'm Dutch and I teach English to kids. I fully immersed myself in the English language starting from a young age, which is why it feels really natural to me. I’m still working on my Spanish, it’s definitely not good enough yet, but I can see that the immersion method has been working once again. I also use this method when I teach.
So how do you apply that to yourself and how does that work? It’s actually really simple: Learning by immersion means that you hear, speak and learn the language in authentic everyday contexts. Because of that, you learn the new language in a very natural way, without any pressure or vocabulary stress.
Of course, it’s a great idea to take Spanish classes. But if you can’t afford that right now, these hacks can definitely help you.
Watch Spanish shows & movies
Nothing wrong with being a couch potato from time to time, and now you have a great excuse. Entertainment and exercise for the brain, sounds good, right? So put on something comfy and watch some Spanish shows/movies with English subtitles. Latin American Spanish can be different and therefore confusing, so if you’ve just started learning, make it easy for yourself and stick to European Spanish. If your English is very good and you feel like you understand some Spanish, it can really help to do it the other way around as well. Watch something in English with Spanish subtitles.
Some recommendations: Las chicas de cable, La casa de papel, Elite, Desorden que Dejas, Valeria.
Meet up with Spanish speaking people
In my article about how to make friends, I wrote about Bumble and language exchanges, if you want to know more about that, check it out here.
This is a great way to learn Spanish too! It’s even better if these people don’t speak any language that you speak. In this way you’re forced to speak Spanish. It’s way too easy to switch to English, which is what I do all the time with my Spanish friends and that’s not helpful at all.
Is it frustrating not being able to speak anything other than Spanish if you don’t really know how? Yes, absolutely. Is it worth it? Oh hell yes. Can you speak with your hands and feet? Of course! This has been the quickest way for me to learn Spanish.
I’ve also been going on dates with Spanish men, I’m not complaining ;-)
Duolingo is the most popular language-learning platform and the most downloaded education app in the world. The company’s mission is to make education free, fun, and accessible to all. Duolingo is designed to feel like a game and scientifically proven to be effective.
I can definitely say that it’s a super fun and interactive way to learn. It really does feel like a game and doesn’t even feel like you’re learning. But you are! You learn how to write, read, speak and listen, which are all the language skills you need.
Change your phone settings
Change the language of your phone to Spanish. This might be a little inconvenient in the beginning, but as long as you know the word: idioma (language), you can always change it if you’re feeling lost in translation.
Youtube: Spanish with Vicente
Spanish with Vicente: this is a youtube channel of a Spanish teacher called Vicente. He teaches the language in a really fun and natural way. He also uses the immersion method. From common expressions, grammar, vocabulary, how to speak like a native, to what not to say. This is a great tool anyway, there are lots of channels out there. Just find one that suits you!
Take that bubble language bath, mucha suerte!