Learning Spanish is a journey – it is definitely not a race, nor is it done solo! As part of my current Spanish learning ´viajar´ (journey) at Expanish Spanish School in Buenos Aires, Argentina , I have discovered a variety of tools that help make learning Spanish that little bit easier. Here are my top 10 useful tools to help you learn Spani
There are tricks and tips to learning Spanish from the comfort of your couch, apps which teach you a few sentences, and courses where you learn to ask for the baño, but what is the way to learn Spanish that will last? How can you learn Spanish that is applicable, helpful, and in a way that is interesting? The easiest way to learn Spanish is to live in Spanish!
When you travel you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture as well as the language. Immersion is the easiest way to learn Spanish because you the language you hear around you will always be Spanish. When you are living in a Spanish Speaking country, you have the chance not only to take in Spanish, but you will always have the chance to practice it!
Living or traveling to a Spanish speaking country and learning the language there will help you gain not only life experience but fluency in Spanish which will last you a lifetime! When you live in Spanish you gain the ability to communicate more than your name and where you are from. When you live in Spanish you learn all the words necessary to communicate genuinely and effectively what you want, need and desire!
¿Que Quieres? (what do you want)
Do you hate ice in your water? Want a vegetarian menu? Looking for a nice view? Or some where for a picnic? When you are living in Spanish you will learn to communicate with these wants! Taking classes offers the opportunity to learn the vocabulary and the grammatical structure, but it is important to have the chance to put that into practice. Practice goes beyond conversations with your professors or the people at your local taqueria. Practice is learning to express your wants without a book in front of you with the image of ice and text below informing you that it is hielo.
When you are living in Spanish practice strays from scripted dialogues and fill in the blank sections. Practice becomes letting the waiter know you really would prefer your water without hielo, or un menu vegetariano. Living in Spanish means changing the meaning of practicing Spanish to communicating your wants in Spanish.
¿Que necesitas? (what do you need)
Living somewhere new, there are often times when you will get lost, and while google maps can be helpful, it is not always dependable. It is one thing to be able to ask for directions in Spanish, which you might find in any textbook. It is another thing, however, to be able to understand the response. When you are living in Spanish, you will learn not only how to ask the question, but understand the answer! Similar to how the streets will look different in real life than they do on the map when you are walking around and getting to know the city you are living in, spoken Spanish might be different than the one in your textbook. While the words will be the same, the pronunciation will vary depending on the country, or even city your language learning experience is taking place in! Although you might request for people to speak a little more slowly at first, you will soon begin to recognize the relationship between the words on the page and the directions which will lead you to your goal destination. As you become more comfortable reading lips and hand gestures, you will no longer need a slow-motion sentence. Soon when you tell the bus driver where you need to get, when they reply “Necesitas tomar este calle para 5 cuadros mas” you won’t need a map or a dictionary to figure out what they are talking about.
¿Que deseas? (what do you desire)
What is left to communicate and understand beyond your wants and needs? Your desires…the most passionate part of life…very important for what is recognized as one of the most passionate languages in the world. Desires are an important aspect of everyday life to learn to communicate because it is they are what differentiate an afternoon spent in a museum or at the beach. Your desires are what draw the line between a night at a dance club and an evening at the theatre. In order to communicate a desire, you need to be able to articulate a specific, “vibe” “energy” or “honda”. This requires some words which simply might not be in your textbook, but can still be learned from native teachers. It is important to be able to describe an environment or a mood in order to achieve what you desire. If you can describe how you are hoping for an experience to feel, then you can say you really mastered a language.
Being able to speak Spanish is more than just the days of the week and the color wheel. It is being able to communicate your wants, needs, and desires. If you are looking for the easiest way to learn Spanish, take classes with Expanish, and learn Spanish that will take you further than your couch, teach you more than just a few sentences, and get you more places than just the baño.