School of the World
300 M Este 50 N De La Pops, Escuela del Mundo, Playa Jaco Costa Rica
Office (outside Costa Rica) +506.2643.2462
Office (Costa Rica)
Learning to speak Spanish is learning to understand a culture. Once you have mastery and understanding of a language the people and their culture seem to have a whole new meaning as well. It is like finding the key to unlock a doorway of understanding.
Often on a learning vacation people are eager to learn as quickly as possible, and students who come to learn Spanish in Costa Rica are no different. The classes at School of the World are taught using Spanish immersion, which means almost 100% of the class is spoken in Spanish. It’s intense, but it yields results. Some students seem to learn at a more accelerated pace than others and while there are many factors that contribute to the difference in learning speed there are some very basic tips which can help you learn Spanish faster.
Tip # 1 Find a Partner
Try to find someone who is a native Spanish speaker and ask them to speak with you in Spanish. More often than not people are thrilled that you are trying to learn their language, and are more than happy to speak slowly and clearly to help you. Maybe you can even help them to learn your native language in the process!
Tip # 2 Label Your Surroundings
Make labels for things all over your house. This is a great visual reminder of Spanish words for your surroundings. For example: la pared=wall la puerta= door la mesa=table, etc. Only remove the labels once you are sure you have mastered the vocabulary.
Tip # 3 Use Flashcards
Make flashcards for everything! Make sure they are small enough that you can carry them around with you so that anytime you have some down time you can whip them out and practice.
It seems fairly obvious but this is something many people avoid. The only way you are going to learn a language is by speaking it. You can study for years and master every irregular verb conjugation there is, but if you don’t practice speaking you will never master the language. If you feel very shy about practicing with others talk to yourself out loud in Spanish. Even reading Spanish print out loud is helpful!
Tip # 5 Don’t Expect to be Perfect
Do you remember the first time you tried to tie your shoes? Ride a bike? You probably weren’t perfect then and made plenty of mistakes before you got it right, but that’s what learning is! Do not be embarrassed by your mistakes when you are speaking, they are the only way you are going to learn. So go ahead and muddle your way through verb saturated conversations you will be surprised at how satisfying it is the first time you are able to communicate with someone in Spanish.
To learn a new language takes time and commitment and consistency is by far one of the most important things. Making a daily habit out of practicing Spanish will give you more results than sporadic cramming will. Don’t forget to be patient! Learning a new language doesn’t follow the typical straight line graph. There are times when you will feel frustrated and as though you are not learning, but stick with it!