Despite what many people think, learning a new language is never easy, it tends to be a fairly life changing and enjoyably challenging experience for most people, myself included. As regular readers to the Expanish Spanish school blog will know, I recently landed in Buenos Aires with the aim of undertaking 3 months of Spanish classes. It goes without saying that my intention is to get the absolute maximum out of studying at Expanish, which will require willpower and commitment. With that in mind, I tried to develop a bit of a personal action plan or strategy ahead my arrival in Argentina. Here are my top five tips for people wanting to get the most from their Spanish language studies overseas:
Read whenever you can. It can be anything…for example try picking up one of the free newspapers on the Subte. At first, you might not understand much but make a note of all the words you don’t understand and look them up. Gradually it will become easier and you’ll find that you start recognizing words. Or alternatively, you could pop into one of the many second hand bookshops in Buenos Aires where you could buy a Spanish novel. This again will give you practice in reading and will increase your vocabulary greatly.
Always listen. Even when you’re just walking down the street or are on the Subte. Again, you may not understand much at first but you’ll soon find that it’ll get easier. Apart from anything else, this is a great way to measure your understanding because once you start understanding more, you’ll know that you’re improving!
Wherever possible make sure you speak, speak and speak because that is the hard part. Lots of people find that while they can understand lots, they can’t always speak it to the same level. So make sure that you make a conscious effort to practice speaking whenever you get the opportunity. Don’t worry if you’re making mistakes…the more you practice speaking the fewer mistakes you’ll make!
Get involved in local activities such as a tango class. Not only will you get to learn tango, but speaking with your teacher will also be a good way to interact and practice your Spanish.
Why not go to the theatre? There are several theatres dotted around Buenos Aires and it’s a great way to get a feel of Argentinean culture while at the same time learning something. You may not understand it all but at least it’ll get you used to hearing it.