When learning another language it is really important to practice as much as you can outside of the classroom and there are many ways to practice what you have learnt by yourself.
1. Try watching Spanish films and television
This is a great way to get used to hearing Spanish used in normal conversations and day to day life. Watching films is a good way to start because you can gradually ease your way in by starting with subtitles in your own language if your Spanish is not so advanced or try with subtitles in Spanish so you can follow the dialogue and see the words written down for a better understanding. You can stop the film to look up words that you don’t know and this is a more interesting way to learn. Even if you only have a few minutes to spare, you could put the news on in for a while or watch some TV shows in Spanish to get used to hearing how it is spoken.
2. Read Spanish newspapers and books
Reading the news in Spanish is a good way to get used to the formal language spoken as opposed to every day conversation like on tv and in films. You can pick up a newspaper each day fairly cheaply and read about current affairs which might interest you. Or you could do the same with magazines if you find it more interesting. Reading books can help you practice your understanding because you can take your time, look up any vocabulary that you don´t know and see many examples of all that grammar you have been learning! Start with something simple and work your way up as your Spanish improves.
3. Practice your conversation skills with natives
If you are staying with a native or have made some friends that are native speakers, then you are lucky because you have people that you can practice your conversation with and you are not just stuck reading or watching Spanish TV and films alone. Having someone close to you to practice with is really useful because they will be patient with you, you will feel more comfortable with them, less embarrassed if you make mistakes and they can correct you and tell you the correct way to say things.
If you don’t yet know any native speakers, here at Expanish we can arrange a homestay with a local family and many students find this really useful for immersing themselves in the language and the culture of Argentina. You can practice with your host family over dinner every evening.
Another way is to attend a language exchange event of which there are many all over the world. It is a social place where everybody has a common goal – to practice other languages – and so you can feel comfortable trying to chat with strangers in another language. It’s all just for fun and you can help others with your native language at the same time.
4. Online or on your phone
There are hundreds of web pages that are dedicated to teaching Spanish and so you can use them to double-check explanations of grammar or find exercises to practice your grammar. There are also YouTube videos with Spanish lessons or educational videos that are sometimes used in classes – again just other ways to hear people talking naturally for you to get some practice.
As mentioned above, a language exchange event can be a fun way to practice your conversation but if you don’t have any events in your area, you could search for an online language exchange to practice speaking with people from all over the world.
There are a few apps that you can download for your phone such as Duolingo, Rossetta Stone and even an app based around pictures of cats if this is more your thing! So if you have a few minutes to spare each day it can be a useful way to practice and learn new vocabulary.
Listening to Spanish songs is one way to practice without doing anything too strenuous. You can listen to music any time whilst you are doing something else, travelling in the train or bus, cleaning the house, or relaxing in the park for the afternoon with a book (in Spanish of course!).