How to Start Learning Spanish as a Beginner – and Succeed!

Spanish courseMost people who learn a language often haven’t studied anything since they were at school! Maybe you have studied Spanish on and off for several years and you are just coming back to it again after a break and you’re telling yourself, right, this is it – this is the year I am finally going to become fluent in Spanish.

In this blog post we will look at how to get started learning Spanish.

The three tips we will look at are:

1) How to make good connections
2) Identifying your learning style
3) Setting up a study plan

1) Making good connections

You may feel like you are making good progress learning on your own, but when it comes to language learning, the key is communication, therefore the best thing would be to practise what you are learning with other people. Not only do you get to try out new things you’ve learnt, but you help each other stay motivated and learning becomes much more enjoyable. This could be meeting face-to-face or online.

Face-to-face:

This could involve meeting a Spanish friend, relative, a colleague at work or a Spanish-speaking neighbour to chat to regularly.
If you don’t know someone in your everyday circle of friends or acquaintances what you could do is go onto the website, Meetup.com: this arranges local groups of people that meet up once a week to chat to in Spanish.

This would be your chance to meet other people who are learning Spanish and are interested in the country and the culture. Spanish people also attend these groups so it is the ideal opportunity to ask questions and practise your speaking. These groups take place in all major cities so you are bound to find one near you. If there isn’t one, you can also post your own message asking for other people near you who may be interested in setting up a new meetup group to practise speaking Spanish.

Online:

Alternatively you could find a native speaker online to chat with over the internet. For example:

Facebook groups: are an ideal opportunity for meeting both native Spanish speakers as well as other people who are learning Spanish.

Good Spanish facebook groups to join include:

  • Lightspeed Spanish
  • Learn Spanish
  • Duolingo English-Spanish
  • Learning Spanish

The good things about joining a facebook group is that you will find other people who are facing the same problems as you. People post links to useful websites, funny cartoons, you can comment on posts and ask questions. Often Spanish tutors or native speakers will reply with useful advice.

HelloTalk: is an app that allows you to chat with native speakers from around the world via text, voice calls or video. As well as learning Spanish you learn about different cultures and make friends in other countries.

Wespeke: is a free and open global language platform that allows you to chat and practice languages with other users. You can fill in your interests in your profile so that people with similar interests can find you. The app even finds matches for you or you can find your own partner. With Wespeke you can even save new Spanish expressions, vocabulary and other content to your “WeSpeke Notebook”.

2) Identify your learning style

Secondly you need to identify your learning style. When you first start learning Spanish you should think about how you prefer to learn. We all learn differently. If you can find a way to learn that you enjoy and find easy then you will stick at it for longer and progress faster.

There are 3 types of learners:

  • Visual learners: need to see the words to learn them.

Activities that visual learners get on best with:

  • flashcards
  • pictures
  • cartoons
  • mind maps
  • diagrams

Visual learners also get on well with reading activities such as reading an article in a newspaper, magazine, book or a website article.

  • Aural learners: need to hear the words spoken.

Activities that they benefit from are:

  • listening to songs
  • podcasts, CDs
  • watching videos / movies
  • television

Kinaesthetic learners: learn best by hands on, physical activities that involve actively using the language.

Exercises they would benefit from include:

  • role-play
  • ordering drinks in a real setting
  • writing out your study notes
  • writing a diary, a book or film review
  • story writing

With children this could be playing with puppets or playing games.

3) Set up a study plan

Thirdly you need to set up a successful study plan so that you find a way to build language learning into your life.
It is important to try to fit language learning around your existing schedule without making too many changes. This way it will become a part of your life and you will be more likely to stick with it.

  • Listen to a podcast while walking the dog or doing chores
  • Read a Spanish book before bed
  • Reading a Spanish newspaper instead of an English one

– Dedicate enough time to your language learning so that you make the progress that you want. Studying a language is different to when you study for other subjects like Maths and Science, for example. With languages, short but regular study sessions have been proven to work much better than long intensive sessions.

– Be adaptable

As you progress you may need to spend more or less time on learning Spanish. From time to time you may decide to change your study technique to stop yourself getting bored which could also mean a different routine. So don’t be afraid to change things and try different methods when you feel you need to.

You can find out more about how to learn Spanish successfully on your own plus the best resources to use and how to use them with the Online Spanish Course, “Study Spanish Solo”. PLUS you get a free workbook with each section to note down all the most useful resources and to track your progress.

 
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