5 Easy Ways to Learn Spanish Before Your Trip to Spain
Let’s dive into the Top 5 Ways to Learn Spanish Before Your Trip to Spain! (Don't want to read the rest? The 5 ways are: subtitles, childrens books, foreign music, intercambio groups, and Newslang)
The 5 easiest way to learn Spanish
1) Television with SubtitlesI’ll let you in a little family secret. My dad is originally from Guatemala and English isn’t his first language. He came to the U.S. to practice medicine and in order to do that he had to take classes to get him up to speed. The problem was, he took English classes in Miami. As you could imagine, he didn’t learn English in the slightest (positive side, he was introduced to American fast food). When he moved to California to work he spent all of his downtime watching television, specifically Days of Our Lives. He claims that just watching the mouths of native English speakers and being exposed to the different accents and words really helped to move along his understanding of the language. So if it worked for him, why can’t it work for you?! Throw on your favorite TV show in Spanish and make sure to put the subtitles on to help you learn what it is they are saying. The Office in Spanish is hilarious. Or if you’re really feeling adventurous, you can start to explore some of the options that are most popular in Spain. As of now, I am completely engrossed in Casa de Papel (House of Paper) and would definitely recommend if you are looking for some drama. I won’t give away too much but it always leaves you wanting more.
2) Read a Childrens (or Familiar) Book in SpanishIf you are like me, you love reading. Maybe that’s why you downloaded Newslang; you wanted to incorporate two things that you loved into one easy to use app. But if you’re looking to up your challenge level, then you can move on from just reading articles and try your hand at a novel. Don’t psyche yourself out if you find yourself struggling at first. Reading actual novels in a foreign language can be challenging: you have a different syntax, grammar style, the list goes on with the number of different ways that you can get confused. So my suggestion (and the suggestions of many a foreign friend) is to try and pick up a book that you are familiar and maybe one that is a little bit easier to understand. I know a favorite of my friends is to read Harry Potter. It is easy enough to understand and you are constantly exposed to new words. Your magical Spanish vocabulary is going to be incredible and it may make you a new friend at the bar if you start talking about your favorite Harry Potter character and can know what the actual word for wand is (it’s varita mágica btw).
3) Listen to Music (or Podcasts) in SpanishFor some people the most challenging aspect of picking up another language can be learning to listen to and pick up what Is being said to you. Especially once you are around native speakers who are familiar with one another, it can start to feel as though there is just one giant mess of words and phrases that you can’t pick up on. To help facilitate not feeling this way, training your ear can go a long way towards increasing your fluency levels. Once you learn to understand what it is that’s being said to you in real time it allows you to start forming your response and foregoing those awkward pauses during a conversation. One of the best ways to do this is through music or podcasts. Music is a wonderful option because there is going to be repetition in what is being said. This will be key helping to not only understand what is being said but also by learning new words. Also, let’s face it, Spanish music is catchy as hell and super fun to dance to. While not as fun to dance to a podcast can also be useful for pushing your understanding to the next level. The way that people speak tends to be very slow and annunciating every word. Even if it is a one sided conversation with you only listening you have the opportunity to pick up on some new vocab while also.
4) Intercambio GroupsThink of these groups or events as those speaking activities that you had to do in high school but infinitely more fun, not for a grade, and with alcohol involved. Intercambios are meant to serve as an opportunity for people to share their culture and more importantly their native tongue. Oftentimes they can be found tucked away in various bookstores or restaurants that cater specifically to a certain population speaking a specific type of language. For example, in Madrid, the only bookstore in the city that sells bagels will have an exchange 3 or 4 nights out of the week. During maybe a 3 or 4 hour block of time, drinks will be discounted and conversation will be encouraged. More often than not people will be seeking out native English speakers so that they can practice and hopefully learn some new vocab. Use this to your advantage to leverage some time speaking the language that you want to speak. In population centers with high Spanish speaking populations this shouldn’t be all that difficult. Living in the Southern United States, honestly try popping into the popular local margarita spot and see where things take you. If you live in Southern California you may just end up seeing a few Newslang employees!
5) NewslangAnd with that we transition into what we think will be the best possible resource for you trying to learn a language before making the hop to the Iberian Peninsula. Newslang is the newest method to help you with one of the most difficult challenges that anyone can choose to take: learning a second language. Rather than forcing you to a long term commitment or requesting a large deposit right off the bat like other language services we offer you a chance to choose your own adventure. If you want to read fifteen articles a day, then go for it. If you would prefer to read one or two in the morning then that works for us! What we would to emphasize with ourselves is that we are not simply offering you a language service, but a holistic exposure to different cultures and different languages. With our blog there is the chance to tap into the inner wanderlust that we each have. There is a community of entripid travelers and language learners spaced not only around the states but around the world.
So with all of these options, we will see you soon in Spain. Or stay tuned for a future article about some of the best beaches in Spain. If you’re lucky you may be able to make it here before the close of the season.
If you’d like to prepare and practice your Spanish vocabulary before your, download and use the Newslang app. Newslang is an inventive learning app for iOS that turns your daily news reading habit into an educational activity to bolster your foreign language vocabulary. It’s currently available in Spanish so you can explore and indulge in the culture, sites, and cuisine the moment you arrive in Madrid.