Tuesday, June 18, 2024

5 ways to learn Spanish while traveling to Latin America

Latin America has to be in every travel junkie’s list of dream destinations. Everything about the place screams joy and excitement, as the tunes of Salsa and Mambo ring in one’s ears when talking about the breathtaking part of Southern America, along with the sounds of cheers arising from the football grounds. But how easy is it to navigate through the streets of Latin America in which not many people including the small shop owners and vendors can speak no other language but Spanish? It is difficult to move around in a country where the natives do not speak English when you thought you could survive with just the English language. But that doesn’t mean that you would be totally lost without knowing the Spanish language, as you can still manage with hand gestures and can understand what the other person is saying using basic common sense or comprehension skills. There will also be locals who can speak and understand both English and Spanish to help you out, so you need not worry too much about that. Since you will have a lot of time to kill while traveling with your friends and family, or even alone, you can maybe use the time to learn basic Spanish that will come handy a lot of times.

How do you learn Spanish while traveling to Latin America?

  1. Watch a Spanish video or movie with the English subtitles on

This might not be a really efficient way to learn Spanish, but it can definitely help you get familiarized with a few commonly used Spanish words and phrases. They can also help you learn more about the culture of Latin America, which you will be witnessing and experiencing in some time. Watching basic communication-based videos on YouTube will also be a good way to equip yourself with some basic Spanish usages. Watching the gestures and facial expressions of the actor or the presenter will also give you an idea of the circumstances in which certain phrases or words should be used, and listening to them speak will also make you more aware of the slang and the right pronunciations.

  1. Talking to the natives

You can volunteer and take the first step to make friends with the bilingual vendors and the native people there to build your vocabulary. It is okay if you make mistakes because that is the purpose of this activity- to learn something you are not proficient in. Ask for corrections and keep them in mind the next time you use the same words or phrases. Try to actually use the phrases that you picked up from the movie or videos you watched or from the locals and use them at appropriate times in real-life situations. There are many courses that give you the chance to stay in a homestay where you get to interact with the hosts to learn Spanish, while they learn English or your native language. It is also a good activity that can help you create so many memories and build friendships for a lifetime!

  1. Use an app on your phone

 Use apps like Duolingo or Babbel that can exercise your brain muscles with the right amount of linguistic activity you need. You can wake up every day during the time of your stay and open the app to learn some new words and try using them in sentences. Write down the words that you learned and even take a small dictation by yourself. Another fun exercise would be to write down all the words you learned and then try to recall their meanings. You can also get the help of a dictionary- either physical or a digital one- to learn new words in Spanish. Conduct competitions like quizzes and word games with your travel partners or friends to level up your Spanish game. This way, you can count on each other in a situation where you are confused with regard to communication with a local vendor or any random native person.

  1. Try using an audio course

There are so many audio courses available online that can help you with even the most basic vocabulary and grammar. Rosetta Stone and Michel Thomas Method are a few audio courses that can help you build your grip over the Spanish language. Consider noting down the words used by the courses and try to keep them in mind while communicating to the locals. Audio courses are the main ways in which backpackers in Latin America teach themselves the native languages they need to know, and they are also a really engaging and fun mode of entertaining yourself and your friends. 

  1. Enroll in Spanish classes

During your homestay in any Latin American country, look up online for classes that offer Spanish lessons. Taking up physical or online classes is the most effective way to escalate your proficiency in a particular language within a short period of time, as you are supported by teachers who can give you real-time advice and feedback on areas that need improvement, and areas that you are strong in. Guatemala is a country that offers you, inexpensive Spanish classes. The teachers can give you classes while walking around with you, or they can also come to the place where you stay so that you can relax and process all the information in the comforts of your own homestay or hostel.

After enrolling in a class or using an app to learn Spanish, try speaking in the language and see what you have learned. List down ten to twenty words with their meanings, and try using them in written content or in your speech. Recall the movie that you watched and see if you can write a short summary or review on the movie. Try explaining what the video was talking about to your friends, in Spanish, so that they also get to learn a few new words. Look up the lyrics of popular Spanish songs and play them in your vehicle, while you try to sing along. Play a game with your friends where you say a sentence in Spanish and ask each other to guess what it means. You can also play a game of dumb charades, but the Spanish version!

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