Blog

The process of learning Spanish is a different process for everyone. Some people struggle with verb tenses, others recalling the order of words.  Still others just recalling all those different words: you will definitely need to find creative ways to remember different words (or "palabras"). This is specially true for a few verbs that sound and are spelt very similarly ―and so difficult to remember!

and whether to use these apps to learn Spanish

So you've decided to learn Spanish and you don't know where to start? 

Of course you google how to learn Spanish, and are immediately bombarded with all the latest apps that will help you learn any language in the world in a matter of weeks! Well, I've got good news and bad news for you. The bad news is, unless you're the world's prodigy, you're probably not going to learn a new language in a few weeks. The good news is, language apps can certainly play part in your mission to learn Spanish. There are literally dozens of language apps our there nowadays, but for me the best are still Duolingo (of course) and Lingvist. 

Duolingo I have found the best to help absorb new vocabulary

Learning a new language is a challenge as an adult (any young people reading this take note, get to learning now!) and doubly so when living in your native countries. Why?

Because there is no chance to practice. 

For English speakers, a lot of people speak English around the world. This might be useful when traveling, but it is also a real challenge when you're trying to learn and practice your new language.

That's why immersing yourself in a new culture and a new world can really accelerate the learning progress. If you are living in Buenos Aires, this will force you to practice every day ―at everything from your local bakery to the supermarket, to the hairdresser. It can be a little daunting at first, but it's really the only way to truly begin to learn and become confident at speaking. 

Of course, for those who are a little intimidated by that idea or would like to acquire the language properly, you can always choose to learn at a Spanish school. And Buenos Aires also offers a good mixture of speakers for your first few months. There is a bustling expat community for when you need a break from the challenge of Spanish, and many locals will be happy to practice their English with you. 

 

 

Like anything worthwhile, learning languages is a challenge, and Spanish is no exception. Often times it feels like you're not making progress at all. Each week you learn a few more words, add another tense to your arsenal, make your sentences a little longer, but sometimes it seems you're getting nowhere. But it pays to take stock, because even after just a week or months, you'll be surprised how much you've learned. It might not seem you've progressed much from one day to the next, but when you look back at where you started, you'll realise you've come a long way!

Take myself for example. I know from past experiences I struggle with language. After 13 months in South America without any tuition, I came away with very little understanding of Spanish. Looking back, that's one of my biggest regrets of the trip! Perhaps that's why I've now returned with a fresh perspective, determined to learn this time.

I know take regular private classes of 1.5 hours every day, and I am happy to say after two months it is showing. After my first week, I was generally able to communicate my orders to restaurant staff, and after  a month I began to enjoy

Argentina is a fascinating place, and while many customs here bare at least some resemblance to Europe, there are at least a few that certainly help to spice up life!

For starters, you will find their eating habits quite different from those of any English-speaking nation. Breakfast would be considered almost non-existent ―often consisting of just a coffee and croissant (or medialuna as they call them here!). Lunch doesn't differ too much, but it is followed by a late afternoon tea (merienda) and then the most bizarre part of all −dinner can be anywhere between 9pm and midnight. That's probably been the most difficult thing for me to adjust to, I can't get used to eating so close to my bedtime!

The next point may also connect with the late dinners, to the point you have to seriously reconsider whether you want to arrive anywhere on time! If you're meeting an Argentine friend −or even heading to an event−,  don't be surprised if there's no-one there when you arrive on time. I once arrived 40 minutes late to a birthday party, only to find myself the first one there!

One final custom that might take you by surprise, but grows on you quite quickly, is the Argentine kiss to say hello and goodbye. Instead of just a handshake, most Argentines will greet each other with a kiss to the right cheek −both men and women! For the more conservative English cultures this can come as quite a shock, but fear not: it's perfectly normal here.

By Aaron Hodges 

Page 1 of 10