4 useful tips to learn Spanish


Starting to learn a language is always exciting. The prospect of being able to interact with locals while on holidays is something many of us aspire to do one day. In order to achieve this, all you need is a bit of patience, perseverance and organisation.
(Note: the url links provided are mere examples, I am not being paid by those companies to put them here)
In order to succeed in learning a language, and most importantly, keeping it up and hopefully not ditching it after a couple of weeks, here are my personal tips:
1. Choose textbooks or language apps that you find enjoyable
Buy every single self-teaching book you find on the bookshop shelf. First do some research over the Internet, download sample units from virtual bookshops first to see what textbook you find more appealing to your learning style and needs (such as the European Bookshop). The same applies to free apps. It is very tempting to download all the free trials, however, it can be feel overwhelming and the way in which they are structured can be very different.
Ask friends if they own a Spanish language book that they don’t use anymore, borrow several methods from the local library and try to use a couple of units if you’re learning on your own to check that it is the right book for you. Some charity shops will certainly have the odd self teach book waiting for you at a bargain price. I am not against ebooks by any means but I find that learning on paper is far more effective even though you’ll have to play the CD’s or the sound files from your computer or phone separately, etc… . Also, do ask friends what apps or podcasts they have used and enjoyed, word of mouth can be more reliable than the 5 star rating next to the "download" button.
2. Set yourself realistic expectations
Try to learn too much to quickly specially when you are starting.
Learn gradually, setting yourself small goals weekly, make sure you strike a balance between passive skills (reading and listening) and active skills (speaking and writing).
3. Choose how you want to learn
Do you enjoy using pen and paper?
Then buy a notebook to jot down new vocabulary, verbs and expressions that are new and revise them from time to time, use them when speaking and when writing sentences (a teacher of mine used to say “use it or lose it!”.
Depending on your learning style you can divide the page in two with a line or several sections, use different colour pens and highlighters... If you are a visual learner you can always create a Post It wall that you can update and change as you are learning.
More of a tech person?
There are many of websites with mobile phone friendly versions out there to help you build your own vocabulary lists and revise them. The most popular and free ones are Memrise and Quizlet. They allow you to revise vocabulary on one theme at a time and to create your own language lists.
To listen to language in action, there are many podcasts available in app stores and if you have a Netflix subscription or similar remember you can set the audio and subtitles to different languages!
4. Join a local course, language exchange or an online community to practice what you have learned

There are day and evening lessons for adults who would like to start or advance their language knowledge closer to your home than you think. Browse the local college website or look in Nextdoor, UK Tutors or similar pages where tutors advertise themselves. And if you check in good old Facebook you will find for sure a language exchange buddy!