There are a few reasons why you might decide to take on the challenge of learning a new language, you
might have an upcoming trip to a Spanish speaking country or it’s been a new years resolution of your’s
for the past few years.
For me, it was a bit of both. I’ve always visited parts of Spain on holiday as a kid and I even lived in
Lanzarote in the Canary Islands for a short time when I was 19 but I could never seem to pick up the
Fast forward about seven years later and I find myself in the same position. I moved to Valencia, Spain last
summer and I’ve taken up the challenge of learning Spanish, again!
This time around I was determined and focused and along the way I’ve picked up some helpful tips for learning a new language.
1) Free Online Resources
For anyone starting out, the best advice I can give you is to start small and take advantage of free online
resources. Before committing to any expense and jumping in too deep. I’d recommend trying out apps like Duolingo and Babbel.
For me, I found both apps very helpful starting out and I was able to pick up so much vocabulary really fast. These kind of apps are great for learning the basics and they give you a starting point if you have no prior knowledge.
Another great free online resource is YouTube. There are so many quick and helpful videos out there that
specifically focus on each topic, e.g grammar, common phrases and conjugation.
Often I’ll watch the same video over and over again until I feel comfortable and the great thing is that I can go at my own pace. It’s a win, win. Here are a few of the channels I’ve been using.
Butterfly Spanish Spanish Is Your Amigo Qué hora es?
2)Immerse in the language
Regardless of what country you’re living in right now, it’s definitely important to surround yourself in the
language you want to learn. A great way to do this is to include it in your everyday life.
For me, I started listening to Spanish music on my way to work or any chance I could. I also started listening to a free
Spanish learning podcast on Spotify called Coffee Break Spanish. This was a game changer for me and
helped me improve my Spanish really quickly.
This starts at the beginner level and constantly re-introduces words and phrases you’ve learned and tests your knowledge at the end of each segment.
Just like Youtube videos, what I like about this is that you can go at your own pace and listen over and over again.
I’d also recommend watching some of your favourite shows and movies in Spanish with subtitles. It’s best to
watch something you’re familiar with, that way you will learn Spanish by context and have a better chance
3)Find a Tutor
Finding a tutor can be very much trial and error. I had this problem myself when starting out. The best way
for me was using an online tutor. There are plenty of online apps where you can find verified Spanish
tutors. Sites like Verbling offer a range of different online tutors.
You can choose everything from price, country of origin, level of English/Spanish and gender. Classes are usually done through their online website or through Skype.
If you’re serious about learning a new language, I would definitely recommend using the help of a tutor. This will keep you accountable and motivated to keep learning.
Always research any company before paying online with your card details.
The biggest challenge I came across was staying motivated. A good way around this for me was planning
out my week every Sunday using Google Calendar. By setting realistic goals each week this will help you
stay on track and have a real sense of achievement after completing each task.
For example, if you usually work a busy week Monday to Friday, set aside an hour of study on the weekend. Normally if I have a Spanish lesson on a Tuesday I’ll put in some study time the day before.
When I first started out learning Spanish, I was self-learning. The problem with this is that I had no structure
or a clear direction. One day I was learning basic verbs and the next day I was learning different tenses and
by doing it this way I wasn’t seeing any results.
Once I recognised this I started to make some changes. Let’s say I had a class with my Tutor on a Monday and I learned something new. After that class, I would focus my studying solely on that topic. I would go on YouTube and find videos, I would google different articles online and I would also have homework after each lesson. By changing my method, I was able to fully learn and remember each topic and make real progress. Although this might seem like a slower way of doing it, it will actually help speed things along when learning more difficult topics.
So there you have it, my five tips for learning a new language! I hope you find this helpful. 🙂
¡Buena suerte a todos!