Finding time to learn Spanish is going to be high up on your to-do list if you’re planning on moving to Spain. If you’re a complete beginner it’s a scary task but if you make the effort to start before you leave the UK you will thank yourself later.
Not only will it help you sort things out when you get here, such as appointments at the bank and talking to plumbers etc, but it will also give your kids a head start at school.
So, if you are going to start learning Spanish soon, here are some things that have helped us along the way…
Use a language app
There are so many apps out there to help you learn a new language, that you’re bound to find one that suits you.
Having an app on your phone is great as you can use it any time you get a spare 5 minutes, like in your lunch break or waiting for the kids to come out of school.
We use DuoLingo which is easy to follow, has quick lessons that only take a couple of minutes at a time, and lets you learn Spanish for free.
You can find more great apps for learning Spanish on this list.
Get a Spanish tutor
There are some things that you just won’t learn from apps alone, so a tutor is the best way to learn Spanish quickly. Spanish lessons for kids from a tutor is also a great idea if you want to get your kids ready for school in Spain.
If you want to have lessons face to face with a Spanish tutor you can use a website like Tutorful or ask in a local Facebook group.
There are also lots of native Spanish speakers offering online lessons vis Skype or Zoom, these can often work out cheaper than having a lesson in person.
Learn Spanish together
Having someone to learn with can make learning a language much more fun. Help each other out, talk to each other in Spanish, and test each other on new words. Having someone holding you accountable for practising every day may also make you stick at it!
Play family games in Spanish
When you all need to learn Spanish it’s a great idea to do some learning together. Lotto (Spanish bingo) is a good game for learning numbers, you can either buy a Bingo game or just make your own with numbers written on paper and hand drawn Bingo cards.
Uno is a fun family game and can be easily converted into a Spanish card game as long as you know your numbers and colours.
We’ve bought Spanish Pictionary which is a really good game to learn Spanish vocabulary, you can make your own buy just writing down Spanish words on pieces of paper, animals and food are always good to start with.
Listen to Spanish podcasts
Understanding spoken Spanish is really hard and not something you can learn very well from an app. Having a Spanish podcast or radio station on in the background while you’re doing things like housework can really help you to get used to listening to and understanding Spanish. There are lots of different levels of podcasts, including lots teaching Spanish for beginners.
We have a list of Spanish podcasts in this guide.
Talk to yourself in Spanish
First sign of madness? Maybe, but it also helps with learning to speak Spanish! Once you’ve mastered the basics talk to yourself in Spanish as much as possible. Say what you are doing “Estoy limpiando el baño” (I’m cleaning the bathroom) or what you need “necesito una bebida” (I need a drink) to get used to different words and phrases.
Label things around you
A great way to learn Spanish vocabulary is to stick labels on things around the house, for example la silla (chair), la puerta (door), el escritorio (desk). The more you see the words the easier you will remember them.
If you go weeks without doing anything you will soon forget the Spanish words you’ve already learnt. Consistency is the key and even just 10 minutes every day can make a bigger difference than cramming for an hour once a week.
Speak to native Spanish speakers
We realised very quickly that speaking to real life Spanish people is very different to using apps and listening to podcasts! It’s a really good idea to find a native Spanish speaker to practice with so you can learn Spanish in Spain. If you join a group on Facebook you should be able to easily find a Spanish person who wants to practice their English, this way you can help each other out for free.
Remember that you’re not going to be fluent in Spanish in a few weeks, or even a few months. Some days you might struggle and feel like you haven’t learnt anything for a few days but this is normal. Go easy on yourself and try to have fun learning so it doesn’t feel like a chore. If you feel stuck, go back to some of the easier things you’ve already learnt to review them before moving on to harder lessons.
Hopefully these tips will help you to get started on learning Spanish so that by the time you move to Spain you know enough to talk to the locals!
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