Over the past 8 months of living in Ecuador, I have researched relentlessly for helpful websites, blogs, podcasts, phone apps, online shows, videos, and books to help me improve my level of Spanish. Spanish was my minor in college (graduated in 2013); however, I hadn’t practiced it much since then, so when I arrived in Ecuador last September (2017), I realized I needed to get back up to speed.
In all honesty, learning Spanish requires daily discipline and dedication. The first things you need to ask yourself: How badly you want to learn Spanish? What are your goals? You can’t expect to learn it all in a day, and if you want to become fluid, define what fluency means to you, and make a plan on how you’ll meet that goal. Also, how do you learn best? Reading/writing? Listening? Visually? Kinesthetically? Look for ways that will help you best with your learning style.
I have found some Spanish resources to be helpful, and I have categorized them (some are free and some require a price for more premium services). Keep in mind that some are better for beginners, intermediate learners, or advanced learners, and some are helpful for all levels. I hope they can help you!
The #1 best way to learn Spanish, however, is to take Spanish classes and/or to practice frequently with native speakers in addition to studying. You can connect you with other native speakers on HelloTalk, you can also look for language exchange clubs on Facebook, and/or look for Spanish clubs on Meetup.com.
learn Spanish vocabulary:
- Memrise: Learn the first 5,000 words of Spanish here for free.
- StudyBlue: Make flash cards of words you learn.
- Start reading children’s books then short stories then chapter books.
Learn Spanish grammar:
- Complete Spanish grammar textbook
- Practice with Spanish verbs textbook
- Subjunctive resources:
practice Spanish writing:
- Practice writing 100 words a day in Spanish
- Advanced Spanish writing textbook
- Write on Reddit Spanish forums
- Use iTalki and its notebook
Practice Spanish listening:
- LyricsTraining: Listen to songs and fill in the blanks.
- 123TeachMe: Listen to recordings and take short quizzes.
- Netflix shows in Spanish: Watch with English subtitles, then with Spanish subtitles, and later with no subtitles.
Practice Speaking Spanish:
Improve Spanish Pronunciation:
Learn from Spanish blogs:
- NachoTime Spanish
- One-to-One Spanish lessons
- Spanish ThoughtCo
dOwnload Spanish Phone Apps:
Listen to Spanish Podcasts:
Remember that language is always changing, and it depends heavily on the culture (idioms, slang, expressions, etc.). Some words are innocent in one country and are vulgar in another! Every country also has its own accent — some are more thick than others (Puerto Rico and Cuba). Some things do NOT translate directly from English to Spanish and vice versa, and collocations and logic are different too (in Spanish, students “give tests” and teachers “take tests,” people “take decisions,” and they “commit errors”). As a native English speaker, I learn new things in English all the time — and even more in Spanish.
My list of Spanish resources is just the top of the enchilada! It’s important that you keep an open mind, accept that things are different in Spanish, stay curious, and continue asking questions and searching for answers. Learning a language is like a logarithmic curve — you learn a lot in the beginning, but it tapers off when you reach the intermediate level, so you’ll need to continue working hard to reach an advanced level.
Making mistakes is the name of the game with language learning, but it means you’re trying! You’ll have days where you’re frustrated and want to cry, and you’ll have days where you’ll pat yourself on the back and you’ll treat yo’self. Celebrate the small wins, and most important of all, just have fun with it!
What Spanish resources have you found that have helped you?
Thank you for reading!