How to learn Spanish. All the resources you need.
Learning some Spanish will make your trip to Mexico a lot more enjoyable, and a lot easier. Because once you head off the tourist streets, you’re going to need it.
To be able to have conversations, get to where you’re going and even just ordering your food.
The more I learn, the more I want to know. It’s addictive. Learning Spanish has made my time in Mexico a lot of fun and I now have Mexican friends who speak no English at all (Although I’m trying to teach them).
So if you’re interested in learning some Spanish before your trip (which I highly recommend) or while you’re already here, here are all the resources you’ll need. Both free and paid.
- Learn with music
- Online courses
- Taking classes
- Free online language exchange.
The only App I’d recommend is DuoLingo. Hands down the best. And free. If you haven’t got it, download it and get started. Starts off from the basic and gets more challenging the more levels you pass. Covers all the topics and tenses. And it’s addictive. A must!!
Learn with music
Lyricstraining.com is an awesome tool for learning Spanish with music. And it’s FREE. It’s a fill in the blanks style of learning while listening to music. Re-listen to the line of the song until you get it the missing word correct, then move onto the next part. I love this website. Select your language, and the type of music you like, then your level of Spanish and away you go.
Free Online websites
This ebook Ventanas Mexico, has everything you need in one place. Stop searching through the web to find all the best free sites to learn Spanish because Kerry Ann Baker has done all the research for us and put together a list of over 60 FREE Spanish learning websites with screen shots, descriptions, links and levels of Spanish. Learn Spanish for free on your own online.
If you’re wanting to invest a little in yourself, these two online courses are my standout picks for Mexican Spanish.
* Be careful when searching for online courses that they are for Latin America and not Spanish for Spain. There is a lot of differences between the two. Both in pronunciation and grammar.
Synergy Spanish. If you’re looking for quick, easy to understand conversation Spanish, Synergy Spanish by Marcus Sanataria is the best one out there. And it’s directly taught for Mexican Spanish with videos. No grammar, just straight out conversation with all the most common used words. This course is for the beginner to intermediate.
Rocket Languages – Spanish, is the complete language course. From the basic words up to advanced level. It teaches you interactively with audio lessons, written texts, games, tests and various other tools. Think of Rosetta Stone style, but better. This course is for every level of Spanish. Sign up for a 1 week free trial and see if it’s something you’d be interested in.
YouTube is a great source for learning Spanish. It just takes some time to sift though and find the right channels to subscribe to. You can find it all, conversation, grammar, beginner to advanced.
Watching videos is a fantastic way to listen and will help you with your pronunciation.
Here are a few of my favourite channels I subscribe to and watch regularly.
Professor Jason – Great thorough and easy to follow classes from an actual Spanish teacher.
Easy languages – Interviews on the streets around Latin America about random topics. Subtitles in English and Spanish. It’s really good for listening to real people speaking Spanish.
Complete Spanish – One professor is teaching a student from the beginning up to advanced with 90 short videos. Skip to the level of Spanish you are at. They’re listening videos that simply explain step by step all verbs, tenses and situations in Spanish.
Butterfly Spanish – A very happy Mexican girl with perfect English teaches on a whiteboard. Talks a lot though.
Spanish pod 101 – Has lessons from absolute beginner to Advanced. Vocabulary and listening practice.
Spanishdict – Lots and lots of lessons from beginner to advanced.
123dialogues – Good slow conversations with English and Spanish subtitles.
Yabla is the perfect way to practice your listening skills. There are 1300+ videos and you can choose from loads of topics to watch videos you are interested in. Play the videos in slow motion to listen and understand them better with subtitles in Spanish and English. Pause to read, click on a word and will give you the definition. It costs $9.95 a month.
They have 6 videos to watch free to see if you like the style. Videos are beginner to advanced-intermediate.
Reading to learn Spanish can be a bit slow. But at the same time, for me, it sinks in more.
Just after I started learning, I bought myself a few kids books and comics at the basic level and found them enjoyable to read. Especially Pepito jokes books for kids. While having google translate on my phone to translate all the words I didn’t understand.
Grammar text books
Similar to reading books, text books also require a bit of motivation. If you have the motivation to read through and do the exercises, it’s a great tool to learn Spanish. With a bit of hard work, your grammar and understanding of the language will improve very quickly.
Easy Spanish Step by Step is a great textbook out there for beginners.
I travel with The Berlitz self-teacher. This book is old, but has it all. It’s full of sentences, phrases and conversations with quizzes at the end of each chapter.
If you’re looking for a travel phrase book, Lonely Planet has one just for Mexico.
When I first arrived to Mexico, I took 6 weeks of classes, 2 hours a day, and my Spanish improved out of sight!!
For me, this is the best way to learn Spanish by far. But also the most expensive. You can take small group classes or private classes that will cost a little bit more.
Should you take Spanish classes in your country or while you are travelling? Well that depends on your time frame. I would definitely say while travelling is more effective. You start practising what you have just leant as soon as you leave the classroom. When taking a class at home, it’s most likely you won’t say a word of Spanish until your next lesson. And it will be more expensive.
Prices of classes in Mexico average about $10 – $12 per hour group class and $14-$17 for private lessons. If you study for more than a week you will most likely get a discount.
Free online language exchange
The most popular and the best website for this is italki.
Italki is a great way to connect with native speaking people. You can add journal entries in your learning language, and it will be corrected by a native speaker. And you can correct people learning English too.
You start make to friends and have private message chats. Then you exchange Skype details and start chatting face to face. There are lots of people who want to learn English, so it’s easy to find language partners. And once you start talking and listening to native speakers, thats when you really start to excel.
So choose one of the above or a combination and get cracking!! It’s very rewarding speaking another language.
Happy Spanish and Happy Travels!!