So You Want to Learn Spanish?
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Most of my class has given up ;. My reason is mostly for practical reasons. My job has me occasionally talking and meeting people that either speak poor English or can't speak it at all.
It happens enough that bridging that language gap would ultimately be a huge benefit for work. I work in retail and every so often I get a customer who either is clearly much more comfortable speaking Spanish, or only really speaks Spanish and I know that I could help them so much more if I could speak to them.
The world's best way to learn Spanish - Duolingo
For me, it started as something to do during my ridiculously long commute to work in LA. Now it is just fun.
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Since I've started learning I've visited two Spanish speaking countries and have had a blast speaking with everyone. And it's very good to keep your brain sharp. Not much reason at all. I enjoy the learning process, and it's nice to acquire a new skill. Other skills could possibly be more useful or rewarding in monetary terms of course, but this one is easily available and once you've started you want to get to a long term level of proficiency where you can hold a conversation, read a book etc. I have been able to hold conversations with people for the last 20 years; however, I am stuck in the present tense and struggle with other tenses.
I have a grasp of the vocabulary, but I literally freeze when I am to even attempt to use any tense other than the present. I want to learn more because I am a high school English as a Second Language teacher and I want to put myself in my students' shoes. When I broke through my barriers in Valencia and finally started making progress with Spanish, there were two reasons why I succeeded. It wasn't just that I started speaking Spanish as much as possible — it was that I completely stopped speaking English. For one month, I committed to speaking no English whatsoever , and succeeded.
Not a single word of English escaped my mouth during these 30 days. I've since used the same this approach for many other languages: living in the country and having a strict policy of speaking only the language I'm learning. This is the immersion approach, and it's extremely effective. The reason is simple. Not all hours are created equal; forty hours of intensive Spanish immersion in a single week will be far more valuable than forty hours spread out haphazardly over a few weeks.
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The more often you immerse yourself, the less time you waste trying to remember what you learned last time you spoke Spanish. My friend Scott Young took this approach to its extreme when he learned four languages in a year three months per language. The cardinal rule that helped him succeed? No English. It must have been easy to immerse yourself there. In fact, travelling to the country is no guarantee that you'll be immersed. It's easy to get trapped in the expat bubble like I initially did in Valencia.
Also note that immersion doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing thing. Just try to minimise the amount of English you do speak, even if you can't eliminate it completely.
What is business Spanish?
Spanish podcasts and audio courses are no substitute for speaking practice — but they make a great supplement, and can give structure to your learning. My favourite Spanish podcast for Spanish learners of all levels is SpanishPod The creator, Innovative Language, offers courses in more than 30 languages.
Finally, you might like to check out LingQ , which has thousands of hours of Spanish listening resources for all levels. LingQ is especially good if you like to read along while you listen. I have a degree in Electronic Engineering , and didn't have any success with language learning until after I'd already graduated.
But many universities offer degrees in Spanish, and if you're serious about getting your Spanish to a high level, this is a legitimate option. At some universities you may be able to study Spanish alongside something else — e. Sometimes it's possible to get a degree in two languages simultaneously — often, you study one language that you've already started learning e. The obvious disadvantages of a bachelor's degree are that it takes three or four years to earn one and, depending on the country, can be very expensive.
There are faster, cheaper ways to get your Spanish to an impressive level. If you don't have the time or desire to get a full degree in Spanish, consider a shorter course in a language school.
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Many schools offer intensive programs, which can be a great way to gain the kind of immersion I described above. Middlebury College in the U. Remember I said that you don't need to travel to a Spanish-speaking country to gain immersion! I can't give advice on specific schools, because it obviously depends on where you are. Read online reviews and try to talk to former students to see if you can learn a bit about the programme and decide whether it suits your learning style before you sign up. With classroom learning, you generally move at the pace of the slowest learner.
That's why small class sizes are better — and best of all is a class size of one. One-on-one tutoring is often surprisingly close in cost to group lessons in a classroom. If you can afford it, I highly recommend seeking a one-on-one tutor. The cost of lessons is very reasonable, with tutors available from just a few dollars per hour.click
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Different Spanish teachers have different styles; don't be afraid to shop around and try a few different teachers before settling on one that you like. In-person Spanish lessons aren't necessarily better than online lessons; it's very convenient to be able to have lessons from your own home. In fact, while learning Mandarin in Taiwan I ended up switching from in-person to Skype lessons with the same tutor.
Even though we lived in the same city, it wasn't worth the effort and travel time to meet in person. And no one in my area speaks Spanish!