Travelling to work or college is the ideal time to learn Spanish or any other language you are studying. You do this on a daily basis, except perhaps at weekends so this helps you stick to regular learning. Whatever level you are at, this time can be a valuable part of your study schedule, especially if you are busy and struggle to find the time to fit in language learning every day. In this blog post we will share 5 tools you can use to learn Spanish on the train or in your car – most of which can be applied to any language.
You can find many different Spanish podcasts to download on your phone or ipad to listen to in your car or on the train or bus. You could listen to podcasts that teach you the language or conversational style podcasts. You can find podcasts suited to your level whether you are a beginner or more advanced learner.
– You learn at your own pace
– Increase your vocabulary
– Learn how words are used in context
– You hear native speakers speaking real language
Coffee Break Spanish – award winning podcast aimed at beginners and intermediate learners. Podcasts are 15-20 minutes long so ideal for most commutes to work. Topics are practical teaching you to deal with everyday situations such as asking for directions, ordering food and drink and listeners are given lots of opportunity to listen and repeat. The speakers are both Scottish but have excellent Spanish accents.
Audiria – All podcasts are free and aimed at all levels of learner. They cover a whole range of topics including, humour, culture, TV, the press, grammar and there are even “slow” podcasts for lower levels. Each podcasts is tagged with its level so you know which is suitable for your particular level. The podcasts are also supported with exercises such as gap-filling and listening comprehension questions. You can read the script and key words are highlighted to click on to check their translation.
Notes In Spanish – This is a brilliant podcast series by a couple from Madrid; Ben who is English but fluent in Spanish and his wife Marina, a native of Madrid (una madrileña). They have podcasts for beginners, intermediate and advanced learners. You can read the full transcripts with vocabulary lists and follow-up exercises. The intermediate and advanced podcasts are completely in Spanish so this is a great immersion activity. They also recap vocabulary and phrases from the previous podcast for revision.
Unlimited Spanish – There are over 100 podcasts on current topics and regarding life in Spain as well as grammar advice at the end of each podcast. They are by a Spanish man called Oscar Pellus who has a very clear accent which is perfect for beginner learners. You can also read the transcripts alongside listening.
Whilst you have a spare few 15-20 minutes during your commute why not pass the time with a language learning app such as Duolingo or Babbel, Spanish Mind Snacks? They are easy and fun to use and can be highly addictive, making sure you do it every day! Often they involve easy games to play, matching up exercises, re-ordering words in a sentence. The good thing is they often cover both grammar, verbs as well as everyday phrases for practical situations.
Listening to a Spanish audiobook is a great way to improve your listening skills as well as learning new words and phrases. It can be a very enjoyable and relaxing way to start or finish your working day as you will have to “switch off” from everything else going on. Audible.com is one of the best places to find Spanish audiobooks for you to download. Here you will find both instructional Spanish audiobooks that aim to teach the language (such as Pimsleur and Michel Thomas) as well as short stories and novels in Spanish for more advanced learners.
Try finding news items covering a story that you have already heard in English. This way you will more easily be able to spot the Spanish equivalent of key words. Popular Spanish news sites include BBC Mundo and CNNespañol
If listening to the news is not your thing and too serious for you first thing in the morning you might prefer to listen to Spanish songs sung by native speakers. This may be more relaxing and soothing to start your day. The good thing about listening to Spanish songs is that the lyrics often get stuck in your head so you will absorb the words more easily as they are being re-played over and over again. The best thing is to find an artist you really like and a nice catchy tune that you don’t mind listening to over and over again. Later on at home you could even find the lyrics online so you can see the words which is also good if you can’t quite hear parts of the song and you want to know what it means in English.
As you can see, it is easy to make the most of your boring commute to work every day by learning Spanish in an enjoyable way. Of course, to make the most progress in Spanish you would also need to supplement this with further study of the language, Spanish lessons or language exchange sessions to practise speaking and conversation with a native speaker.