Learning to speak Spanish is a journey. Fortunately there are many aides you can use to learn how you can start doing it. Here is a simple overview of what I consider the best ways to start this adventure.
Using Immersion as a Tool
The best way to acquire a language is through immersion. To do so you don’t need to travel to a Spanish speaking country for a year although it is ideal. Instead you can find a way to be in a Spanish speaking country for a summer season or another time of the year where traveling can be most convenient to you.
Look for volunteer programs in South American countries or Spain. I have heard of programs in Ecuador, Colombia, Mexico, and Costa Rica that have been very successful.
Look for programs that provide a curriculum at the basic, intermediate or advanced level paired with an internship. Lodging can be part of the program and it is more affordable this way.
If you have some cash to spare venture into paid immersion programs. They are designed to really increase your knowledge and command of the language. These programs give you also time to travel within the country on the weekends or let you free after 4 or 5pm for you to explore the town.
Sites like Don Quijote, Spanish Abroad, and others provide complete packages for weeks and months of Spanish immersion in several countries including Spain.
Using Spanish Learning Software
No time for immersing into another culture? Your second best way to learn and master Spanish is by choosing the right Spanish software.
First assess your type of learning and define your resources to find the perfect fit. Check this article on how to learn Spanish to get a better idea of how to choose the right materials and software for you.
I have researched and evaluated several Spanish learning software programs and I recommend Tell Me More as the most extensive Spanish language learning software solution available in the market at this point. I also like to recommend Rocket Spanish because of the clarity and quality of the language in this program, which is Chilean.
Both programs are different. Tell Me More has a whole set of tools from voice recognition, to tests, graphs, CDs, etc. It was designed with a complete approach to learning Spanish.
Instead Rocket Spanish is more informal. It has an MP3 format, excellent sound, fun and simple screens and it is more conversational. Best of all you can try them both and decide if you like them or not with NO compromise.
Make sure you read my article on the best Spanish learning software to make an educated decision. You can also check specific characteristics of Tell Me More Spanish in my article Spanish software review where I talk about the number one solution for learning Spanish using software.
There are also many free online Spanish learning courses. I looked at several of them and I thought your really get what you pay for. Don’t get me wrong, many have valuable content but their sequence, tools, and environment are not the ideal for learning Spanish. This opinion comes from a Spanish tutor, teacher and native speaker.
Best Spanish Learning Software
My Reviews of Tell Me More & Rocket Spanish
Wanting to complement your Spanish learning adventure by learning Spanish ahead or after coming back? Check out my top 2 recommendations for Spanish learning software. I tested them myself and remember, I am a native Spanish speaker from Colombia, which has one of the best Spanish you can find in South America!
Complement With Games and Activities That Make You Speak
The truth is I have several students who knew Spanish BUT could not speak a word. This is because they never overcame the terror phase in learning to speak Spanish without being concerned with what people may think of them when they spoke Spanish.
Do yourself a favor, go to cultural activities, parties, fairs, carnivals, and other social events that include Spanish speaking activities and people you can meet to practice.
Continue training your ear with music, Shakira, Juanes, Pablo Milanes, and many other artists have produced exquisite music in Spanish that come with lyrics you can follow and learn pronunciation from.
Share your experience about a method, a school, a software program, an insight or a question about learning to speak Spanish here. I will be glad to answer.
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