Spain is a beautiful place--a storied country of stone castles, snow-capped mountains, vast monuments, and sophisticated cities! And if you're ready to get going, you can practice Spanish before you go!
Everyone will remember their days walking down those lovely streets and greeting those smiling people. Yet, many people ruin those first impressions by coming to Spain without worrying about improving or trying to practice Spanish.
When they finally arrive, the experience isn't as rich as it could be, and they may even run into translation problems. Years later, such stories may seem funny and recalling them may give you a good laugh.
But when it is actually happening to you, you can feel horribly ashamed of being so careless and wish you'd taken the time to practice Spanish.
Here’s some helpful information on how to practice your speaking and grammar skills before going to Spain. If you practice Spanish, you'll definitely avoid getting into any embarrassing situations!
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1. Practice Spanish Grammar First
Do you think you know Spanish grammar? Are you really sure? Yes, we've all heard that Spanish is one of the easiest languages to learn, but please, be sure you double checked all of those rules.
Many students applying to Spanish schools (colleges, universities, etc.) think I’ll do my admission essay easily and I won’t really need grammar after that! They’ll understand me anyway! Don’t fool yourself! Practice Spanish, practice your grammar--you’ll need it on the everyday basis. Here are some ways to practice Spanish grammar and make it easy:
・ Consistent approach. Spend for 10-15 minutes a day mastering your Spanish grammar. Start 1-2 months before you go. It isn't too scary, is it? Only 15 minutes a day and you'll be much better when you are ready to leave. You can use any kind of educational material: a textbook or internet resources. You can even find a teacher who'll explain everything you need.
・ Books. Reading also helps you memorize grammatical structures. In a book, you have a context or an image connected to grammatical patterns. This leads to a better understanding and helps you remember the rules. Choose books that were originally written in Spanish, as this will give you a better handle to practice Spanish grammar.
・ Newspapers, magazines, and blogs. This is a specific kind of reading. Some of these resources use specialized language. On the other hand, media is one of the few sources for you to practice the modern language which you'll face abroad. So it certainly can help you make progress in your Spanish grammar.
Here are some more details for you to understand what to do and what NOT to do when you practice Spanish. There are some improper recommendations which mislead those willing to learn Spanish consistently and productively.
・ Visit Spanish Speaking Clubs. Never say "no" if you have the chance to practice Spanish! Speaking with natives in your country is also very helpful. They may give some advice or correct you if you ask them to do so. And, finally, you can ask them anything about Spain.
・ Radio, Video Blogs, Podcasts, etc. Any source with chatting will do: music or sports radio with interview breaks, lifestyle/beauty/how-to video blogs, interesting programs. In such sources, a conversation is usually in the simple, everyday language that you're going to speak soon. You’re better off choosing an entertaining source, which helps you practice Spanish as you'll actually be speaking it.
・ DON'T listen or watch news programs (at all if you’re a beginner, or too much if you have some knowledge). This is the trap everyone falls into when they try to practice Spanish. The purpose of such programs is to give way too much information in a very short time. That’s why a lot of specific vocabulary and specific sentence structures are used there.
3. Practicing Vocabulary
Learning and revising words is one of the most important things in practicing your Spanish. It doesn't mean that you have to take a dictionary and start revising each word with its translations. You may use special apps meant to practice Spanish that help you organize your word learning process.
Usually, this kind of app works as a reminder for you to repeat words you've learned yesterday or the day before yesterday. It defines how fast you flip the index card and decides when to send a notification next time using this information.
You need to know when you practice Spanish, the language won't be mastered overnight. You should keep in mind that it requires efforts and patience if you want to have a result (a positive one, of course).
If you find yourself stuck with your Spanish, try to move a little bit backward and review the things you think you know. You could have missed something, and that's why you’re having problems now.
Don't forget to remind yourself why you're doing it and what is the ultimate goal of all this work you've done already! You can even praise yourself for your results (but don't eat TOO many sweets). This will definitely keep you from losing your way while you practice Spanish.
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We all make them. Don't be afraid of being wrong. You'll learn how to do it right only with the help of mistakes.
Learning a foreign language is a hard process. But soon you’ll see the results and receive your first compliments, something like “I thought you were local!” Then you'll be proud of yourself as never before!
Christina Battons is a web content writer and blogger from LA. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California and currently writes for various sites, like Thriving Writer or similar. She is interested in topics about education, motivation, writing, etc. and uses her writing as a tool to further the education of others. You can connect with Christina through Twitter (@battonschristi) or G+.