¿Hablas español? 5 tips to improve your Spanish while studying

Having lived in Valencia, one of the more conservative Spanish cities for almost a year now has indeed led to the acquisition of the Spanish Language becoming a major goal of mine, based on my desire to live comfortably within the city for the next four years all the while being prepared for my third year at the university when it will be impervious for me to have an appropriate grasp on the language that will enable me to interact with dental patients accordingly. As a result, I have compiled this list of five essential tips for learning the Spanish language as quickly and effectively as possible while living in right here in the heart of it all in Spain.

Tip 1: Expose yourself to translated texts

This first tip actually occurred accidently after my purchasing of a Judge Dredd comic book that unbeknownst to me had been translated in to Spanish, however instead of returning it I decided to keep the book and also buy the English version using the book as a tool to learn Spanish. Now, I am aware that buying two of everything may not be an optimal choice though, it has truly helped me to come to grips with the language much faster than I thought I ever would, utilizing texts that I am interested in alongside their Spanish counterparts in order to better my understanding of the language.

The same could be said for movie subtitles (which I will discuss later), however the studying of static texts provides for a much more stable and steady ground for which to gradually and moderately improve your comprehension of the language.

Tip 2: Try to make Spanish speaking friends

Something that I have recently found to have been paramount to my learning of the language are my numerous Spanish speaking friends and acquaintances that I interact with on the daily basis, how I have used this to my advantages is by simply asking them to speak to me only in Spanish whilst I may reply in a mixture of both English or Spanish. The utility of this tactic is that you could then be placed in to an incredibly comfortable and gratifying environment to acquire the language where you will not feel stressed and under scrutiny, however that will have its advantages too. This will then bring me to my next point.

Tip 3: Interact with the Locals

Recently, I have consciously tried to place myself in situations where I need to speak Spanish in order to succeed at my original intent. Tip is, don’t be afraid of committing mistakes and force yourself to use Spanish in everyday situations. Step by step, you will improve your ability to deal with everyday written and spoken Spanish.

Tip 4: Watch English movies with Spanish subtitles and vice versa

Now this may come off as the oldest trick in the book, though there is a reason that it has become one and that is due to the fact that it has been immensely effective in helping people learn every conceivable language on the face of the earth.

While watching a movie in the English language and paying attention to Spanish subtitles is the more effective manner with which one can learn the language, as you would not find yourself getting lost in the subtitles and ignoring the voices in an otherwise Spanish movie. Taking the opposite approach also has its pros as you will become more accustomed to Spanish inflections and how the language sounds in general. It is good to keep in mind that you usually learn better whilst you are being entertained as is the case with watching movies. Thus, this makes this method one of the foremost effective methods through which one can boost their understanding of any language be it Spanish or anything else.

Tip 5: Translate your surroundings

Aquarium_Valencia_CEU_University
The Aquarium, one of the main attractions in Valencia!

Take a look at your immediate surroundings, which may include where you live, the work you do the topic you study and why you study it and try to learn to speak about these things in Spanish, because you know that at some point or another you will have to do so. This will give you a clear goal to work towards other than a haphazardly basic knowledge of the language as a whole which will thus cut out all presently extraneous information and guide you towards a more focused learning experience, the rest will come in later. After you have done this make sure that you use it, your consistent usage of the language in this context will help you develop a more comfortable “feel” for the language (for lack of a better term) thus making it exponentially easier for you to learn more of the language once you come across new situations where you will need to expand your understanding of Spanish.

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