, you’ll be reading Spanish, and soon you’ll have learned plenty of new words without even noticing it.
Do the same with any other electronic device you use: your tablet, e-book reader… even your smart TV!
Next, try to set your computer regional settings to Spain or any Latin American country.
If you’re brave enough, you can even change your Windows or Mac system language to Spanish to feel what having a Spanish laptop is like.
Finally, change the language settings on your internet browser so that the whole user experience is in Spanish.
This is a nice warm-up for our next tip.
4. Use Social Media Exclusively in Spanish
Social media has become super popular in the last decade, and it’s rare to find a person who doesn’t have at least one account on any of the available platforms.
The first step to “socialize” in Spanish is obviously changing your profile’s language settings into Spanish.
This should change the language of the whole interface and the notifications you get (like people tagging you or when you receive a “like”).
The next step is to use each session efficiently to get as much Spanish content as possible while you’re using your social media.
Depending on the platform you use, there are different things you can do to get the best Spanish immersion environment.
The following list is by no means exhaustive, but it should give you an idea of how to make the most out of your social media time:
- Facebook: If you have a Facebook profile, you can search for pages and groups in Spanish on topics that interest you.
Don’t join groups for learning Spanish because users normally interact in English in them. Instead, go for groups created by and for native Spanish speakers, where all interactions are in Spanish, like this super popular group for sharing recipes, or this one for sharing phrases about life.
Once inside, do your best to be social, comment and take part in conversations.
- Twitter: Twitter is a great place to get to know what’s going on in the world, but it’s also an awesome platform to get yourself immersed in Spanish.
Start by following only native Spanish speakers who tweet in Spanish. This is very important because you don’t want your feed flooded with tweets in any language other than Spanish.
There are literally millions of people you can follow who normally tweet in this language, from sportsmen and models to writers and politicians. You can find some ideas on who to follow in this article from Brandwatch.
- Instagram: Even though Instagram is mainly a place to get lost among billions of beautiful pictures, it’s possible to use it to learn Spanish, as well!
Just like Twitter, you can use Instagram to follow native Spanish people or organizations who normally publish in Spanish, like the Spanish version of People magazine’s account. Usually, Instagram pictures include a description or caption, which you can use to practice your reading comprehension skills.
Besides, it’s very common for Instagrammers to also publish videos. By watching these short clips in Spanish, you’ll also be practicing your listening skills.
- Reddit: Reddit labels itself as “the front page of the internet,” and indeed, its front page will allow you to see at a glance what’s popular on the platform and in the world.
However, the best way to use Reddit to get immersed in Spanish is to join subreddits in Spanish. There are subreddits for practically every topic under the sun (I remember being part of one where people just posted pics of bread stapled to trees).
From politics and cute cats to holidays and TV programs, Spanish Reddit is huge in size, so take advantage of it! Check out this list of subreddits in Spanish to get you started.
- Pinterest: Are you into mugs? Dogs, maybe? Memes, anyone? Or perhaps old furniture? Whatever you like, no matter how obscure and niche, can be found on Pinterest, and that includes Spanish, of course!
Pinterest is a platform where people collect and share pins, which are basically things they like. There are tons of pins for everything Spanish, from grammar rules and vocabulary lists to cute quotes and famous Spanish actors.
Follow your favorite Spanish-speaking users or search for Spanish words to find collectible pins you can add to your own board!
- YouTube: Is YouTube a social media platform? It can be! I mean, it’s a video platform, and it can be very social if you have a look at the comments under the videos.
You can use YouTube to get a superb immersion vibe at home by watching videos created by and for native speakers.
Besides, if you read the comments under those videos, you’ll realize the majority of them are written in Spanish, too. You’ll be able to see native speakers of Spanish interacting and talking about practically everything, and if you want to go one step further, you can even participate in the conversation!
As you’ve also seen above, FluentU has a Spanish YouTube channel full of authentic content. Subscribe to it so you don’t miss out on the fun!
- Blogs and forums: OK, I get it. I might be going too far by including blogs and forums in a social media list of platforms, but honestly, some Spanish blogs and forums are pure gold.
As a language learner myself, I love using them when I want to have a real immersive feel online. I choose blogs written by native speakers of the language I’m learning and forums on topics I’m interested in.
By cherry-picking content written exclusively in Spanish, you’ll be forcing yourself to be surrounded by it, and if you decide to take part in the conversation, you’ll have more fun and learn much more.
By the way, if there’s a blog that’s synonymous with efficient language learning and engaging content, it’s the Spanish FluentU blog. Have a look at all the free goodies we have!
5. Try Spanish Shadowing
Shadowing is a very popular and effective language learning technique that consists of listening to native audio and repeating or parroting it trying to imitate the original as faithfully as possible.
Shadowing isn’t so much about understanding what you’re saying as it is about trying to sound as close to the native speaker as you’re able to. This has to do with the fact that you’re trying to reproduce the way in which babies and little children learn their mother language: through repetition.
The two most common ways to shadow are repeating by just listening (also known as blind shadowing) and repeating while reading a transcript of what’s being said.
The creator of the method recommends starting to shadow only with the audio. This way, you’ll be completely focused on listening and repeating.
It’s not a problem if you don’t understand what you’re shadowing. Your goal here is to sound as close to the native audio as possible. You’ll grasp Spanish naturally as you go, much as a baby would.
The second way of shadowing allows you to read as you listen and repeat the native audio. How you work with the text is up to you (you can just use it as a visual aid, translate it, print it, learn it by heart, etc.).
However, the goal remains the same: You need to repeat the audio as close to the original as possible.
The shadowing technique will be very helpful when you’re trying to practice your conversation skills.
Since all the input you’ll be getting is in Spanish, this technique will complement your immersion adventure beautifully.
When it comes to the content you can use to practice shadowing, the only requirement is that you use native Spanish audio, so practically any Spanish media can be transformed into a shadowing session.
I recommend you start with short, easy fragments of audio or video and build your way up as you get better at it.
Cartoons and other types of material created for children are an easy way to get started.
An example is the following video, in which Pocoyó goes ice skating:
Watch the video and listen to the audio on YouTube first.
Try to shadow the narrator by repeating everything he says several times. Don’t worry about the meaning of the words you don’t know for now.
When you’re done with your shadowing session, head to FluentU and watch the video again.
However, this time, use the contextual subtitles and the interactive flashcards to learn all the vocabulary and grammar contained in the video.
After this, you’ll not only be able to repeat what the narrator says with a perfect Spanish accent but also understand what he’s talking about.
Repeat this process with other FluentU videos at least once a week and your Spanish will skyrocket in no time.
6. Set a Time to Think in Spanish
As mentioned earlier, writing is like thinking on paper. So now it’s time to actually think in Spanish.
How in the world can you do such a thing? Well, you do it step by step, little by little.
Thinking in Spanish is pretty hard when you aren’t used to it, which is why you need to ease yourself in.
Start by thinking in Spanish for 30 seconds to one minute every day.
When you feel more comfortable doing this exercise, do it for longer periods of time—up to five minutes a day. This is already a lot, and you’ll find yourself thinking spontaneously in Spanish sooner than you think.
So what do you think about during this time?
A simple technique is to think about an open question (not a yes/no question) and try to answer it in Spanish.
For example, you may ask yourself, “What will I be doing tomorrow afternoon?”
And you might answer:
“Seguramente estaré tomando una cerveza con mis compañeros de trabajo. Después tendré que volver a casa para seguir trabajando en este proyecto que me tiene ocupado desde las últimas semanas…” (I’ll most likely be having beer with my colleagues. After that, I’ll have to return home to keep on working on this project I’ve been busy with for the last few weeks…).
If this seems too difficult for you, there’s a question you can always ask that’ll help you think in Spanish in a very simple way: “What am I doing right now?”
As your Spanish skills improve, you can alter this question to be more complex: “What did I do yesterday?” “What will I do tomorrow?” “What do I wish I could do in the future?”
7. Watch Spanish Movies and Series
Using Spanish native visual media—i.e. movies and series created in Spanish by and for Spanish speakers—is one of the best ways to feel completely immersed in the language.
Learning Spanish with movies and series opens a window not only to the language but also to the culture of the variety of Spanish you’re watching.
The greatest part of this type of media is that there’s so much content available that everyone can find something they can enjoy. So whether you like horror movies, comedy or action blockbusters, you’ll find what you want without a problem.
There are different stages or levels of immersion you can put into practice when learning Spanish with native visual media:
Stage 1: Watch in Spanish with subtitles in your native language
If you’re just starting your immersion journey or your level of Spanish isn’t intermediate or advanced, you can start by “cheating” the system.
In other words, watch the movie or series in its native Spanish but keep the subtitles in your native language.
This isn’t full immersion, but it’ll be a great introduction to the real deal and it’ll allow you to still learn Spanish with movies and get partially immersed.
Stage 2: Watch in Spanish with Spanish subtitles
The next step is to immerse completely into the media you’re using.
You can choose to watch the same movies/series or go for different ones altogether, but this time turn on the Spanish subtitles.
This way, you’ll be listening to and reading the same content, and your brain will be getting input from two different channels simultaneously.
When you’re in this stage, you’re already actually immersing in Spanish, but there’s still one more step you can take to feel the full Spanish experience.
Stage 3: Watch in Spanish without subtitles
When you reach stage 3, you’ll become an immersion pro.
You’ll watch movies and series without any subtitles at all, so you’ll feel what a native Spanish speaker feels.
Bear in mind this full immersion experience is recommended for upper-intermediate and advanced learners of Spanish, because they’re the ones who can make the most out of it.
However, if you’re a beginner who wants to jump into the Spanish immersion pool from day one, just do it.
If you do this, I recommend starting with easier media like movies for children and Spanish cartoons. They tend to have a simpler vocabulary, so they’ll be more accessible for you at the beginning.
8. Label Your House and Workplace
Labeling the house and the workplace is one of those super easy things to do that surprisingly gets great results.
Take some label stickers or post-its and write down the names of appliances, furniture, decorative objects… Everything you see around your house or office throughout the day can be labeled! Then, stick the labels on the corresponding item.
If you want to really feel immersed, just write the name of the objects in Spanish without a translation.
For example, you can stick a “pared” post-it to the wall you face when you work from home, or an “escritorio” sticker to your desk.
You can even go one step further and create a longer list of objects for a specific room.
For instance, you can stick a list of kitchen-related words to your fridge, so that every time you’re close to it, you get to read words such as nevera/frigorífico (fridge), fregadero/lavaplatos (sink), lavavajillas (dishwasher), taza (mug), tenedor (fork), etc.
You can also use your stickers and post-its to put yourself to the test.
Ask someone to mix all the labels and stick them to the wrong objects. Then try to put each of them back to their corresponding place.
After a few weeks, start un-labeling your house and workplace, one sticker a day.
Start with the words you know you won’t forget, and leave the challenging ones until you’ve mastered them.
9. Listen to Spanish Radio, Podcasts and Audiobooks
Hearing a foreign language is a big part of learning it.
Today with technology, you have a tremendous amount of Spanish content available at your fingertips, which is absolutely perfect for creating a Spanish immersion experience from the comfort of your home.
According to your taste, you might prefer to listen to the radio (which is excellent for understanding and picking up accents from different countries), podcasts about subjects you’re interested in or Spanish audio versions of books you’ve already read in English (or haven’t).
If you tend to be more of a casual radio person, then head over to Surf Music to get a list of dozens of radio stations from Spain that you can listen to on the internet. (I personally like Cadena Cope from Madrid.)
For Latin American radio stations, head over to TuneIn South America, where you can sort through radio stations by country, genre and type of music.
If you want to work on your Spanish listening skills, try out the CNN radio en español or check out Amor 92.1 for some nice Spanish music.
Also, make sure to download the free Simple Radio app on your smartphone. Thanks to this app, you can listen to any radio station (provided you have an internet connection, of course) from anywhere in the world!
You can sort through radio stations according to names, cities, countries and genres. For example, type in noticias (news) Mexico to find a good list of recent Spanish newscasts.
If you’re leaning toward podcasts, you may either take the route of the plethora of excellent podcasts for Spanish learners—like the famous SpanishPod101 by Innovative Language—or more traditional podcasts about your hobbies.
If you’re looking for the latter, just get yourself the Podcast app for iOS or the Podcast Republic app for Android and do a quick search to find some cool podcasts to help you immerse yourself in Spanish from home… or any place where you can get a connection.
Audiobooks in Spanish
Lastly, if you’re interested in Spanish audiobooks, you can find plenty on Audible (an Amazon company), which offers numerous great audiobooks at a fair price read by real Spanish natives, like “El poder de ahora” (“The Power of Now”) by Eckhart Tolle.
You could also check your local library for audiobooks on CD or see if your state has a digital library (many now do) where you could check out an audiobook that way.
In regularity lies progress. Make sure to listen to your podcast/radio/audiobook at least five minutes a day. During those five minutes, commit to listening carefully and trying to understand as much as you can.
However, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t always succeed. Spanish immersion at home is about creating a Spanish-speaking environment para mejorar (to improve) your level, not passing a rigorous grammatical exam.
By the way, you don’t have to listen to podcasts, radio and audiobooks all during the same session. Nevertheless, know that variety helps your mind learn faster.
Indeed, there will most likely be some overlap of vocabulary, expressions and themes between these three mediums, but, most importantly, you’ll find content in the podcast format that you may not find in an audiobook or on the radio and vice versa.
Therefore, use all three mediums if you can, or pick one out according to your mood!
10. Play Board Games and Video Games in Spanish
Who said getting immersed in Spanish had to be boring?
If you’re a fan of board and video games, you can use them to your advantage and transform them into immersive Spanish language lessons you’ll never forget.
Spanish board games
Spanish board games are fun and easy to play, and if they’re used correctly, they can also be a superb tool to learn Spanish and get yourself immersed in the language.
Since you’ll be trying to have a fully immersive experience while playing, I recommend you invite people who already know Spanish or are learning it.
Playing a Spanish board game will force you to think in Spanish, but the immersive experience doesn’t have to stop there!
Since the people playing with you also speak Spanish, take advantage of the situation and only talk in Spanish with them throughout the whole playing session.
Or, even better, invite your Spanish-speaking friends to a “Spanish game night” during which you can only play and speak in Spanish, eat Spanish food and have Spanish music in the background.
Spanish video games
If you belong to the gamer tribe, you’ll be very happy to know you can use your video games to get some Spanish language immersion.
There are several reasons why video games are a great way to do this, the most important ones being:
- Many video games support Spanish audio. You can just change your language settings to Spanish and you’ll be able to live the whole adventure in that language.
- Many of them also include subtitles, so you can also switch on the Spanish subtitles for full immersion.
- Video games often include lots of dialogues, so they’re the perfect way to listen to native Spanish conversations while you play.
- Many video games are played in groups. Gamers from all around the world gather in different servers to form teams, and get in contact with each other by using a mic and some headphones.
If you choose teams formed by gamers from Spanish-speaking countries, you’ll be able to experience the game completely in Spanish.
- Nowadays, the majority of video games have an online community with forums, blogs, chat rooms, subreddits… The list of resources goes on and on.
Try to find online communities in which they speak Spanish. Participate in the discussions, ask questions about the game or just chat with other players around the world. In Spanish!
11. Use Your Hobby as a Language Tool
Everybody has a hobby.
Some like video games, as we saw in the previous section.
Others like cooking. Some like playing golf. I like reading about grammar…
Every hobby is valid and a great opportunity to get some Spanish immersion time!
It’d be impossible to mention every hobby in the world and how to use them to immerse yourself in Spanish, so I’ve chosen one that, according to my friends, is very popular: cooking.
How to use cooking to get immersed in Spanish
Cooking seems to have become very popular lately.
If you’re a cooking aficionado, there are several ways in which you can link your hobby and the Spanish language together:
- Look for cookbooks in Spanish and try to cook a delicious meal while only reading and thinking in Spanish.
- Find cooking videos in Spanish on YouTube and take notes (in Spanish!) or cook by following them. Will you be able to learn how to cook that delicious tortilla española everybody’s talking about?
- Find an online Spanish cooking community and join it. Share recipes, ask for tips, learn cooking techniques from other users, etc.
- Watch Spanish movies whose main topic is cooking or food.
- Watch Spanish cooking shows such as MasterChef or “Pesadilla en la Cocina” (“Kitchen Nightmares”).
- Write a recipe book in Spanish and include all your favorite Spanish food.
12. Take Online Spanish Courses
There are a ton of online Spanish courses to learn Spanish, but you’re looking for something else: You want immersion.
How can you solve this issue? Taking an online course in Spanish!
If you take a course created for Spanish speakers, you’ll be able to feel as if you really were in a classroom in Spain, Argentina, Mexico or Venezuela.
Granted, taking a course that’s completely in Spanish can be difficult if you’re a beginner, but you can get the immersion vibe by watching the course videos with subtitles and reading the comments.
This’ll feel similar to using native Spanish media, so it’ll be a great immersion practice anyway.
There are two websites I love because of the huge number of courses they offer in Spanish, many of them for free!
These two websites are edX and Coursera, and these are some of their awesome courses in Spanish:
- “Python: Aprender a programar” (Python: Learning to code): This is a free self-paced Python course that starts from scratch, so if you want a non-demanding course that’ll allow you to join programming and Spanish together, this one is for you.
- “Finanzas personales” (Personal finance): This is another introductory course that’ll teach you how to analyze your finances and make better financial decisions.
- “Contabilidad para no contadores” (Accounting for non-accountants): If you want to get immersed in the Mexican Spanish dialect, this introductory course on accounting is a great place to start.
- “Cómo hacer una tesis” (How to write a thesis/dissertation): This is another course offered by the National Autonomous University of Mexico. It’ll teach you how to write a dissertation (in Spanish!) step by step.
13. Find a Language Exchange Partner
One of the things you’d naturally do if you were living in a Spanish-speaking country would be to speak with natives.
But did you know that you can recreate the same experience at home?
A language exchange partner is someone you meet with regularly in order to practice one or more languages.
One way to find language partners is by finding Spanish native speakers in your town or city.
Use websites such as Meetup, Conversation Exchange or CouchSurfing to find people who are actively looking to practice idiomas (languages).
Get in touch with them via those websites and find yourself a language exchange buddy who you can meet up with once or twice a week over coffee.
If you want to take this to the next level, it’d be really beneficial for you to have conversations with several Spanish speakers at those in-person meetings.
Having a conversation with several people in a foreign language may be tricky at first, but your Spanish skills will increase much faster if you do.
Your mind will actively try to understand and relate to everybody at the same time, which can only help you progress faster. It’s like having several meetings in one!
Now, how do you bring more than one person to your language exchange meeting?
You don’t have to be a genius promoter to have between three and six people with whom you can practice languages:
- First, make sure to always be actively looking for people who are willing to sit down for an hour or two each week to speak Spanish and English. You’ll find those people the same way you find the first one (via the internet!).
- Then, coordinate a fixed venue and date every week to hold your meetings so it’s easier for everyone to remember it’s happening.
- Finally, have the participants of your meeting bring one or two friends along when they come.
Following these three tips, it should be pretty easy to quickly have a nice group of foreigners you can improve your Spanish skills with.
The second way to do these language exchange meetings is through Skype (or any other video chat platform).
This has the advantage of being much more convenient for everyone since you can do them from pretty much anywhere if you have an internet connection and a mobile device.
You can use the same websites mentioned above to propose Skype language exchange sessions, and we have all the Skype learning resources and tips you’ll need to make it happen.
14. Hire a Language Tutor
Hiring a native Spanish tutor is another option if you’re ready to invest some money.
However, you should treat this as a complement to other immersion techniques, since you’ll only be having classes a couple of times per week.
A native Spanish language tutor, especially one who has experience in teaching Spanish conversation, is a great asset that gives you the opportunity of being completely immersed in Spanish together with a person who knows what they’re doing.
But being native and having teaching experience aren’t the only qualities you should look for in a language tutor.
For instance, it’s crucial that you pick a person that teaches the Spanish variety you’re interested in. Even though all Spanish speakers understand each other, each accent has a series of features the others lack.
Additionally, you should feel comfortable with the person you’re hiring. You don’t want to spend your money and time with someone you don’t like because of their beliefs, ethics or whatever reason that might be a red flag for you.
Finally, try to find a language tutor whose teaching style complements your learning style. A tutor can be the best teacher for me but be completely incompatible with you, so try meeting a couple of them until you find “the one.”
15. Read Your Favorite Book in Spanish
Reading a book in Spanish that you’ve already read in English has multiple benefits.
One of the biggest is that you’ll consciously and unconsciously make connections between what you’re reading in Spanish and what you’ve previously read in English.
I personally like “El Principito” (“The Little Prince”) from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, or the two classic personal development books “Piense y hágase rico” (“Think and Grow Rich”) by Napoleon Hill and “Cómo ganar amigos e influir sobre las personas” (“How to Win Friends and Influence People”) by Dale Carnegie.
Not only are these three books considered to be excellent in and of themselves by a great number of people, but the Spanish translations will surely help you add to your Spanish skills.
Thanks to Amazon and other online book-sellers, today it’s pretty easy to find a book along with its Spanish translation.
If you’re more old school, you can always go to your local bookstore or library to do that.
Don’t forget about e-books and digital libraries, as well! These can be especially helpful when reading in Spanish because you can install a free Spanish dictionary on most e-readers.
And please note that I said Spanish dictionary, not an English-Spanish dictionary. Why?
Using a Spanish dictionary, where the definitions are written in Spanish, is yet another way to further immerse yourself in Spanish at home!
You’ll eventually reach a point where you’ll feel pretty comfortable reading several pages in a row (even though you may not understand every single word) and grasp the core meaning of what you read.
Want to take it to the next level, then? Use your daily reading sessions to practice your Spanish pronunciation.
Here’s what you can do:
Read every page out loud, trying as hard as you can to pronounce the different words correctly.
If you stumble upon a word or group of words you don’t know how to pronounce, just type them in Google Translate or Forvo to hear a lovely voice showing you the way.
This is a really fun way to force yourself to actually have Spanish coming out of your mouth on a daily basis.
In the beginning, try to read just one page a day. As your Spanish abilities increase, you can start reading two, three, four and more pages per day.
However, remember that it’s better to read one page every day for a month than to read a couple of pages every few days. Reading a certain low number of pages every day is the best way to ensure regularity and therefore increase your Spanish immersion at home.
And here’s one last tip for you: Make sure to read just before going to sleep.
This way, your brain can process the information you read during the night and help to improve your Spanish.
You may even find yourself dreaming about what you read (and, yes, this has happened to me!).
Bonus: Immersion Programs at Home and Abroad
If you feel you still need to take part in a course or program to really feel the Spanish immersion vibe, there are plenty of opportunities to do that.
Local immersion programs are normally more difficult to find.
They typically involve going to a language school for several hours a day and being surrounded by other Spanish students who are also looking for full Spanish immersion.
If you choose this option, you could start by checking out language schools in your area that have immersion or intensive Spanish courses.
One such school is Berlitz, which offers in-person group or individual immersive classes as well as online Spanish courses.
If you don’t feel like going to an in-person class and don’t really like group online courses, another alternative you have is immersion individual courses at home.
You probably know Spanish immersion software programs such as Rosetta Stone or Pimsleur.
They’ve been designed to teach you everything about the Spanish language in an immersive environment based on repetition, images and audio, among other features.
But if you’re really serious about learning Spanish and you want a real Spanish immersion adventure, the best program out there is undoubtedly FluentU.
FluentU takes real-world Spanish content that’s been primarily created by and for native Spanish speakers and transforms it into interactive Spanish lessons that’ll bring immersion to you wherever you are.
It’d be like actually being in Argentina or Peru, except you won’t be going abroad, which will save you both time and money while still allowing you to get full Spanish immersion.
However, if what you want is to actually travel to another country and be surrounded by Spanish speakers, the option to pack your things and go abroad still definitely exists.
There are several language schools and universities that offer this kind of language program. They take care of everything, and you only have to buy a course and enjoy your time abroad.
If you don’t know where to start gathering info, here are two options you might enjoy:
- International Studies Abroad (ISA): Study one or two semesters at a university in Spain, Argentina, Colombia or Costa Rica, just to name a few countries. They also offer personalized Spanish immersion language tours in 11 Spanish-speaking countries.
- Academia Latinoamericana de Español (Latin American Academy of Spanish): Regardless of your level of Spanish, if you want to get Spanish immersion in Peru or Bolivia, this language academy offers the widest range of Spanish courses, from intensive and super-intensive to medical Spanish and even a program for teachers.
Other options you can also check out are:
- Go Overseas’ program in the Colombian Countryside.
- Anders Languages’ Residential Spanish Immersion for Demanding Adults.
- Lingua Service Worldwide’s Home Language International – Total Language Immersion.
See? You can absolutely learn Spanish by yourself without ever having to travel to a Spanish-speaking country. (Though traveling to one and getting to use your newly acquired Spanish skills would no doubt be an awesome goal to aim for!)
You just have to use a couple of smart techniques to immerse yourself in Spanish at home even for just a couple of minutes a day.
Pick your favorite strategies from this post and start them every single day. These new habits will take you a long way!
And when you’re ready, go abroad and experience the real deal.
Stay curious, my friends, and as always, happy learning!