How can I practice my Spanish without paying for an additional course?
This is a question I get asked a lot by my Spanish students, from beginners through to advanced speakers. Exchange programmes can be expensive and are only usually for a few weeks of the year and if you’ve already signed up for a course the last thing you want is to be paying for an additional conversation course. What you need when you’re learning a second language is plenty of practice and consistency.
So, in this blog post I provide some methods that will get you practicing your Spanish every day and won’t cost a penny (except for maybe the odd coffee).
So, maybe you’ve signed up for a Spanish course and are looking for opportunities to practice speaking during the weeks that classes aren’t on. Or maybe you’ve sat some exams lately and are worried that if you don’t practice you will loose what you have learnt so far. Whatever your reason it is important to get as much practice in as possible.
Below are a few ideas. I would obviously recommend that these ideas be used alongside a formal course to reinforce what you learn in class.
1) Spanish/Latin American themed restaurants & bars
Pop into your local “La Tasca” or “Chiquitos” or any other Spanish or Latin American themed bar or café (CAU and El Gaucho are personal favourites) order yourself a drink and chat to the Spanish-speaking staff (you will need to do your homework and check that they do actually hire Spanish-speaking staff previously).
2) Check your local library or village hall
People who have an interest in languages sometimes organise informal get togethers to practice speaking, so although there may not be any native speakers it’s still a good way to get some practice in. They will usually be advertised in the library or village hall notice board but also maybe the local school or leisure center.
3) Pen Pal
Contact a language school in Spain or Central or South America asking if any of the English students would like a pen pal. You will find that students learning English are just as keen to practice speaking as those of us learning Spanish.
Making sure you speak to the person in charge of estudiantes or programas de intercambio will help ensure you are assigned an appropriate pen pal.
Once you’ve chosen someone. You can arrange your very own language exchange via Skype!
4) Volunteer at your local Care or Nursing Home for the elderly
Local care and nursing homes for the elderly may have Spanish-speakers that would love someone spend time conversing in their native language with them. Again it will take a bit of research to get a list together and contact them but it can be a very rewarding experience.
5) Work experience
What better way to practice speaking than with professionals who are passionate about the language themselves. Contact your local language schools, tutors, teachers and see if they are willing to take on a volunteer.
6) Speak to your pets in Spanish
Ok, it might sound a little strange but speaking to your pets in Spanish is a great way to get used to hearing your voice in another language. You can practice intonation, pronunciation and most of all commands in Spanish. You won’t get much response from your pet but hey – it’s fun.
And if you fancy teaching your pet Spanish check out this book available on Amazon;
Teach your Dog Spanish https://amzn.to/3xgbDcI
7) Voice notes
leave voice notes for yourself in Spanish with reminders of things you need to do . Again, you won’t get much response but it’s a great way to practise speaking in the future tense 🙂
8) Tongue Twisters
Tongue twisters will help you conquer the most difficult sound combinations in Spanish. After that, normal conversations will be completely unchallenging for you. Here are a couple for you to practise.
Sound: p [p]
Example word: papel (paper)
Papá pon pan para Pepín, para Pepín pon pan papá.
(Dad serves bread for Pepin, for Pepin Dad serves bread.)
Sound: trilled rr [r]
Example word: barra (bar)
Erre con erre cigarro, erre con erre barril. Rápido corren los carros, sobre los rieles del ferrocarril.
(R with R cigar, R with R barrel. Quickly run the carriages on the rails of the railway.)
Do you have any more ideas? If so feel free to share them in the comments below!
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