How to learn
Learning a language is a
challenge for everyone, but if you want to live in a foreign country, it
is very important. As for any country, to get the most out of
living in Spain, you unquestionably need a basic level of Spanish.
In certain circumstances, such as finding a flat or giving directions to a
taxi driver, it is a real help if you try to speak Spanish. Apart from
these practical considerations, you will enjoy living in Spain a lot
more when you can communicate. Even in the most touristy
areas, there are plenty of situations in which Spanish is needed, from
getting your phone connected to dealing with government officials.
How to learn Spanish
Unfortunately, despite any
assertions, there are no easy tricks or
shortcuts to successful learning. From language books to
videocassettes to online courses, literally hundreds of companies
dedicate themselves to helping people write and speak Spanish.
newspapers and magazines. Watch television and films. Listen to the
radio. Chat with the neighbours. Constant exposure to Spanish is a
necessity. The real key is simply to immerse
oneself in the language and practice, practice, practice. The more you place yourself in situations where your native
language cannot be used as a crutch, the quicker you will learn Spanish.
Learning in front of the
Television is probably the
quickest way to increase you level of listening comprehension. It's free
and you are guaranteed to hear people speaking naturally (and fast).
Don't expect to understand everything, especially things like
chat-shows, as this is difficult for people with a good level of
The more you listen and watch, the quicker you will find
yourself picking up words and phrases. You will be surprised how much
and how painless it can be to learn this way.
Courses are conducted almost
exclusively in Spanish, even for beginners, which should help you become
accustomed to Spanish sounds and pronunciation, and therefore in order to get started, many
people choose to enrol in a Spanish language course.
universities offering language programs and specific language schools,
there are many different options on offer.
It is generally advisable to learn at a measured pace
over a longer period of time. If you need to gain a basic
knowledge of Spanish in a short timeframe, these schools usually have
intensive courses that will give you a "kick-start" in the language.
Like any other language tool,
success is purely a function of the amount of effort you put into
learning. Making a concerted effort to practice your Spanish both in and
outside the classroom will rapidly improve your skills.
If your time is limited or
the idea of a language course doesn't appeal to you, we would still
suggest having as much personal contact with Spanish people as possible.
Memorizing grammar rules is wonderful but nothing beats practical
Language exchanges called intercambios
are the perfect way to guarantee that you practice your Spanish each
week. These work by pairing up with a Spanish person that wants to learn
your language. This is also a great way to make new friends.
Most universities and language schools either maintain lists of potential
Spanish candidates or at least have a bulletin board with postings.