Most of us have a fascination with foreign cultures, beliefs, tradition, food, festivals, etc. It is a great idea to use travel as a method of learning about these fascinations, as well as a new language. However, it is important to learn the basics of the language e.g. asking for directions, ordering food at a hotel or restaurant, greetings, etc ., before you go. It will keep you away from embracing situation or from asking everyone if they understood your mother tongue.
A few tips are necessary when using traveling to learn Spanish:
Sign up for a Spanish Program
Attending a class or Spanish language program is advisable as a beginner or for someone eager to learn the language. It will teach you the basics of Spanish e.g. grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation, before starting your traveling adventure to become fully immersed in the language. Be sure to pick a learning program that provides practical and everyday conversation use.
Downloading audio programs and podcasts gives you the opportunity of getting accustomed to hearing the language. This way, Spanish does not seem so foreign as soon as you are on the ground. Practice makes perfect. Attempt to use the little you have learned with your Spanish friends on the streets, market, etc.
Travel to Remote Spanish Areas
Nobody is bad at learning a new language. People experience disappointments in their learning abilities because of their lack of exercising their skills. Many people travel for various reasons – holiday, work, study, relocating, etc. Visiting the remote areas of Spain is one of the best tips because when you are there, understanding Spanish is a necessity and not a luxury. You will have no option of speaking your native language when you visit the remote rural areas or small towns of Spain. You may hear a lot of Spanish curse words and phrases when you are in the rural areas, so be prepared!
You will ‘eat, drink and sleep’ Spanish. Everything from your waking up and retiring to bed at night will be Spanish. Your temptation to use English will be next to zero because nobody knows English. Look for a host family so that you can surround yourself with Spanish. You will surprise yourself with your Spanish-learning abilities by the end of your travel.
Listening and Imitating the Spanish Language
Listening to a foreign language is difficult. Trying to concentrate for a long time leaves an individual physically and mentally drained. Nonetheless, practicing listening to Spanish is important in understanding and improving naturally. Active listening enables people to grasp bits and pieces of phrases, use of common repetition, vocabulary, pronunciation, etc.
Practicing your listening skills requires some attention. As much as a person has gone through the familiarization stages of learning Spanish through a classroom or program. Looking directly at the person you are in a conversation with enables a learner to ‘lip read’ and see their facial impressions. Nodding your head whether you positively or negatively agree with the discussion is as well significant. Distracting yourself from a conversation, by staring at objects or people around, derails you from further learning the Spanish language.
In addition to the above, mimicking is a practical technique applicable to everybody in need of learning a new language. Apart from offering an individual mental support in various pronunciations, it assists in conversing with what a person has heard. Mimicking creates a happy atmosphere especially when you are in a Spanish-speaking country. Nonetheless, children are prone to capturing a language quicker than older people, but it should not deter you from pursuing your dream.
Become a Pre-School Learner
After learning your basic Spanish-speaking lessons, you have just landed in a Spanish-speaking country. It is natural to try and use some of the words you learned and find that they have evaporated into thin air. The words that are applicable are limited and do not add up to anything sensible! Nonetheless, it becomes easier to communicate when you speak using those words by making your inner child come out (we all carry this aspect in ourselves).
Talk and ask anything with a few easy words. Avoid slang because your objective is communicating. Use as many broken sentences as possible. The natives will pick out your intentions and reciprocate accordingly. Your pre-school words you began with will eventually mold themselves with your communicating skills over time.
Refrain Using Your Native Language
Most tourist attraction areas in Spain have many travel consultants, hotels, restaurant, tour guides, etc. At a glance, you will notice that English is their mode of communication. Resist using the English language. Firstly, most of the staffs will start treating you like one of their own (they will not be exorbitant with your dollars). You will as well receive the best service and everybody will want your company because they know they will learn some English from you in return. The circle begins again; you continue learning new Spanish, and they keep learning new English. It is a win win!
Get out there and have a pint or a glass of wine. People spend hours in social gatherings – eating, drinking and dancing. It is when they exchange stories of their youth, encounters, adventures, business, family, the list is endless. Such aura gives individuals the freedom of making mistakes while using the Spanish language without any self-consciousness.
There are various methods of learning Spanish including videos, listening to the radio/television and so forth. But traveling beats them all according to an uncountable number of learners.
About the Author:
Eldon Mirjah is the creator of Gritty Spanish, which is a series of urban stories in Spanish. The stories are voice acted by Gritty Latinos with different accents. Gritty Spanish includes pdf documents of each story in English and Spanish side by side. It’s an amazing product designed to help improve your Spanish listening and reading comprehension.