Updated: Mar 23, 2018
This post is for those who are really interested in becoming fluent in Spanish…or well, in another language, since many of the tips can also be used for other languages.
Many times people think that the only way to become truly fluent in another language is to shell out a good chunk of money in traveling there, put your work life on hold and spend a good few months there hoping to absorb it…well that’s not the only way!
But before you embark in a journey of discovering a life in Spanish in your own backyard, you first must find 3 main goals for why you need to learn it, not just wishes, actual goals, so you feel the need to actually learn it and not think of it as a “nice-to-have”.
1. Stop watching TV and movies in English By now almost every movie has the option of Spanish audio and/or Spanish subtitles. If you are a beginner, start with just the subtitles but if you feel like you can handle it then go for both Spanish audio and subtitles. It takes a few tries, so I recommend you do this only with your favorite movies so you don’t get tired of watching them. Startrek, anyone?
2. Communicate in Spanish Trying to find that pan to cook on? Say it in Spanish. Even if it ends up being a different sentence…or even if it is the baby talk version of a sentence. It still counts!
3. Listen to Spanish radio You might be interested in learning to speak so you can communicate with your Dominican or Cuban friends, however I do not recommend listening to those countries’ radio stations due to their fast speech, unless you are in the advanced stages of the language. If you are beginner, I recommend Mexican radio since Mexican speech is a little bit clearer and slower. A radio station that I listen to all the time is www.amorfm.mx.
4. Listen to Spanish music Spanish music is a whole new world, full of poetry, composers, rhythms and of course super famous singers that you have never heard of. I suggest you start with slow songs though, but if you want to take it one step further, you can select five songs depending on your most common moods, so you never run out of Spanish music to listen to. Some singers that I recommend given their clear diction and clear lyrics are: Luis Miguel, Laura Pausini (she sings in Italian too) and Ricardo Montaner. My favorite singers are Alejandro Sanz, Fernando Delgadillo and Ricardo Arjona but their poetry is a little tricky for Beginner students.
5. Make friends and get involved Nowadays, there are people from every corner of the world physically living near you. It’s just a matter of finding them. How do you find them? Get out there: go to the local Spanish store (there's one at Salem and Hwy 2), join a professional or social club, go on Meetup.com, ask on Facebook and invite them for a coffee (we all know at least one other Spanish speaking person in the area). If you would like to volunteer, check out www.networksforimmigrants.ca.
There are more tips that we can tell you about, but let’s try these first. Hopefully you will start your journey of Spanish immersion relatively painlessly and of course, if you would like to also take lessons, we are here for you! Love, Spanish in Durham.