How to Learn Spanish Fast, Free Tips for Busy Language Learners
They say practice makes perfect, but my first thought when I practice Spanish is usually, yeah… I really need more practice. Early on, I’d wonder how to squeeze more Español into a typical day of work, family, food, friends, exercise, and side-hustles. Which priorities/self-care rituals could I shift? Yikes. You want to learn Spanish, but your schedule is busy. How can you learn Spanish fast, and have time to have a life? This is what we’ll be diving into head first!
Well after a year of juggling my mono-lingual life and my language learning, I’ve realized that consistency is key. And for me, that’s a weekly online conversation class supplemented with a variety of other language activities I can do every day no matter if I’ve only got fifteen minutes to take a walk at work or a few minutes while I wait for a Lyft.
This has been a game changer for me. My schedule is never consistent, only consistently busy, and I love that I can hop on italki and find a lesson that fits my availability. You can sort teachers/conversation partners by skill level, region, etc. so I can immerse myself in European Spanish practice from southern California. It’s also way cheaper than what I was paying for my small group classes in person, and the teachers I’ve had have all been fun and willing to tailor the lesson plans to my interests.
Practice Spanish While Journaling
It looks so cool when dreamy writers scrawl into leather-bound notebooks on TV and in movies, but actually sitting down to reflect upon the day before I go to bed was never my thing. Now I vary between raving about a meal I ate, wondering if it will ever be spring in SoCal, and gratitude journaling all in Español. It’s practice and self-care all in one, and instead of relying solely on structures and situations that come up in class, I’m actually expressing myself. It also lets me practice incorporating colloquial phrases into my everyday thought and speech patterns. I do write in a notebook at home when I remember to do so. Usually though, I type a few sentences in the Notes app and keep in moving. Every little bit helps.
Spanish Podcasts to Learn New Words & Vocabulary
I am a podcast junkie. A day without podcasts is not a day I can handle, so working a few Spanish podcasts into the rotation was not difficult. I started with short news podcasts like News in Slow Spanish and La Redada because they have a lot of content refreshed regularly, but I return more often to podcasts about health and beauty like El Podcast de Cristina Mitre. This one is usually 45 min or longer, and her website has key points from the podcast which help me pick up new vocabulary.
Instagram Can Help you Learn Spanish
Constructive social media? Say what? Yup. In addition to following friends, family, and LMDES, my feed is interspersed with Spanish journalists (@luciambomio), curly hair enthusiasts (@Missdulcerizos), and culture posts (@Afroféminas). Afroféminas in particular is great because they celebrate the range of the African diaspora in Spanish-speaking countries. Their current series traces brown women around the world and shares their stories. Plus everyone is gorgeous (thanks melanin!) which never hurts.
Spanish Blogs to Follow
My lunch breaks are usually spent hunched over my phone while I decompress by scrolling through culture and news blogs. Now I throw in a little Afroféminas and Gadriana for Spanish practice as well. Blogs are a great tool to add language practice into your usual web browsing habits. Check out spanish-language city blogs like Madrid Cool Blog when planning trips to get a local’s perspective, or try food blogs to freshen up meal planning and practice a different set of vocabulary. Madrid Cool Blog and Gadriana offer Spanish and English versions so you can check your comprehension every once in a while.
Best Spanish TV Shows on Netflix
We’re in a golden age of scripted TV. And though a lot of the think-pieces about this Renaissance are in English, the shows themselves are not. Netflix has been shelling out serious cash to international production companies and has you covered on all fronts: soapy teen drama (Elite), soapy historical drama (Velvet, Cable Girls, Gran Hotel), comedy (Paquita Salas), etc. And that’s just what takes place in Spain. Nothing reminds me to get back on my language-learning grind more that trying to parse a dramatic climax at a natural speaker’s pace. At least now my desire to curl up on the couch with some popcorn and watch hot people do dramatic things (I see you Velvet), is educational.
How do you practice Spanish with a busy schedule?
Want more ideas for Spanish practice? Check out Six Unconventional Ways to Practice Your Spanish and 4 Ways to Get Over Your Fear of Speaking
And, as an extra special treat, we’re sharing our 10 favorite Spanish blogs to follow!
Melody is an east coast transplant living a west coast life. She’s currently trying to trade in sunny southern California for four seasons in Madrid. Until then, she remains an inveterate reader, a sporadic writer, and a lover of good food and good chats.