Visiting a foreign country can be intimidating for some, but learning a few important phrases can help ensure you make the most of your experience. If you’re heading to Spain, it can be helpful to pick up a bit of the language before you hit the road. Not only will it make your experience go smoother, but you’ll likely get more out of your time in the country if you can interact a bit with the locals.
Below are some tips to help you learn the language quickly.
1. Download Spanish teaching apps
Thank goodness for the internet and everything it brings with it! Lots of language learning apps are available for iOS and Android. With them, you can find an approach that works for you, whether you need to learn vocabulary, pick up grammar, or build on your conversation skills.
Most of these apps are free, and they have well-organized study structures that guide you step by step from how to pronounce simple Spanish words to formulate complete sentences. For instance, an app like Duolingo is one of the most popular and well known apps. It helps you develop vocabulary with day-to-day game-like exercises.
Another option is a platform named Preply, which has an app available for downloads on iOS and Google Play. You can get a head start by taking online Spanish lessons (by Skype) with certified tutors, or improve your speech with the conversational classes. Although the classes are paid, you can get the structured program for long-term learning.
2. Name things in Spanish
There are some essential items around you right now that you would most likely still have around you when you get to Spain. These essential items include beds, cups, spoons, TVs, Chairs, Tables, etc.
Why don’t you try calling these basic items by their Spanish names instead of your current language? You would be surprised at how quickly you can learn these names using this method.
Start with a few items. Introduce some other things after you get familiar with the previous ones.
Don’t go too fast, or you will forget some item names that you previously learned.
3. Listen to anything Spanish
Get Spanish songs or podcasts. Listen to them. Sencillo! (means “simple” in Spanish).
Be happy when you can understand some basic Spanish words in the lyrics. Try to understand those that you don’t yet understand. It’s fun and easy to learn Spanish using songs.
The same goes for Spanish TV shows. You could even watch your favorite TV shows in Spanish.
It even gets better with TV shows because you are not just listening to how the owners of the language are speaking the words; you can also see how the language is being spoken.
Hearing the language helps you to get familiar with how the language is spoken, how to correctly pronounce the words, and how to get used to listening to the language.
4. Read anything Spanish
Reading Spanish literature is also another way of learning the language before you get to Spain.
Do you know what makes this method even better? You will come across a lot of basic Spanish words and phrases, and soon you will start to see the speech patterns in the text.
After you have gotten familiar with the language a little, pick up Spanish literature, and read.
You don’t even have to dive headfirst into reading long novels. Just pick short texts — excerpts from the news, magazines, or whatever. For instance, Spanish Obsessed is an amazing blog that helps you get better with the language, and explains the culture of Spanish-speaking countries.
When you read Spanish literature, you get to have a clearer understanding of how Spanish sentences are constructed.
5. Write everything in Spanish
Okay, maybe not everything. Just the things you want to keep to yourself.
It could be your diary or the labels that you stick to your walls. Try to write common Spanish phrases before trying to construct complex sentences.
Getting yourself acquainted with writing the language is another effective way of hastening your learning process.
6. Speak Spanish
Is there anyone who speaks Spanish around you? Meet them. Try to start conversations in Spanish with the person. Start with basic Spanish phrases like greetings.
Don’t have anyone who speaks Spanish around you? Well, you have the internet. There are online communities where you could get linked with other people to practice speaking the language together. You can also join “conversation classes” or speaking clubs – there’s a whole lot of opportunities.
Speaking Spanish is often an effective way of learning the language as you get to put all the things you’ve learned to use. This will also help you determine how good you’ve gotten with the language and how much you still have to learn.
It’s a beautiful thing that you’re trying to do learning Spanish before you get to Spain. Just try to be dedicated and consistent, and you’d be surprised at how much your Spanish will improve in just a short while.
The methods described here are all simple and easy. They’re also free and easily accessible.
Fortunately, it is easy to learn basic Spanish. You shouldn’t encounter too many problems in the process. And this will make your trip to Spain that much more interesting!
Laurie is happiest on the road and has visited over 50 countries. She dreams about meeting tribal people, hiking through rice paddies, and driving longtail boats through crystal-clear waters. She enjoys photography, social activism, and helping others quit their jobs to travel. Laurie co-founded Budget Your Trip, and lives the life any nomadic soul would yearn for.