Do you want to learn a new language to improve your traveling experience, but don’t want to spend money on classes or expensive language learning applications? That’s how I felt in 2019 as I embarked on my first big journey abroad to South America, without knowing a lick of Spanish. But I was determined to learn anyway.
When I got to Ecuador, I quickly realized that learning a new language would take more than just a Spanish phrase book and a few Duolingo lessons. Learning a new language takes immersion, regular practice, and — let’s face it — enjoyability. Otherwise it just feels like a chore. Over the months I spent in 2019 and even after I left South America, I incorporated many free and fun strategies into learning Spanish, which brought me to a level of comprehension that I’m now really proud of.
To be upfront, I did take a month of Spanish lessons while I was in Peru, which jump started my understanding of grammar and pronunciation. However, you can learn so much about a language using workbooks (checkout your local used bookstore), free online lessons, and a ton of the resources I’m about to share with you.
So if you’re like me and you want to learn a language while you’re traveling on the road, know that you’ve got loads of free resources and strategies to work with. Read on to find out some of the best ways to learn Spanish or any new language while you’re traveling.
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Study verbs and vocabulary using the free Quizlet app. You can study word lists that other users have already created, or make your own. Practice your language skills using different modes: digital flash cards, matching games, fill-in-the-blank, and tests.
Use the Duolingo app to practice your grammar and new vocabulary everyday. The free version is fantastic, but the paid version has some nice perks including an ad-free experience, downloadable lessons for offline practice (great for traveling), unlimited skill test-outs (to skip to the next lesson), and unlimited health so you don’t have to watch a ton of ads in order to continue practicing.
Use the Drops app daily to improve your vocabulary. The free version allow you to practice new vocabulary for five minutes every day. The premium version allows unlimited practice time each day, is ad free, and you can choose to practice any section at any time instead of going in the app’s order. There is no grammar in this app, so use it as a vocabulary supplement.
Follow instagram accounts that share content in the language you want to learn. This is a fun immersion strategy. I follow several Spanish accounts on Instagram to practice translating everyday posts. Here are a few that I enjoy: @72kilos@culturapositiva@uychica@netflixes@lavecinarubia
Bonus App for Spanish Learners: Download the SpanishDict app, which is often more accurate than Google Translate. It also provides conjugation and sound bytes of all words in Spanish.
Language Learning with Audio
Listen to free audio language lessons via library audiobook or Spotify. You can do a search in Spotify by typing in the language you want to learn and then pasting in one of the following album recommendations:
Listen to Podcasts that teach you lessons or allow you to practice listening to stories in your desired language. Tip: If you listen to a podcast that is mostly conversational, slow down the playback speed to 1/2x in order to hear the words more slowly. I recommend these podcast series for Spanish and other languages:
Find or make a playlist of songs in the language that you want to learn. This is a fun way to incorporate immersion into your daily life, and find new music to love. I have a playlist of Spanish songs that I made on Spotify, but you can also find playlists on YouTube, Pandora, SoundCloud, or MixCloud.
Learn how to sing songs in the language you’re learning. Hands down, this is the top tip I get from people who have learned a second language. Make sure that you choose a song that you can listen to over and over again because you’ll be doing that a lot. Focus on pronunciation and understanding what the lyrics mean when you say them. You’ll learn more about flow and sentence structure in a fun way.
Language Learning with Video
Use YouTube to find free language learning lessons. It’s a great way to find grammar explanations, dialogue exchanges, and whatever type of vocabulary you’re trying to learn. If you’re learning Spanish, I recommend checking out The Spanish Dude. He’s great at explaining grammar.
Watch movies and TV shows in the language you want to learn, but use a strategy. Learning to read a language versus listening are two completely different things, and this method helps both types of learning. For example, if I was learning Spanish, I would first first watch a movie or episode with Spanish audio and English subtitles. Then I would watch the same thing a second time but with both Spanish audio and Spanish subtitles. I would also pause any parts that I don’t understand and take down notes for words or phrases to practice. Finally, I’d watch it for a third time with Spanish audio and no subtitles to try to understand as much as possible without reading.
Go to a language exchange meet up in the city where you reside. These meets ups are often hosted at bars or coffee shops. If you can’t find one in your area, consider starting your own! Here are two websites that I’ve used to find language exchanges in the areas where I’ve traveled:
Sign up for an online language exchange and practice with someone who speaks the language you want to learn. Warning: ladies, I‘ve heard that many men use these websites solely to meet women, so maybe consider only pairing up with other women. Here are some free and recommended language exchange sites: The Mixxer, Conversation Exchange, Easy Language Exchange.
If you visit a country that speaks the language you want to learn, commit to only speaking that language with locals. It doesn’t matter if you speak in broken pieces or if they can speak your native language. It’s all about trying and using what you know. You can’t improve your language skills without practice, no matter how painful in the beginning.
Language Learning with Pen and Paper
Keep a notebook of common phrases you’d like to learn, and practice those everyday. Start with phrases such as “How much does it cost?” or “My Name is…” and then work your way up to more complex phrases that would be helpful.
Regularly write about your day, stories you’d like to share, descriptions of people you know, the plot of your favorite movies, etc. Anything that will get you to practice words and phrases that you want to know in real life. Remember that the grammar doesn’t have to be perfect… you aren’t being graded, you just need to train your brain to start thinking, reading, and writing in a new language even if it’s not perfect!
Add sticky notes to objects in your home and label them in the language you are studying. This may not work if you are staying in a hostel or have a ton of roommates, but if you can get away with it, start in the kitchen by labeling things like refrigerator, oven, microwave, bowls, blender, etc. Then continue this in the bathroom, living room, your own room, or wherever you feel comfortable.
Tips for Learning a New Language While Traveling
In general, practice speaking out loud whenever you study your new language. Do this with your apps, audio lessons, and your notebook phrases. Pronunciation is just as important as any other element in language learning.
Some people will tell you that they learned a new language in three months. (They didn’t.) Some people will tell you it’s easy. (It’s not.) Some people will say that they just used one application and now they’re fluent. (That’s not truth.)
So be patient, don’t compare yourself to the progress of others, and most importantly, have fun with it. I love testing my progress by watching shows in Spanish and listening to new songs and writing to my Spanish-speaking friends in their language. The best part is that I can do this anywhere in the world as long as I have a connection to wifi. I’m so thankful for the digital age that we live in, which makes language learning a whole lot more accessible and fun!
What language do you want to learn? What have been your favorite learning strategies so far?
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A month after sharing “quarantine versions” of the STORMTROOPERS OF DEATH songs “March Of The S.O.D.” and “Chromatic Death” , recorded with each member separated in their own homes, Charlie Benante ( ANTHRAX ), Scott Ian ( ANTHRAX ) and Dan Lilker ( NUCLEAR ASSAULT , ex- ANTHRAX ) have returned with another S.O.D. track, “Speak English Or Die” , the lyrics of which have been switched up to “Speak Spanish Or Die” . Joining the trio on vocals is MR. BUNGLE and FAITH NO MORE singer Mike Patton , who previously performed the same track with Ian and ex- SLAYER drummer Dave Lombardo at the MR. BUNGLE reunion shows in February. Patton makes an appearance in the accompanying video as “ The Lonely Rager ,” complete with cowboy hat and bandana mask.
STORMTROOPERS OF DEATH (a.k.a. S.O.D. ) was a satirical 1980s metal band which consisted of Ian (guitar), Benante (drums), Lilker (bass) and M.O.D. ‘s Billy Milano (vocals).
STORMTROOPERS OF DEATH are commonly credited as being among the first bands to fuse hardcore punk with thrash metal into a style sometimes called “crossover thrash.” The track “March Of The S.O.D.” from the group’s debut LP, “Speak English Or Die” , was the “Headbangers Ball” intro song for many years.
STORMTROOPERS OF DEATH was formed shortly after Ian finished his guitar tracks on the ANTHRAX album “Spreading The Disease” . He would draw pictures of the face of a character known as “ Sargent D ,” and the pictures would be accompanied by slogans such as “I’m not racist; I hate everyone” and “Speak English Or Die.” Ian would then wrote lyrics about this character. He decided to form a hardcore band based on Sargent D , so he recruited Benante , Lilker and Milano .
The 30th-anniversary edition of “Speak English Or Die” was made available in November 2015 via Megaforce . The set included the original album as well as the demo recordings from the pre- STROMTROOPERS OF DEATH project CRAB SOCIETY NORTH .
Have you always had a love for Spain? Do you love the passion of the Flamenco and fast pace of the Paso Doble? Have you always had a love for Spanish food, such as Gazpacho and Tortilla Española? Do you dream of the extensive sandy beaches of the Mediterranean? Have you always wanted to learn how to speak Spanish?
Why wait? Now is the perfect time to get started and learn Spanish the fun way!
Pepe and Tete is a Spanish language experience business based in Surrey, United Kingdom. From private to group lessons, they offer a learning experience that is tailored to all ages and levels i.e. from toddlers to adults and from beginners to advanced students.
That is why their learning methods are broadly categorised into tutoring and full immersion experiences.
The tutoring is provided by native speakers via online lessons with plenty of practical and conversational exercises to develop the listening and speaking skills.
Then the full immersion programmes combine learning and fun in a natural setting that allows you to fully appreciate the rich Spanish culture. These programmes take place in the south of Spain by the Mediterranean. The program ensures that participants practice Spanish while taking part in everyday life fun activities such as visits to the market, local shops, and shopping centres where they will need to manage themselves to buy different products. Additionally, the programme includes a variety of activities such as Flamenco workshops, cooking/ baking and a special sport called Padel.
Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante has posted another lockdown cover featuring himself, Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian, Nuclear Assault bassist / former Anthrax guitarist Dan Lilker, and Faith No More / Mr. Bungle frontman Mike Patton. They pay tribute to S.O.D. with a take on “Speak English Or Die” dubbed “Speak Spanish Or Die”.
Anthrax have announced a brand new line of merchandise, “The Quarantine Drop,” that consists of two limited edition t-shirts: the quarantine masked Not-Man on the front with “Stop Spreading the Disease: Stay the F*ck Home” on the back, and the “State of Quarantine” shirt featuring the album cover art. But wait, there’s more: shipping with each order for the next 72 hours only (ends Monday at 11:59AM ET), the band will include a free Anthrax quarantine mask. The band will be donating a portion of all proceeds to Direct Relief, an organization that helps equip doctors and nurses in 80+ countries and 50 U.S. states with life-saving medial resources to care for the world’s most vulnerable people. Log on to Shop Anthrax to place your order.
Apr 23Where Can Kids Learn Spanish, French, and Swahili?
Kids can learn Spanish, French, and Swahili at Mercy Housing’s Appian Way community, thanks to our partner, National Real Estate Practice of EPIC Insurance Brokers and Consultants. Before coronavirus, EPIC’s Real Estate Forum collectively donated 120 new Chromebooks with software to Mercy Housing’s Resident Services across 10 communities in Seattle.
So that everyone at these communities got the opportunity to use a Chromebook, Homework Clubs were renting out the devices through Resident Services Coordinators. Residents could get help accessing school assignments, accounts, grades, and learning games like Duolingo — a fun and educational language app. Adult residents could also use the devices to file their taxes and utilize character strength assessments.
A Changing World
Today, with shelter-in-place and social distancing measures being observed, our resourceful staff are using the Chromebooks to offer remote tutoring via Microsoft Teams for kids who haven’t had access to tutoring enrollment applications for the Seattle Preschool Program (while Homework Clubs are on hold). Plus, residents are still getting support to file their taxes.
Before the pandemic had closed traditional classroom settings, Mercy Housing had been exploring opportunities to strengthen families’ digital access. Many children from low-income families face barriers to academic success, including lack of enrichment activities and up-to-date technology resources at home. Coronavirus has worsened the digital divide and Mercy Housing has gone into overdrive to get kids’ families better internet and more devices to continue their learning. Now, Resident Services are coordinating with schools on assessing residents’ technology and Wi-Fi access. Stay tuned to our blog to hear more about how donations are making a huge impact right now.
Mercy Magnuson Place received some of these Chromebooks too, and many immigrants and refugees with low incomes call this community home. They especially stand to benefit from improved access to technology to overcome language barriers and gain assistance navigating complex school registration systems in a new country. All these Chromebooks and software are entirely free for resident students to use.
An EPIC Start
The costs of Chrome Device Management Software were covered by the initial fundraising efforts, allowing administrators the ability to create a device profile and pre-install apps in a Cloud, which automatically downloads onto each Chromebook when the user logs on.
Mercy Housing operated 10 after-school programs (prior to coronavirus) in communities throughout the Northwest region and will add two additional programs this year. Over 500 kids participated in these enrichment activities last year. An impressive 90% of students report that Mercy Housing after-school programs help them feel more confident about their school performance.
Supporting and growing residents’ access to computers and the internet comes at a critical time. According to The Federal Communications Commission, 21 million Americans don’t have high-speed internet. Many advocates and supporters of equitable education and internet access say that even that number is modest. Broadband Now claims that the number of people in our country without access to high-speed internet could be even double that, around 42 million. For Mercy Housing, either number is too high, especially for families. These days, internet and computer access are essential for students’ success, and with shelter-in-place and social distancing protocols being practiced at all our properties, digital access is a must.
While many schools offer increased access to technology, this tends to be in wealthier, resource-rich schools where active PTA groups raise significant funds. For many years, Mercy Housing has focused on closing the opportunity gap for children and families living with low incomes through programming that engages youth after school to foster emotional wellbeing, physical activity, and academic achievement.
There’s No Better Time Than Now
When students fall behind in school, it can affect them for the rest of their lives. It can affect access to opportunity and that’s what Mercy Housing and EPIC’s partnership is about, helping young people gain access. Ensuring that residents have access to the same opportunities that all of us need to thrive is paramount to our mission. And academic excellence is vital. Mercy Housing’s Resident Services will continue to offer a rich variety of educational opportunities to families because our commitment to communities is always for the long term.
Learning a New Language in Times of Social Distancing
As the new age of technology is constantly bringing us new and improved ways to learn, many people have begun to take advantage of learning online. Learning a language online is great for many reasons, as it gives the learner a much wider variety of useful tools, and is especially advantageous for those seeking to improve their conversational skills. Practicing speaking from day one is the absolute best way to be successful when learning a language. Speaking Spanish is a skill and in order to master any skill, it must be practiced and practiced as much as possible. Following the online route when learning Spanish gives you an edge that many people may not think about and that edge is connection with native speakers and teachers. When in contact with native teachers as opposed to non-native teachers you are much more likely to be compelled to actually use the language as it is much less likely to be able to revert back to your native language. In this article, I am going to talk about five of the best online resources that are out there to assist you on your journey to mastering the Spanish language.
Vamos Spanish Academy is a wonderful institution and has been bringing high quality Spanish education to students from all over the world for more than ten years. It is located in the heart of Buenos Aires, Argentina and provides a one of a kind experience to those seeking to learn Spanish and acquire the skills they need to succeed in achieving fluency. Vamos Spanish Academy implements a unique learning system that focuses on conversation from day one. The courses that Vamos offers aim to get students talking as soon as possible, while incorporating the necessary grammar into each class as well as the other three main language skills; reading, writing, and listening. Vamos Spanish Academy succeeds in providing its students with a tailor made curriculum that is fun and enjoyable and fits the needs of each student so as to ensure their success in gaining proficiency as soon as possible. Vamos successfully brings this same energy and interaction to their online classrooms. Do not hesitate to give them a try especially now as they are offering discounted online Spanish courses.
2. Rosetta Stone
One of the next best online learning apparatuses is very well known, and it is called Rosetta Stone. Rosetta Stone stands out because it captures every aspect of Spanish language learning when it comes to applications compared to real time classes. The Rosetta Stone program teaches language in context, in order to reflect day to day situations. You have the option to choose between Latin American Spanish or Spanish from Spain, giving you the opportunity to to learn about many hispanic cultures from all over the world. Another great asset that this program has is speech recognition technology. This is the closest you can get to perfecting your speaking and pronunciation skills without taking live action online classes, such as those that Vamos Spanish Academy offers.
Moving on to another very effective online resource to learn Spanish is an application called Busuu. Busuu includes comprehensive grammatical lessons like many other great language learning applications, but it also includes extensive audio files and reading/writing exercises to assist in the development of these equally important skills. One of the best tools that this product offers, that many other online learning apps do not, is the ability to get in contact and speak with other learners and/or native speakers in order to practice the most fundamental skill when learning a second language, and that is speaking. Busuu has proven to be one of the most user friendly and engaging apps there is when it comes to language learning applications and is highly recommended.
Another great online learning tool is an application called duolingo. Duolingo is especially useful for beginners or those who have little to no experience at all with the language. Duolingo has one great advantage and that is the fact that it is free, which makes it accessible to practically everyone and anyone who would like to learn a new language. Duolingo uses a proficiency tracking system that sends you daily reminders that motivate you to excel each day in order to ensure that you advance. The app uses a system that implements the usage of images and repetition which is great for many people, as more than half of the population are visual learners. The only main downfall of the app is that it does not offer interaction with other learners so it lacks the opportunity to practice speaking.
The online application, Babbel, is another great tool for those seeking to learn Spanish on their own time and at their own pace. Babbel offers pre recorded lessons for all levels of learners so that you can take your lessons while you are at the gym, at the grocery store, or even driving to work! Babbel provides its subscribers with structured lessons that facilitate the practice of reading, writing, and listening, but as mentioned previously, it is another app that lacks exercises to practice conversational skills. As we discussed, conversation is one of the most, if not the most, important aspect of learning a language. There are many people who have a very high level of Spanish when it comes to reading and an understanding of the grammar, but when they speak, they just find it impossible. This is why it is so important to practice speaking from day one.