To learn Spanish in Latin America is easier said than done. During your education you may have learned the basics of Spanish, but to really have a conversation is still rather difficult. There are certain studies that show that the best way to learn Spanish is to go to the land itself and urge yourself to improve it. It is often thought that only by registering for an internship in Latin America you will automatically learn Spanish. However, learning a language abroad takes time and effort, but with these tips you will certainly succeed in improving your Spanish considerably.
Benefits of learning Spanish in Latin America
If you are abroad, it is very satisfying if you can communicate with the locals in their own language. It helps you to understand the culture better and to make yourself part of it. I assume you have once asked for help abroad by using non-verbal communication because you did not speak the language. If you know the basics, you will save yourself from a lot of trouble and time, especially if you visit the less touristy places. In addition, speaking the local language makes it a lot easier to hang out with locals and make new friends.
A skill so valuable does not come naturally. You will have to put effort into it to be able to reap the harvest. During your stay in South America you will not likely to become an expert, but it is certainly possible to achieve an advanced level. These tips help you.
❝If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.❞ ‒Nelson Mandela
Give it your best
As long as you believe in it and you do everything you can, you will achieve it. You could stay with a local family where you surround yourself with the culture and language or you ask a local friend if he can give you an hour of tutor lessons every week. If you do this with a number of more foreigners you can have a pleasant afternoon where you can build friendships as well. In addition, by means of internships or volunteer work you can improve your language skills considerably, contribute to society and improve your resume. Double win!
Use Spanish in your daily life
To really master a language you will also have to use it outside of the language lessons, so also practice when you are not obliged to use it. Try to have a conversation with a taxi driver, tell the hairdresser how you want your hair cut or make a telephone reservation. All these moments ensure that you will use other words and thereby significantly improve your vocabulary. You learn the basics and grammar of the Spanish language in the textbooks, but the real experiences will help you with new words that will improve your skills.
Make rules with friends
It is of course very easy when you get to know people who speak the same language as you, but do not cheer too early, there is also a disadvantage. If you go abroad you will probably meet someone who also speaks your language and you will experience that you are more likely to create a friendship with this person rather than someone else. Although it is fun, it does not improve your language skills. Try to make ‘rules’ with your friends to speak Spanish regularly. In addition, local people will try to speak English to you to be polite, but do not feel burdened to indicate that you would rather speak Spanish from time to time.
Hang out with the locals
There is nothing as nice as dealing with the local population. It gives you the real foreign experience for which you have traveled so far. In addition to learning a lot about the culture and having fun, it also helps you to learn Spanish. In Latin America not everyone speaks perfect English, so they will also want to learn from you. Choose the adventure and try to talk more with the local population than with other international adventurers.
Do not be afraid to make mistakes
You have probably been told already very often, but it is still important to remember this. Do not be afraid to make mistakes trying to speak Spanish. Accept in advance that you will make many mistakes and that it may be uncomfortable. No one laughs at you and the locals are only proud that a foreigner tries to learn Spanish in Latin America. Therefore, take advantage of the great opportunity to learn the Spanish language now you’re there.
With English as the only foreign language you are not unique anymore. To add something extra to your own development, learning a third language is an absolute must. It opens a lot of doors in the countries where the language is spoken. As long as you really want you will improve your Spanish significantly. You will see that you will come back with many wonderful stories, more knowledge and a lot of experience.
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