Like we have said many times before, learning a language is not an easy task. In fact, as we mentioned earlier this week, it can almost feel like a roller coaster of ups and downs and no matter how good you get, you will probably always have doubts and insecurities. With all this honesty, we don’t want to discourage you but encourage you that your language learning journey is probably pretty normal within the different paths you could take. And we want to encourage you to learn as much as you possibly can by following your passions and diving into how you truly like to learn. That is why this week we are sharing a video where Claudia talks about how you can improve your Spanish language skills.
In this video we dive into a bunch of ways to learn Spanish by integrating yourself into the culture you will find around you. These are not necessarily new things, but they are tips that we share across the blog all found in one concise video. In this video you will hear about:
Living with native speakers:
Whether you live with a Spanish host family or decide to live with Spanish speaking roommates, we recommend living with native speakers to improve your language skills. This is because when you have to speak the language with people about everyday things on a daily basis you not only gain vocabulary and pick up on grammar, you will also improve your confidence (one of the most important things when you are learning a language—read the post here).
And, if you cannot find native speakers to live with, our second tip would be to avoid living with people who speak the same language as you. This is because it is much easier to establish Spanish as the language spoken in the house if the people living there all have a mixture of native languages. That is not to say it is impossible if you speak the same language as your roommates, just that it might be more complicated because you will want to fall back on what is easier when things get complicated or you are tired (and trust us when we say living in another language can be tiring).
Participate in activities in the community that are ‘normal:’
There are so many different things that are available to you just because you are living in a new place. While language classes are great, gym classes, team sports, and culture-based courses are a two-for-one as you will get the activity and the Spanish all in one. Personally, we think it is a great opportunity to do something you already know because you will pick up the terminology easily and a good moment to try something new because no one will have expectations!
Just remember, this kind of classes should be fun. And sure, you might get frustrated with the language barrier every once in awhile but, at the end of the day, you Spanish skills will probably improve significantly just by having fun in a Spanish-based environment. Consider going for what you already know you like or trying everything once. Just remember that the more time you spend with a specific group, the more likely you will be to develop a community with them. We talk more about learning Spanish outside of Spanish class here.
Leisure activities in Spanish:
If you couldn’t already tell, we like to learn languages by doing things we do every day and like—we don’t really believe that it should be terribly painful (although it will probably be difficult). That is why we also promote doing any sort of other activity that you like to do in your native language. Everything from downloading phone apps that are specifically made for language learning (we like Duolingo) to setting your profiles or phone in Spanish is good practice.
In addition, reading in Spanish—whether it be books, blogs, newspapers, or gossip columns—and/or watching TV and movies in Spanish is great practice. Because both these mediums put you in the everyday life of a person, you gain vocabulary, context, grammar, and comprehension while still doing something you might do anyway.
So there you have it, our top tips for learning a language. Although our number one tip for learning Spanish might just be finding what works for you and sticking with it. What’s your top tip?