Congrats on wanting to learn Spanish! Spanish is really a beautiful language and there’s no better time to learn than this year, 2021.
Learning Spanish is all about interaction, engagement and applying what you learn to everyday life. Hopefully this year will include some travel (Spanish immersion course, perhaps?) or at least some more going out and then we can forget all about 2020.
Regardless, there is really no better time to learn Spanish. Why? Because you have amazing resources at your disposal: online lessons, travel opportunities, Spanish content, you name it.
Spanish is spoken by over 500 million people, and in the US there’s over 40 million speakers. It is everywhere, which for you means you can practice it often and become fluent much more quickly.
So, let’s get to it. Here are some of the best ways to learn Spanish in 2021. This list goes from very simple tricks (flashcards) to amazing experiences (trip abroad).
You don’t have to do all of them, but definitely do some of them. You want to learn Spanish after all and these recommendations work.
I’m not talking about switching your phone to Spanish. Immersion is really about putting yourself in situations where Spanish is used and you engage with it too.
That’s how you really learn Spanish, by interacting with the language. By having a conversation with someone, by using the language.
And if you are in the States, you can find Spanish everywhere. There’s over 40 million speakers, so you’re bound to find one way or another to immerse yourself in the language.
You can also learn Spanish by immersion this year by going abroad, be it for a week or a few months and taking a Spanish course abroad. Or, hire an online Spanish teacher (it’s very affordable).
Finally, consume Spanish content. It’s a fantastic way to hear Spanish in regular conversation. Be it podcasts, shows, or radio.
Immersion is the key to language learning overall. How you do it is up to you. If you need some ideas, don’t worry, just keep reading! I have a bunch.
One of the best ways to learn Spanish in 2021 is to take a Spanish course abroad. This is the ultimate immersion experience: being in a foreign country, learning Spanish, and using it all the time outside of the course.
Most Spanish courses run one week to several months, you choose how long (3 months at beach town?). They typically start every Monday throughout the year.
The Spanish schools across Latin America and Spain that offer these Spanish immersion courses are pros at it. My wife took a Spanish course in Oaxaca for a week that really took her Spanish up several notches. Since then, she’s continued taking lessons with the same teacher online, which you can do too.
If you already took a Spanish course abroad, or are not looking to travel just yet, take some Spanish lessons with an online Spanish teacher! Nowadays it is so easy to take a lesson with a teacher from Argentina, Chile, Mexico, you name it. These lessons typically run $8 to $20 dollars an hour.
If you take even one lesson a week, that constant practice will help you make tremendous progress with learning Spanish.
A word of caution though:
Just because someone calls themselves a Spanish tutor doesn’t mean they’re good at it. Learning a language requires a plan, a structure. Hiring someone and just having random conversations with them won’t set you on a path to learn Spanish and improve.
Go with a professional Spanish teacher.
They’ve done it for years and have a method in place to take you from beginner to fluent. Most Spanish language schools now also offer online lessons, which you can check out here.
Costs are similar to most apps out there, and you get high-quality instruction.
Spanish is a phonetic language, so what you hear and how it’s spelled is the same. Think of “amigo”, friend in Spanish. It sounds the same as how it’s spelled, unlike French or English where sounds don’t always match spelling. Week and weak both sound the same but aren’t spelled the same.
You don’t encounter this as much in Spanish, which is GREAT.
It means that once you learn how letters and certain letter combinations are pronounced, you’ll pick up way more word when you listen to someone talking in Spanish and know what words they are.
So, focus on learning pronunciation and it will make Spanish much easier for you. Plus, you’ll shed a lot of the foreigner accent.
After pronunciation, growing your vocabulary is the second-most important thing. Language is about communication, and if you don’t have enough vocab, you can’t express yourself quite right.
Flashcards work by repetition and there’s a bunch of apps out there that nail the repetition game so you expand your vocab quickly.
One of the most popular apps is Anki, and it’s completely free.
Spanish content is everywhere now. That is fantastic news for anyone looking to learn Spanish.
If you have Netflix, check out the Spanish shows they offer and watch them with Spanish subtitles.
I know, it’s tough at first but you can switch it up between English and Spanish subtitles. Having English subtitles on all the time makes it harder to associate sounds to words, so it’s better to mix it or do all Spanish.
It's daunting, but I believe in you!
You will learn Spanish much faster and your vocab will grow. Plus, you will start to learn more phrases you can use in everyday conversations.
I am a fan of podcasts and they are an amazing option for consuming Spanish content. Some of the most popular Spanish podcasts for learning Spanish are:
Or just search for a topic that interests you, like “negocios” and you’ll see a bunch of business podcasts in Spanish.
This isn’t really a way to learn Spanish but more of a mindset you should have.
Language learning works best by trial and error. It’s when you go out and practice that you really learn.
I get wanting to nail it, but if you try and be perfect before you practice, you won’t make progress.
Even if right now you only know “Hola”, go out and use it! You’ll ear will get more accustomed over time to hearing Spanish, and you will get better at natural conversation.
Learning about grammar rules and verbs is crucial, but without applying them to the real world, you will just understand them, and not really get comfortable with using them.
Practice and soon enough they’ll become second nature. You won’t be perfect right away, and its okay.
The only way to get there is PRACTICE!