Learning a new language, such as Spanish, can be an exciting undertaking! Even if you are not planning to visit a foreign country on your next vacation, a second language can help keep your mind stimulated. Here’s an overview of the different ways to learn Spanish, to help you determine which option will work best for you.
Your Local Community College
Remember that campus that’s just down the road? You don’t have to be a recent high school graduate to enroll or take classes there. In fact, many of the students at community colleges are in satisfying full-time careers and are just looking to expand their knowledge in areas that don’t pertain to work.
Check out the website, or even stop by their admissions office. There should be plenty of information for you about continuing education, including Spanish classes. You’ll be looking at a minimal time commitment per week, and will be able to converse with the instructor and your fellow students. Of course, this only works if your personal schedule fits with the class time, and if you miss a class there is limited flexibility aside from working on your own to catch up to the rest of the group.
Most libraries have a large assortment of language books. You can learn Spanish at your own pace this way, and you can’t beat the price! In addition to language resource books, you might also be able to find short stories or novels written in other languages. This can help you progress, as long as you know which books are at the appropriate level for you.
The downside to reading books is that you won’t pick up any pronunciation tactics. Unless you already have a general understanding of Spanish before starting, you will probably run into issues with more complicated words. Many books that help you learn Spanish include pronunciation guides, but when you’re moving up to reading fiction works, not all of the words will be familiar to you already, which can pose a problem.
Using Online Resources
If getting to your local library doesn’t fit within your schedule, you can also opt for the online route. There are many free resources available, including apps, blogs, videos, and online games. Similar to reading books in Spanish, however, this option leaves out the all-important aspect of conversing with fellow Spanish speakers to build your skills.
Take a Trip to a Spanish-Speaking Country
Even though you might not be trying to learn Spanish to head to a Spanish-speaking country, it is a great way to learn it! Most people you run into will speak mostly (if not only) Spanish, so they’ll be glad to speak to you in their native tongue.
After you learn the basics of Spanish, total immersion in the language can help you figure out the many nuances. However, this tactic can be frustrating at times if you don’t have a good foundation in Spanish and are speaking with people who have limited English skills.
Working With a Private Tutor
If you can find a Spanish tutor in your area, or even online, this is the most flexible route available. Since a private tutor works with you one-on-one, he or she will cater the lessons to both your learning style and your pace — not so fast that you’re not mastering topics, but not so slow that you’re getting bored with the lessons either.
Your private tutor can also help you find online resources or print materials to help you between lessons. You can also ask your private tutor about traveling out of the country and learning Spanish on foreign soil. Many of our TakeLessons tutors have traveled extensively, and have many stories to share!
Photo by Drew Leavey