Despite the fact that summer is a busy time – it is also the ideal time to focus on learning a language – many people are off work, have more free time and the weather is better to get out and about doing different things. As most people learning a new language know, if you take a break from learning you really notice the difference when you come back to it and find that you have forgotten many things that you knew so well before. This is why it is really important to keep your learning going over the summer months. Here we will look at some fun ways you can keep learning over the summer:
Book an intensive course for a week or more and study Spanish all day every day. Most courses include cultural trips and activities so you learn about the country and the people as well as the language.
Don Quijote School: www.donquijote.org
In Spain for example there is the Don Quijote School. Their courses are accredited by the Instituto Cervantes. You can choose your type of course as they have “youth” courses, “Spanish for over 50s” or more specialised courses such as “Business Spanish”, “Spanish for Health Professionals” or courses to prepare you for the “DELE exam”.
You can even choose to stay with a Spanish family during your course which is ideal as you will gain even more of an insight into the Spanish way of life as well as having to speak and understand Spanish all the time.
Spanish In Nature: www.spanishinnature.com
This school is based in the beautiful National Park in the Guadarrama mountains surrounding Madrid, just 30 minutes from the centre. You can mix studying Spanish with activities in Madrid such as taking a flamenco dance, visiting the Bernabeu stadium, attending a cooking class as well as activities in the National Park.
The good thing about a Spanish Immersion course is that you will gain fluency fast, you will meet like-minded people who are having the same struggles as you learning the language and find out their tips for getting over obstacles.
Study Abroad Spanish: http://www.studyabroadspanish.com/ – is a directory to help you find the best course for you and what is good is that it also lists schools in South American countries as well as just schools in Spain.
You can continue studying on the beach, lazing by the hotel pool or having a drink on the terrace by reading a local magazine, reading a foreign novel, newspaper or even doing your Spanish homework! You get first-hand experience of using the language as you will be listening and speaking to native speajers of the language. You will be surrounded by the language every day on signs, adverts, shop windows, at the hotel and also simply by listening in on conversations around you!
Summer is the ideal time to get out and about for a walk, run or bike ride. To make this more interesting listen to some Spanish on your phone or ipod at the same time.
Hosting a foreign student and you will bring another culture into your home, allowing you to learn about another country and language and build a relationship with someone across the globe. Examples of organisations that organise exchange student hosting are:
EF Exchange year: https://welcome.efexchangeyear.org/
World Language School: www.worldschool.co.uk
Host UK: www.hostuk.org
Watching films is an excellent way to improve your listening and to train your ear to the language. Invite people who are also learning Spanish, are Spanish or are interested in learning other languages.
Some Spanish films that are particularly good for learners are:
La Lengua de las mariposas
Como agua para chocolate
By watching Spanish films you will see how the language sounds in day-to-day conversation away from textbooks, the colloquial expressions and slang they use and the different accents and it will help you improve your pronunciation.
Read the subtitles below if you get stuck in places understanding what they are saying – especially if there is a lot of background noise or if several people are talking at once.
Even better – watch a film you already know that has been dubbed into Spanish as you will already have a better understanding of the storyline so you won’t need to concentrate as much on what is going on, you can focus on the language being used.
Have a tapas night where everyone brings a different tapas dish. Follow a video in Spanish on Youtube to make your dish.
Here is a Youtube video to help you prepare sangria: https://youtu.be/Nn9WicidzD8
You can also find a language exchange partner via Conversation Exchange – you can either browse the adverts to find someone of a similar age and with similar interests or post your own advert for other people to contact you.
Find events related with Spanish music, art, gastronomy and science via the website:
Spanish culture and Science in the UK – http://spainculturescience.co.uk/events/
Events in the UK this summer include:
Joaquin Sabina: 14th June – Royal Albert Hall
Spanish Song & Zarzuela Gala Concert: 23rd June – Cervantes Theatre, London
Visual Arts: Juan delGado: Altered Landscapes: 17 June – 6 August, Mezzannine Gallery, Nottingham
Fashion exhibition: Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion: 27 May 2017 – 18 February 2018: Victoria & Albert Museum