Traveling, web programming, and scuba diving

Learning Spanish on the Go!

Learning Spanish on the Go!

Tips, tricks and hacks to learning Spanish without taking significant time away from your life.

For the last 6 months I have been living in Puerto Varas Chile, which has been an awesome experience and a beautiful town and region to live in. But obviously being an expat in a foreign country brings challenges, the biggest one is probably the language and despite spending my time various ways learning and practicing spanish over the years including;

  • 2 years in High School studying Spanish
  • One Language school in Oaxaca Mexico where I lived with a nice Mexican family
  • Various trips through South America visiting Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Argentina, Uruguay etc.

Every time I go back to an English speaking country a lot of what I’ve learned or studied has slowly dwindled away to the far reaches of my mind.

So in an effort to curb this laziness I’ve been using some simple tools and resources freely available to practice my Spanish without having to specifically devote large chunks of my time to practicing or studying Spanish while travelling or just simply living, ‘passive learning’ if you would. Below is a quick list of tips, tools, and resources to learn Spanish on the go.

Tips

The biggest tip of all would be spend time abroad. The people you can meet and learn from is awesome and things like slang and accents you wont find in many courses, not to mention it all varies heavily from country to country and region to region.

  • Write grocery lists in Spanish (practical way to brush up on commonly used vocabulary)
  • Watch Spanish Language movies (Good for listening)
  • Watch movies with Spanish subtitles (Good for reading)

Spanish Podcasts

Podcasts are awesome to listen when washing dishes, cooking and other often mundane tasks.

Tools

  • Duolingo is a phenomenal completely free app for phones and the web. It is a simple and addictive way to learn numerous languages. I recommend the desktop web app as it’s a bit more fully featured and you can discuss topics if they don’t make sense to you and learn from the active community on there.
  • Language Immersion for Chrome is a tool for translating sections of content across websites.
  • Google Translate is a nice tool for simple word lookups.