Going to your weekly Spanish class is like dipping your toe in the deep end of the pool.
Immersion, on the other hand, is a headlong dive.
You might feel like your dive looks more like a belly flop at first but once you are in, you will be doing laps in no time.
Gone are the days when language learning involved sitting in a class for an hour or two a week and proficiency meant being able to hold a basic conversation.
Are you really serious about learning Spanish? Creating an environment of Spanish immersion at home is the best way to maximize your learning.
Whether you are new to learning Spanish or a veteran looking to take the final plunge toward fluency, now is the time to try Spanish immersion at home—and we have 15 steps to get you there.
Why It Is a Good Idea to Use Spanish Immersion at Home
What makes immersion so special, anyway?
For one thing, it gets you learning a language outside of a traditional classroom setting. Yes, please. You will be amazed at how much you can absorb just by going about your daily routines… but in Spanish!
If that is not enough, science actually shows that immersion can help you process a language like a native, which is, after all, the ultimate goal of learning another language.
Most people might think this requires you to uproot yourself to a new country. Sure, it helps. But is it necessary? Absolutely not. Just try working Spanish into your daily activities. You can do this anywhere, from work to social activities, but the best way to start is by doing it at home.
The best part is, you do not need to put aside a lot of time for studying. The beauty of immersion is that you can use it while you are doing other things. Surround yourself with Spanish—it can work for anybody!
Here are a few suggestions to get you started with the Spanish home immersion experience.
The Guide to Spanish Immersion at Home: 15 Steps to Success
1. Read or Watch the News… in Spanish!
Do you start your day with a newspaper or a hot cup of coffee in front of the TV? Make the most of your daily news intake by switching it to Spanish!
There are plenty of Spanish language news outlets for you to take advantage of.
EL PAÍS (The City) is the top news outlet in Spain and a very well respected newspaper worldwide. It is the perfect place to get your daily dose of news from every corner of the globe.
It is certainly not aimed at beginners so if you are just starting out with Spanish you might find it a bit difficult. But stick with it! Reading the news in Spanish will do wonders for your language learning.
There are also plenty of US-based news outlets that offer the news in Spanish like CNN en español (CNN in Spanish). Whether it is global news you are after or the latest in sport, entertainment or technology, CNN has what you are looking for plus so much more!
Read or watch online or switch your television channel to CNN en Español. Job done.
2. Get Creative in the Kitchen
Inject some creativity into your Spanish learning routine by trying out some recipes in Spanish. Trust me, there are more than enough to choose from, whether you are a meat lover, vegan or vegetarian, on a diet or maybe in the mood for something a little more indulgent.
Why not try cooking your way across the world with “Cocinando con Chabán” (“Cooking with Chabán”)? His book offers you seventy-five different dishes from across Latin America, Spain and more! You are sure to find a new favorite.
Alternatively, take a look at Recetas Gratis (Free Recipes) for thousands of free recipes, all in Spanish! They range in difficulty but there are definitely some easier recipes to start out with. Many of the recipes also have user ratings.
3. Label and List
This might seem like an obvious one, but it is not one you should leave off your list!
Buy a pack of sticky notes and start labeling everything. Do not be lazy. The more you label, the more you will learn.
You will be amazed at how quickly you start expanding your vocabulary if everything is labeled! You can even get creative and use different colors for different types of objects like food products, toiletries or clothes.
Another good idea is to write all your lists in Spanish. Far too often, our lives are made up of lists from to do lists to shopping lists. It is a great way to practice your Spanish daily and learn new vocabulary.
4. Switch Your Electronics to Spanish
When you are using your phone every five minutes, a simple step like this can make a big difference. Just go into your settings and switch the language of your device to Spanish, either Castilian or Latin American.
It may be arduous at first but stick with it! You will start getting used to seeing all of your apps and events in Spanish, sooner than you think!
Do not forget to switch over all your electronics, not just your phone. Computers, tablets, smart TVs—whatever you can possibly change. The more devices you switch over, the more Spanish you will absorb.
5. Sit Back, Relax and Listen
If you are not already, you should be listening to Spanish music and podcasts as much as possible. Busy schedule? Even if you do not have time to sit back and relax, this is the perfect way to fit Spanish learning around your hectic life. Try listening while you are cooking, cleaning or commuting.
The podcasts on Notes in Spanish, for example, are great for all levels. They offer short, easy-to-follow lessons on various topics from holidays to grammar.
Alternatively, Spotify has plenty of Spanish podcasts as well as Spanish music when you want to shake things up a bit! There’s a Spanish playlist for every music fan, from reggae to pop enthusiasts.
On top of that, it is free! (Though you can, of course, also pay to upgrade to premium if you would prefer to avoid advertisements.)
6. Read, Read, Read
That’s right, read everything you can get your hands on in Spanish. Start with some basic online reading websites like Lingua if you are a beginner. Past that already? Then it is time to make a trip to the bookstore.
There are tons of excellent books by Spanish authors that you can try reading, like “El tiempo entre costuras” (“The Time in Between”) by María Dueñas.
Alternatively, try reading a book that you have already read in English so that you are familiar with the story. To make things even easier, pick up a children’s book in Spanish. There is no shame in reading “Harry Potter” again!
7. Join the Spanish Social Media Scene
I bet you never thought you would hear those words associated with Spanish learning. People all over are addicted to social media, so put it to better use by following a few Spanish speaking users on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
No matter what type of accounts you usually follow, there is guaranteed to be one in Spanish.
Follow SuperPilopi on Facebook for delicious recipes all in Spanish or Turismo España (Spanish Tourism) on Instagram if you are a travel lover. Seeing all of Spain’s most beautiful places will definitely fuel your desire to learn the language!
Looking for something a little light-hearted? Check out Super Falete on Twitter for some daily comic relief.
8. Watch and Learn
Netflix is one of your best friends for at-home Spanish immersion.
From “Las chicas del cable” (“Cable Girls”) to “Mar de plástico” (“Sea of Plastic”), there are some great shows in Spanish on Netflix that you will be binge-watching through the night. And Netflix is adding new original series like “Alta mar” (“High Seas”) all the time, so keep your eyes peeled.
Netflix also has a range of the best Spanish movies like “Palmeras en la nieve” (“Palm Trees in the Snow”) but if you prefer to re-watch some of your old favorites, there are also plenty of American movies that are dubbed in Spanish.
If you are looking for shorter videos, look no further than FluentU.
FluentU has a wide selection of real-world Spanish language videos for you to enjoy.
Every video comes with interactive subtitles, a full transcript, vocabulary words and a follow-up quiz. You can also add any word you want to study further to your vocabulary list, which uses video-enhanced flashcards for tons of context. Give it a try with a free FluentU trial!
9. Start Writing
Sometimes the fastest way to learn is to do it the old-fashioned way and just pick up a pen… or open a Word document. If you already enjoy journaling, it will be easy to slot writing in Spanish into your routine. You choose how often you want to write, but the more frequently you do, the faster you will progress.
If journaling is not your thing, why not start a blog in Spanish? With websites like Squarespace, it has never been easier to build your own online universe. You can write about whatever you want from fashion to travel to cars—just make it something you are passionate about.
If you know any Spanish speakers, invite them to read and critique your writing to help you improve. You can also try connecting with some Spanish-speaking bloggers by signing up to Bloglovin’.
10. Pair Up
Often, the hardest part of immersing yourself in a language when you are not surrounded by native speakers is, unsurprisingly, speaking practice. If you do not live in a Spanish-speaking area, it might seem impossible to ever get to actually speak Spanish, but this is no longer the case.
Thanks to modern technology, you are now connected to thousands of Spanish speakers all over the globe. You just did not realize it!
Apps like HelloTalk and Tandem were designed to help language learners connect with native speakers. You will be speaking fluently in no time, and you might just make a few new friends along the way.
11. Get Active
Trying to get in shape for summer? Here is your chance. Try a Spanish workout video to exercise both your muscles and your mind at the same time! Your body will thank you for it and you will be that much closer to your language-learning goal.
You can do it from the comfort of your own home and it will not cost you an arm and a leg like a personal trainer or a gym membership.
Yogis, look no further than Udaya for the best online Spanish yoga videos. There are classes for everyone from beginners to those more advanced and you can try a quick 20-minute session or enjoy a full 60-minute workout. Your first two weeks are free and after the trial, it is only $14.99 a month!
Not into yoga? That’s okay. Try one of the many free Spanish fitness videos on YouTube. There is everything from Zumba to Cardio—you just have to figure out what you enjoy most or for some, hate least.
12. Subscribe to a Spanish Magazine
This is a great way to make sure you are getting a regular dose of Spanish reading, especially if you do not feel ready to tackle a whole book. Whether you are into sports, history, travel or fashion, you are sure to find a magazine that fits your needs delivered straight to your door.
Many global magazines often have a Spanish version available so if you already subscribe to a magazine, check to see in what other languages they distribute. Vogue has both a Latin American as well as a Spanish magazine.
Or you can try ¡Hola! (Hello!), which has a magazine printed specifically for Spanish speakers in the USA. You will never have a better excuse to catch up on celebrity gossip.
13. Organize a Game Night
This is a great opportunity to be social while studying Spanish. It is the perfect solution to a Friday night study session. Gather all of your Spanish speaking friends, colleagues or classmates for a Spanish game night!
There are so many word games out there, you will be spoilt for choice. If you do not want to buy a new game, you can just play “Charades” in Spanish. You will have everyone laughing and learning in no time.
You can also break out your old “Scrabble” board! You do not necessarily need a Spanish version to make Spanish words.
There are also some great games that are specifically designed to help you learn Spanish. If you are a board game lover, you might want to add Kloo to your collection. It is a great Spanish-learning game for both kids and adults.
If you want to take your night to the next level, test out a few recipes from your new Spanish language cookbook for a fully Spanish-themed evening and complete the experience of Spans immersion at home.
14. Follow Some Online Tutorials
Do not panic. I am not talking about educational tutorials. Thanks to YouTube, there are tutorials for just about every hobby and activity out there. So why not watch one in Spanish?
You might not admit it, but I am sure you have picked up your fair share of beauty tips from online videos. Check out Thania Gonzalez on YouTube for weekly cosmetics tutorials in Spanish. Alternatively, pick up a new hobby like knitting or crochet! Tejiendo con Liliana Milka (Knitting with Liliana Milka) will have you knitting (and speaking Spanish) like a pro before you know it.
Perhaps you are looking to impress a certain someone? Check out ¡Que viva la cocina! (Long Live the Kitchen!) for some great video recipes to surprise that special someone. Or learn some new hip hop moves to show off to your friends the next time you hit the dance floor.
The possibilities are endless!
15. Shop in Spanish
You can shop for pretty much everything online now. Items found, purchased and delivered to your door without you even having to step outside. Who doesn’t love that?
Amazon has taken the world by storm so if you have not already gotten with the program, now is the time. You can take advantage of all of their great deals—in Spanish! Just change your language settings at the top of the page next to the “sign in” button.
Clothing shops also often offer alternative languages on their websites. Conveniently, Spanish is almost always one of them. Head over to Mango to get a wardrobe update while brushing up on your Spanish vocabulary. Who knew learning a language could help fuel your shopping addiction?
If you want to get really ambitious, you can also change the language settings for your web browser. It is a leap, but one that is going to catapult you even further into Spanish. Browsing the web has never been more educational.
So, what are you waiting for? It has never been easier to fit Spanish into your routine. On top of that, you will be learning to process and speak Spanish like a native speaker.
Thanks to your Spanish immersion at home routine, pretty soon, you will be eating, thinking and dreaming in Spanish!
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