Learning a new language can be a challenging and rewarding experience. Not only does it allow you to communicate with other people, but it also helps you develop a deep understanding of other cultures. For many Americans, Spanish is the most common second language. In fact, 53 million people in the United States speak Spanish and there are more than 450 million native Spanish speakers across the globe.
If you’re looking for ways to learn Spanish, we’ve got you covered. With this handy guide, you’ll find 6 tips to study Spanish and discover the best techniques for improving your listening, speaking, and writing skills.
6 Tips To Learn and Study Spanish
There are many ways to learn a new language, but the most successful involve reading, speaking, and listening to the language repeatedly. Classroom sessions aim to provide a basis for learning, but you’ll also need to practice outside the classroom to become bilingual. Here are six ways you can study Spanish and advance your language skills.
1. Interact With Native Speakers
The best way to learn Spanish is to work with someone who speaks that language natively. Native speakers use proper pronunciation and can offer advanced skills if you’re trying to learn specific dialects or pronunciation associated with certain Spanish-speaking countries.
Spanish spoken in Mexico is different from Spanish spoken in places like Spain and Argentina. You can look for Spanish tutors and teachers who speak Spanish natively or simply make friends with native speakers. One way to do this is to join your school’s Spanish club or foreign language club. You can also ask your language teacher or school counselor to introduce you to native speakers you can practice your language skills with.
Try to schedule weekly meetings or hangouts where you can speak and practice Spanish. Try to avoid speaking English during these sessions as much as possible.
2. Hire a Tutor
Many students learn Spanish in class with dozens of their peers. Oftentimes, class sizes are large, making it difficult to get one-on-one instruction. Hiring a Spanish tutor is a great way to get personalized Spanish language teaching.
You can choose to hire a tutor to give you in-person lessons or you can work with an online tutoring platform like TutorMe to get Spanish language help. With both methods, you can find a tutor who is a native speaker and can help you master proper pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary. Hiring someone in-person means you’ll have to handle payments and contracts. Online tutoring platforms make it easier by managing payments and scheduling for you so you can focus on learning.
You can find Spanish tutors for all skill and grade levels whether your child is in elementary school or middle school or you’re looking for an advanced Spanish tutor for college-level classes. Tutors can provide long-term language lessons or help out with homework problems and test prep, such as studying for the SAT II Spanish test.
3. Spend Time Abroad
One of the best ways to learn a foreign language is to spend as much time as possible hearing and speaking it. What better way to do that than to spend time in a country in Latin America or Europe that speaks Spanish! If you’re in college, look into study abroad sessions or language schools in places like Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, or Spain. In most cases, you can choose to spend as little as one month or as much as one year abroad.
High school students can also participate in study abroad semesters through organizations like Rotary, CIEE, and AFS. These programs are chaperoned and managed to provide study and housing support to students so parents can rest easy knowing their child is getting a world-class education while staying safe abroad.
While abroad, try to immerse yourself in the language and the culture. While you may make friends with people who speak English, try to speak in Spanish as much as possible. Practice makes perfect and when you speak in Spanish full time, you’ll be more likely to master proper pronunciation and listening skills.
4. Watch Movies and Listen to Music in Spanish
One of the hardest parts of learning Spanish is transitioning from classroom listening to participating in real-life conversations. In Spanish language course classrooms, words are often enunciated and Spanish teachers speak slowly to ensure comprehension.
In the real world, native Spanish speakers often speak quickly, skipping syllables or using slang that isn’t taught in Spanish classes. To support your learning, try listening to Spanish music or podcasts to get a feel for the rhythm and intonation of the language. You can also watch Spanish language movies. If that’s too advanced for your skillset, start by watching your favorite movies in Spanish with English subtitles.
5. Support Language Skills With Apps
In between tutoring sessions or online Spanish courses, using a language learning app like Duolingo can help you practice. Language apps can be used on Android and Apple phones as well as on desktops.
These apps give you points and prizes for completing lessons, making it a fun way to get in a few extra minutes — or hours — of practice. Most of these apps offer free versions that help with the basics, or you can sign up for a premium version to get more support when it comes to your Spanish studies.
6. Use Flashcards
Language learners benefit from repetition, particularly when it comes to learning new vocabulary. Jot down Spanish words on flashcards and review them a few times per week to start learning Spanish. To test your skills, you can guess the meaning of each word and use it in a sentence.
You can also create categories of flashcards to highlight false cognates — words that are similar in English but have a different meaning. Your flashcard categories should be organized around words that are similar or have a relation to one another. Some categories you can use include adjectives, verbs, and adverbs. Alternatively, you can categorize content based on topics like animals, words used for asking for directions, countries, weather, or telling time.
Another way to support your Spanish learning is to use flashcards around your house. Write down the word for bathroom, and tape the flashcard to your bathroom door. You can label everything from rooms to light fixtures and home decor items. You’ll naturally see these words as you move around your house, practicing even when you’re not sitting down specifically to study Spanish.
Become Bilingual With TutorMe
At TutorMe, we make it easy to learn a second language (or a third or fourth!). Our tutors are highly qualified and can help you learn romance languages like Spanish, French, and Portuguese or common Slavic languages like Hebrew and German. You can also help with foreign language homework or dive into more complicated languages like Mandarin, Arabic, and Russian. You’ll also find excellent tutors for less common languages, including Telugu, Hungarian, Tibetan, and Marathi.
Getting tutoring help is quick, easy, and affordable. Just choose what subject you need help with and our algorithm will match you with the perfect tutor in under 30 seconds. You can sign up for monthly plans to support long-term language learning, and pay as little as $26 per month. Alternatively, you can choose a pay-as-you-go plan and get last-minute help on a project or quick one-on-one time to clear up any confusion.
Our proprietary lesson space ensures you get the most out of each foreign language session. The shared whiteboard makes it easy to learn the spelling of new words, figure out Spanish grammar conjugation, or practice a new alphabet. The video chat functionality enables you to see a native speaker tutor and identify how they form their mouth to produce certain sounds. Plus, you can share files and documents, making it easy to create flashcards and work on assignments with your tutor.
When you sign up to learn Spanish online with TutorMe, you’ll enjoy an interactive lesson space that makes learning fun. Best of all, you’ll progress quickly since you’ll work only with the highest quality tutors.