I came to Mexico with almost zero Spanish speaking ability. Today marks my fifth week and I wanted to share some tips for learning Spanish.
If you have any good tips for learning Spanish please comment with your advice at the bottom of this post!
1. Study Daily – Learning a language requires daily attention. Study 30 minutes a day reviewing new material and you will see substantial results.
2. Flashcard App – Why use paper flashcards when you can put all your flashcards on your phone? It is easier, faster, and you will have the flashcards on you at all times. Want to study while you are on the bus or train? No problem, your flashcards are in your pocket. I recommend using the quizlet app. You can find more info on quizlet here.
3. Write the conjugations – I have found that the best way to understand what is going on in a conversation is to understand verbs. Verbs can be confusing because they can be conjugated so many different ways. However, if you learn how to conjugate a verb in the present, past, and future tenses it is like learning 20 new words! The more you conjugate the easier and easier it will get because many of the verbs have the same conjugations. I think this is the best way to learn the most vocabulary that will help your conversational Spanish. Therefore whenever you learn new verbs write down the conjugations. Writing verb conjugations over and over has been one of the most effective tools to help me learn Spanish thus far. Here is a link to the top 100 most used Spanish verbs with their conjugations. 100 Most Used Spanish Verbs & Conjugations
4. Learn the material in class before you try to teach yourself new stuff – Sometimes students that feel like they aren’t learning a lot in class try to compensate by teaching themselves additional things outside of class. I personally think this is the wrong approach. Make sure you have the basics down before you start trying to learn additional material. It is like building a house, you need to lay the foundation before you can start making it look pretty.
5. Speak as much as you can outside the classroom! – Everyone says the best way to learn a language is to immerse yourself in it. If you have the opportunity to study abroad the best thing you can do is try to speak with native Spanish speakers. If you aren’t studying abroad I would still recommend speaking Spanish with your fellow classmates and anyone you encounter that speaks Spanish. This is the best way to actually learn how to speak Spanish.
6. When you get frustrated take a deep breath – You will get frustrated. It is impossible to prevent. However, how long you let that feeling linger will determine how quickly you will be able to return to efficiently learning Spanish. Frustration is only a wall that prevents you from learning Spanish. As long as you are trying to learn Spanish, you have to let the feelings of frustration go.
7. Take it bit by bit – You aren’t going to learn it all at once and sometimes you will feel like you are not learning anything at all. Everyday you have to go into it with the mindset that you just want to learn a little bit, just what is in front of you. If you go in with the mindset that you want to learn it all you will get overwhelmed. Soon all the little steps you are taking will begin to turn into long strides. Here is one of my favorite quotes that I totally believe in, especially when it comes to learning Spanish. “Great works are performed not by strength, but perseverance” – Samuel Johnson
In the end it is all about your mindset. If you are staying focused, working hard, and ignoring feelings of frustration you will learn Spanish faster than you ever thought imaginable.
Hope you enjoyed these tips for learning Spanish and please comment if you have any thoughts or suggestions about learning a language!
Davis M Craig