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How to learn Spanish while you are travelling?

Planning on traveling to Latinamerica soon and want to be able to say more than just ‘la cuenta, por favor‘ (check, please)? Here are three engaging ways to learn or practice Spanish before your trip (that won’t send you to sleep) and will let you have more natural and fluent conversations with locals.

WATCH VIDEOS IN SPANISH

1. series and movies to learn spanish

You can choose between videos that are specially designed for studying Spanish or just videos that you would like to watch, remember that when practicing a language you must have a good time, so always try to choose materials that are interesting to you and catch your attention. If possible, avoid long videos and ensure that they have a certified transcript in Spanish. Always get used to listening to the video without referring to the text and listen to it more than once before you start working with it.  Here are a few steps to follow so that your activities will have effective results. 

  1. Listen to the video: a few times, at least three times or until you understand the sentence you want to work on. 
  2. Choose a part of the video: it can be any part, the introduction, a dialogue, a message, etc. 
  3. Listen carefully to the words you want to write. 
  4. Write the sentences you have chosen. 
  5. Listen to the video again and pay attention to the phrases you have written and check if what you have written is correct. 
  6. Check your answers with the Spanish transcript. 
  7. Look up the words you don’t understand in a Spanish dictionary.
  8. If after all these steps you still don’t understand the phrases, decode them part by part, translating them into your language. 

I advise you to have a diary ✍️ to write down the words you want to practice.  Choose two or three words or expressions that you have learned with this exercise and write them down so that you can use them in a later conversation (I use a whiteboard where I write down the words that I want to learn).

SPANISH MUSIC AS YOU EXPLORE

2. Listen to Spanish music wherever you are.

Now let’s try to do the same activity but without visual materials, as you already know, it’s quite different watching a video than listening to audio. Non-verbal expressions or even lip movements, help us to decode the message, being easier for us to understand the context. 

So, we’ll do the same exercise but now with a song in Spanish that you like and of which you have the lyrics. 

  1. Listen to the song: a few times, like with the video, at least three times or until you understand the phrases you want to practice.
  2. Write down the phrases that catch your attention and which you want to learn.
  3. Listen to the song again and pay attention to the phrases you wrote and review them.
  4. Check your answers with the Spanish lyrics. 
  5. Look up the words you don’t understand in a Spanish dictionary. 
  6. If after all these steps you still don’t understand the phrases, decode part by part, translating them into your language. 

With the songs, we have something called «the chorus»: phrases that are constantly repeated but often have little sense because they are written in a metaphorical style.  Try not to translate into your language even if it is a bit complicated to understand the meaning and remember that the main objective of this exercise is to recognize the spoken words.

Check out my playlist here!

SPANISH PODCAST FOR LEARNERS

3. Learning on the Go with a Spanish podcast

Spanish podcasts are perfect if you want to learn Spanish, but don’t have a Spanish-speaking person who can chat with you 24/7 in their native tongue. Try to look for a podcast that is not so long, if you don’t find one, do the exercise with only a part of it. 

The principal benefits of Spanish podcasts are:

  • You can learn at your own speed
  • You are hearing native speakers speaking real Spanish
  • You will learn how the words are being used

How to practice Spanish with a podcast? Simple, always keep in mind the steps I mentioned above. You should have all the material in advance, in this case, try to have a transcript of the podcast you are going to listen to, and follow all the above steps: listen, pause, check, write and listen again. 

Try as much as possible to choose materials with the Spanish accent that you want to practice, if you want to practice with Latin American accents then I suggest you look for podcasts recorded by locals or on the other hand, if you want to strengthen your understanding of Spanish from Spain, I suggest you look for materials in Peninsular Spanish. 

Check out this podcasts! 7 Really good podcast to practice LISTENING

What do you think? WHICH OF THESE THREE TECHNIQUES DO YOU LIKE THE MOST TO PRACTICE SPANISH?

I will love to read your comments!

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Abrazos y hasta pronto

Giane

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