Some years ago, I used to live in France. You might think, "Oh well, that's the best way to learn French". That's what I thought too...
However, my French was not coming along as polished as I intended to. The reason was that at home, I only spoke English with my family. I realised that I had to bring my target language to my daily household routine if I wanted to make real progress. You can (and definitely should!) do this with your Spanish. Here are my tips for learning Spanish at home.
1. Read/watch in Spanish material you enjoy and know already.
When we are learning a language, most of the time we believe that immersing ourselves in a book or a movie with subtitles is the best way to get exposed to it. Yes, it is a good method but, in my experience, sometimes it could be counterproductive. Some students try to read books aimed for children or movies with complex dialogues or with a plot that they might not comprehend or like. Well, my tip is to consume Spanish books or movies but they have to be sources you already know and enjoy. Are you a fan of Harry Potter? well, read it in Spanish! You know the plot and the story. You will be learning new sentences, vocabulary and having fun in the process.
2. Become a "word hunter".
I am a word hunter to this day! When we are watching a documentary, reading or listening to music, sometimes we hear a word that we did not know, well, make it yours! Write down that word on a special notebook aimed for your vocabulary hunt. Enter the word and where you heard it, if time permits add a sentence using the word. This helps to create a visual image and to put it in context. For example, the word "cantakerous" (cascarrabias in Spanish), I learned it whilst watching David Attenborough talking about rhinoceros, how can I forget that?
3. The internet is your friend.
Nowadays we can get access to a vast array of learning material. If you are organised enough, you can bookmark and start creating your own learning resources. It is super handy and free! The only downsize is the lack of interaction you need in order to become a more confident Spanish speaker. Well, you can join an online school like Casa Spanish and let us handle that part for you!
These are easy and adaptable habits that you can incorporate in your learning journey, give them a go, they do work! And remember, acquiring a language is not about stocking as much information as you can, it is about appreciating the process and feeling good about what you accomplish. Every day is a new opportunity to learn and grasp something new, enjoy it!