Student Experience: 5 Things That Helped Me Learn Spanish
We asked one of our Spanish students what helped her to learn Spanish and how she practices her languages skills on a daily basis. Check out what she had to say and see if it can help your own learning experience.
After two years of learning Spanish I finally reached the point of being able to speak this ‘hermoso’ language and to understand natives which is not the easiest thing as many Spanish students would surely confirm. What specifically has helped me learn Spanish?
First of all, you should have it clear what drives you to learn a new language. In my case, it was the desire to go on Erasmus and spend some time abroad, particularly in Spain. I started to take Spanish classes at my university so I knew some basics but still couldn’t express myself very much. I knew I needed to get down to studying Spanish when my student exchange programme in Barcelona was confirmed because the condition of taking part in the exchange was: you have to take courses in the Spanish language. Okay, I can do that I told myself, and accepted the challenge.
Listening to podcasts
I couldn’t see much progress when studying from a textbook so I tried a new way. I started listening to podcasts that were intended to learn Spanish easily and quickly. There is actually a bunch of them and you can always choose one regarding your level of Spanish. The key to making the most out of it is to listen to the podcast every day and make it a habit. Just 10 minutes per day can make a big difference. The advantage is that you can listen to it basically whenever you want to and no matter what you are doing (in most cases); you learn either while having breakfast, exercising or on your way to school or work.
Practice your speaking skills
There is also one necessary thing you have to do: find Spanish speakers and practice what you have learned! Speaking and trying to understand what other people are saying to you is definitely one of the most challenging steps. You don’t need to worry if you don‘t understand every word during the conversation, you will see that practice makes perfect. Therefore I really enjoyed joining a language exchange. You not only improve your Spanish but at the same time you meet new people and can make new friends!
Immerse yourself in Spanish
Even if you don’t have the possibility to travel abroad for a long period of time, you can still learn the language you want to without needing to move to the country where the language is spoken. Back home, I immersed myself in Spanish as much as possible. I changed the language settings on my phone, switched every application to Spanish including Facebook and Instagram. This way I got used to new expressions and vocabulary naturally.
Watching series in Spanish
Last but not least, watching movies and series in Spanish indeed helps a lot! I would especially recommend series such as La Casa de Papel, Las Chicas del Cable or Narcos. This way you can increase your vocabulary and also learn new expressions. Moreover, you will enhance your listening skills and simply become accustomed to the language.
For more information on getting involved in a Language Exchange in Valencia, take a look at our Activities page.