Roller Coaster of Language Learning

Roller Coaster of Language Learning

Why is it a roller coaster? Well, because learning a language is full of ups and downs. It also makes us face our insecurities and fears. Learning Spanish is a process full of positive emotions and frustrations, the moments of clarity and total confusion. At the very beginning any foreign language seems very difficult to learn. Students often come to the first date with a new language full of fear (pretty much like any other first date) about the pronunciation and complexity of grammar. Thus we often enter the first class full of preconceptions about the language. We slowly progress through the first lessons: basic grammar, phonetics and vocabulary. In no time, we  start to understand, the fears are dissipating and we regain self-confidence and security. That is when first obstacle is defeated and frustrations dissipate, we accept the logic of Spanish language. It begins to work its way into our minds, we feel that first “rush” that makes us believe that it is not as difficult as we had imagined it. Soon we find ourselves back in comfort zone and, hence, start thinking that we will be fluent in Spanish in no time. Then things start to get more complicated and more complex structures appear and make us return that the initial frustration. As a result we find ourselves in the learning pit again. Don’t we all have a false belief that the more we know, the easier it is? But how to overcome the ups and downs in the learning process? To be successful in your learning you have to count on two very important things, your...
Halloween in Spain

Halloween in Spain

Is Halloween celebrated in Canary Island? The answer is – no. In Canary Islands Spanish celebrate the holiday known as “finaos” that has similarities with Halloween, in the evening children go around their neighbourhoods and knock on the doors collecting dried  fruits (no candy;). Spanish families get together and recall their deceased ancestors (“finaos”) while eating grilled chestnuts with honey rum and signing folklore songs. In Canarian culture this festivity is an opportunity for families and neighbours to get together and honor the memory of the deceased. Remembering the dead is considered the way to show love and respect the families have for them and at the same time it is a celebration of life that intends to drive away the fear of death. One of the tradition of this festivity is to visit cemeteries and bring flowers to the graves or got to mass. Spanish speaking countries have different traditions to commemorate their dead family members. In Mexico, for example, people bring food for the deceased to their graves, including staying there for a bit and having meals at the graveyard, in this way they show respect to their family members and believe that they are still present in the lives of their relatives, at least once a year. Although there are more and more people celebrating Halloween instead, the tradition is  still maintained, especially among older people. Unlike Halloween, “finaos” has a deeper religious...
How learning a language changes your life completely

How learning a language changes your life completely

Nowadays learning languages has become a necessity, not only for work reasons, but also at the social level. It is a complex challenge. Speaking another language does not only imply knowing its grammar and structure, but also means thinking in different way. This seems a bit difficult at first, however with time, dedication and practice can be achieved by every language student. What is the main reason for learning languages? Learning languages can change your life completely and open doors to a completely new way of life. I have been teaching Spanish for a long time. Long before that I was a language student myself. From my personal experience I believe the only way to truly learn a language is to immerse yourself in its culture. And this language immersion, in one way or another, transforms you. For years I studied English at school as a child, and later at private academies. Despite all the effort it wasn’t until I went to England and started to experience its culture when I really began to internalize English language. By internalize, I mean I stopped translating in my head, and started to create new mental schemes. The best way to tell whether you really speak a foreign language is when you are able to express an idea in that language in a way that you are not able to do it in your native language. And that is the greatest gift that speaking another language can give you, learn to think in a more diverse way. But this is not the only advantage of speaking foreign languages Expand your abilities Developing...
The best courses to learn Spanish

The best courses to learn Spanish

When we decide to learn a new language, we always do it with great enthusiasm! But there is a high risk that we drop it soon. Most people who begin to learn a foreign language gradually lose interest or quit right away, but why? Common reasons – lack of time and, above all, not having chosen the most effective method of learning. You must have already researched different options of courses to learn Spanish, we have reviewed each one of the them to outline pros and cons. When choosing a course, the first thing to take into account is the time available, the money you are willing to invest and, the most important, the commitment you are willing to make to learning. The first decision to make is to start studying in your country or take the big step and study abroad. From the economic point of view it is always better to start in your country, but from an educational efficiency point of view, the best way to learn a language is linguistic immersion. Sign up for a language school in your town You decided to start learning Spanish in your country. The cheapest method is to take course in a public language school. You get several classes a week and an official degree. But it has 2 serious disadvantages: Non-native teachers: Most state schools have very good teachers, but most are non-native. It is not bad, but it is always better to hear a native teacher to work on your accent. Students who have a language in common – a temptation to use your own language in...
10 Best Spanish Movies in History

10 Best Spanish Movies in History

The cinema is a window into the culture and reality of society. It reflects on the personalities and the way of understanding the world in a very creative way. Watching movies can help us better understand the culture and idiosyncrasy of another country, and therefore, can help us to better understand the language. Spanish cinema is very particular and different from American movies or the aesthetics of other European cinema. To get you started we have selected 10 best Spanish movies. Here Spanish movies we highly recommend watching We have selected movies, that in our opinion, reflect the personality of the Spaniards the best. So get comfortable and enjoy watching and improving your Spanish! ¡Bienvenido, Mister Marshall!, Luis García Berlanga (1953) Number one on our list – classic of Spanish cinema. “Bienvenido, Mister. Marshall” is a funny satire of the international isolation that Spain was put under because of the Franco dictatorship. It is a sardonic look at the program of economic aid of the American government to Europe after World War II, known as Plan Marshall, contrasting it with the Castilian rural environment and with the international topic of Spain of bulls and flamenco. Despite being a 50’s film, in many ways it is very current. Tesis, Alejandro Amenábar (1996) The second out of 10 best Spanish movies on our list is a psychological thriller that presents a subtle critic to the morbidity that every human being has over the forbidden, evil and the pain of others exemplified in the virulence of snuff movies. Not suitable for apprehensive people. El milagro de P.Tinto, Javier Fesser (1998) Number three is...
What are the best cities to visit in Spain? We will show you!

What are the best cities to visit in Spain? We will show you!

Spain is a country with a long history, a manifold culture and plenty of beautiful places to visit. We know it can be hard to decide, where to go. Especially, as almost all Spanish cities possess this typical traditional flair, for which Spain became famous.   But do not worry, we created a short list of the best cities to visit in Spain in order to help you choosing the right one for your next holiday in Spain. Of course, these are just thought as an inspiration to the question “What are the best cities to visit in Spain?” and do not claim to be complete.         The best cities to visit in Spain   Madrid Madrid is the capital of Spain and with 3.2 million urban and 6.5 million metropolitan inhabitants also the third-largest city in the European Union. Here you can lose yourself visiting many popular landmarks such as the Gran Vía, the Cervantes Monument on the Plaza de España, the Prado National Museum and the well-kept, gigantic park El Retiro. It is also home to the Royal Palace of Madrid, the official residence of the Royal Spanish Family and to two football clubs, Real Madrid and Atlético de Madrid, that are famous all over the world. Enjoy exciting days discovering the city and have fun in the vibrating nightlife full of bars, clubs and events!      Barcelona Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, the second-largest city of Spain and the largest metropolis belonging to the region of the Mediterranean Sea with more than 1.6 million inhabitants within the city limits. In Barcelona you can...
What is the best way to learn Spanish?

What is the best way to learn Spanish?

Have you ever thought about learning or improving your Spanish, but got somehow confused about which of many ways to choose?   We wanted to give you a first orientation about the topic and hope, it will be of help to you. So, what is the best way to learn Spanish?   First and foremost many different sources and common experience agree, that having a Spanish girlfriend or a Spanish boyfriend will definitely help you to learn and improve your Spanish significantly.   However this method might not be the most appropriate one for everybody. Nevertheless and to put it more general, you should try to practise with native speakers as often and as much as you can.     This will not only train your application of the language, but it will also widen your vocabulary and broaden your knowledge about it. You can listen carefully to how they pronounce words and the way they speak, what will help you when trying to speak yourself.   The reason, why practising with a native speaker is seen as very efficient, is the fact a full immersion to the language is often considered as the best way to learn Spanish.       What means a full immersion into Spanish language?   Often we tend to understand by a full immersion some kind of drastic exposure to the language, for example by being surrounded by Spanish people without being able to speak a single word. Even though such a hard confrontation with the language might bring effects as well, we would still like you to opt for a more varied type...
Spanish alphabet pronunciation from A to Z – Start speaking Spanish!

Spanish alphabet pronunciation from A to Z – Start speaking Spanish!

Every beginning is hard. Do you feel desperate when listening to Spanish and thinking “I will never be able to say this”? We have good news for you: Yes you will!   Depending on your origin, the Spanish alphabet pronunciation may result easier or a little more difficult to you. But that does not prevent you from learning it step by step and later on becoming more and more comfortable when saying something in Spanish. Also a correct pronunciation can help you to avoid misunderstandings when communicating with native speakers.     Today we would like to start with you from scratch and show you the Spanish alphabet pronunciation from A to Z.   Please notice: The actual speaking habits may vary throughout Spain due to the existence of different dialects.       The Spanish alphabet pronunciation   Letter Pronunciation Phoneme Example Word A a /a/ Amigo B be /b/ Bola C ce /k/; /θ/ – /s/ Casa (CH)* che /ch/ Peluche D de /d/ Dorada E e /e/ Exacto F efe /f/ Fería G ge /ɡ/; /x/ – /h/ Gris H hache muda Hola I i /i/ Isla J jota /x/ – /h/ Jóven K ka /k/ Kilo L ele /l/; /ʎ/ Lavar (LL)* elle /ll/ /y/ Calle M eme /m/ Madre N ene /n/ Nombre Ñ eñe /ɲ/ Mañana O o /o/ Obra P pe /p/ Puente Q cu /k/ Queso R / (RR)* Ere / erre /r/; /ɾ/ Rebaja / Perro S ese /s/ Sábado T te /t/ Torro U u /u/ Usuario V uve /b/ Vaca W uve doble /(ɡ)u/ Web X equis /ks/,...
The 7 best websites for learning Spanish for free

The 7 best websites for learning Spanish for free

Yes, we are a Spanish language school. Yes, we are going to recommend you 7 of the best websites for learning Spanish for free. Sounds contradictory, right? No! Of course we would never recommend you to rely on those best websites as a sole resource for learning Spanish for free! There are several reasons for that. Probably, the most important one being, that a website can never teach you Spanish language in the way, a teacher with personal approach at a Spanish school could do it. You will probably miss conversation practice, courses will be neither complete, nor adaptable to your individual needs. And of course we are sure that we can do it much better 😉 But: Those free websites are a useful addition to your learning. Whether you have just completed a Spanish course and would like to keep on practising or you want to get an idea about the language before taking the final decision to take a course – those websites can give you first insight and orientation. And the best is, that they are free! So, here we go.   List of the best websites for learning Spanish for free 1.) Duolingo   We already presented you Duolingo as one of the great apps to learn languages on the go. But you do not necessarily need to use it as application on your mobile devices, you can also use the webpage itself to get started. Just choose Spanish as desired language, set your daily study measure and directly begin to learn first Spanish exercises.      2.) FluentU FluentU is a very practical oriented learning platform, as...
10 useful Spanish phrases for conversation to help you start talking to somebody in Spain

10 useful Spanish phrases for conversation to help you start talking to somebody in Spain

People in Tenerife are famous for being very open-minded and chatty. This is great for students learning Spanish, as your first conversations with a native speaker might be much easier over here than in other regions. As locals love to talk a lot, you can get away with listening more than having to talk. Plus: they will be comprehensive and patient with you if you shall struggle to find the right words.   But, even if you rely on your counterpart to talk most of the time, you will still have to take part in the conversation. And this is the moment when our 10 useful Spanish phrases for conversation come in handy. They might not represented the more advanced Spanish levels and it might not be possible to discuss quantum physics in Spanish with them. Yet they will help you to start a conversation with someone you haven’t known before – everything else will come naturally.   So here they are. And actually you will realise, it is more than 10 useful Spanish phrases:   Our list of useful Spanish phrases for conversation with a stranger in Spain   Let’s start easy, with a simple:   1) ¡Hola! ¿Cómo estás?  (Hello! How are you?)   There is so many possibilities how the other person may react! And when your counterpart will surely ask you the same, think of a good way to respond to start a conversation. Here are some ideas: Estoy bien, gracias a … (I’m fine, thanks to …) Estoy un poco cansado/a. Hoy ha sido un día largo, porque … (I’m a little tired. Today...