Archive for the ‘Travel Experiences’ Category

Learning Spanish – Mental Preparation

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

In the last article; ‘Anybody can learn Spanish’ I talked about the different reasons why people might decide to learn Spanish. I also talked about the great sense of achievement that learning another language can bring you. In this article I am going to talk about the different things you should consider before embarking on such a crusade.

I think a lot of people believe that learning another language won’t actually be that difficult. Well, maybe it won’t be for some, but if like me you have never tried to learn a foreign language before then it may well turn out to be one of the most challenging things that you are ever likely to attempt. Of course I don’t want to put anybody off, after all, in my last article I said that anybody can do it. Well, I absolutely believe this, but I also believe that you should realistically think about how and when learning Spanish can be achieved for you.

Of course not everyone is the same. Some of us are better at doing some things than other people are. So, it stands to reason that learning Spanish might be easier for one person than it is for another. The truth is that learning a new language can be achieved by possessing any number of different skills. There is no proven formula for learning a new language that 100% works for everybody! What you need to think about is what methods work best for you.

When I first started to think about how and when I would learn Spanish I honestly thought it was going to be easier than it actually was. I think one reason was because I was comparing myself to the millions of Europeans that fluently speak English. Anyone who has been to Germany, or Scandinavia will know that pretty much everybody can speak English. I thought if so many of them can learn a new language then it couldn’t be that difficult!

Now, when I think about Europeans speaking English I realise that they are so good at it because they have been learning it practically since they started to learn their own languages. This is certainly one of the key things that you need to realise about learning Spanish. It will not happen overnight. It is a process that can literally takes years.

Some languages might be considered more difficult to learn than others but of course this is all relative. It is true however, that the structure and functionality of some languages are more similar to each other than they are to others. The structure of the French language for example more closely mimics the structure of the Spanish language than it does English.

I spent a few days on a trip to ‘El salar de Uyuni’ (a salt lake), in Bolivia with a French girl. Most of the time we spoke in English but we were able to have basic conversations in Spanish too. I didn’t realise until the end of the trip that she had only been learning Spanish for a month and yet she was almost as good as I was!!

If you can already speak another language then perhaps learning Spanish will be easier for you. Even if it isn’t then at least you will already be prepared for the learning experience that you are about to embark on

At this stage you might well be thinking, how can I prepare myself for the learning experience that I am about to embark of if I have never tried to learn a different language before? How can I prepare myself for the challenges ahead if I don’t even know what the challenges are? The reality is that your not going to know how difficult or easy learning Spanish might be until you actually get started. All I really want to emphasise at this point is that you shouldn’t underestimate how difficult and frustrating it might turn out to be. Patience is the key!

Of course you should be very positive and excited about learning Spanish, after all if you don’t enjoy doing it then what is the point! Learning Spanish could be one of the most amazing and fulfilling experiences that you have ever had. It certainly has been for me. Believe me, learning Spanish could open new doors in your life that you had never before thought possible.

In the next article I intend to talk about some of the first steps that I took in my path to learning Spanish. I mentioned in the previous article that one of the main reasons I wanted to learn Spanish was because I was about to embark on a long trip to Central and South America. My first steps began before this trip was about to take place. I didn’t want to leave England without knowing anything!

Spanishexperto – All you need to learn Spanish

An impressive collection of 35 audio and video lessons, 100’s of Spanish to English word lists and word remembering exercises, Spanish pronunciation guide, Spanish verb tables, Spanish useful phrases and more.

This second article offers some advice to those thinking of learning Spanish. It makes the point that the entire learning process could take a long time and that it would be wise to fully prepare for this before beginning.

A Guide to Learning Spanish – Part 1

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

Spanishexperto – A guide to learning Spanish – Part 1

Anybody can learn a new language

There are many reasons why someone might want to learn Spanish. Perhaps you are planning a holiday or business trip to a Spanish speaking country or maybe you are thinking of emigrating. It could be that you don’t really need to speak Spanish at all but you just want to say that you can. Being able to communicate in another language certainly gives you a great sense of achievement.

My reasons were a little mixed. For a long time I had wanted to learn another language, and for some reason I was always drawn to Spanish. I am not entirely sure why this was. I think one reason was because the little I knew about Spain at the time somehow appealed to my sense of good living. Sun, sand, siestas, late night dinner parties and dark skinned beautiful women! Of course there is far more to Spain than this, but for me, Spain and the Spanish language held more appeal than say French or German did.

Although I had wanted to learn Spanish for a long time I guess the main reason why I finally decided to do something about it was because I was planning a long trip to Central and South America. I was about to pass through as many as 19 different countries where the official national language was Spanish. Well that was a back in 2002. Since then Spanish and all things Spanish both in Spain and in Latin America have literally taken me over. I wouldn’t have believed it then but now Spanish is a part of my every day life. I can speak, read and understand Spanish to the point where I don’t have to think about it too much.

When people ask me if I can speak Spanish fluently I am always a little hesitant to say yes. The truth is that even though I can communicate in Spanish with relative ease I still don’t feel that I know enough. I am not really sure if I ever will! There are always new words and phrases to learn for example and of course these vary from country to country.

I think one of the biggest tests for me is being able to sit in front of the TV with una cerveza (a beer) and watch a Spanish soap opera (una telenovela) or a Spanish movie and completely understand everything that is going on. After all, if I can do that in English why shouldn’t I be able to do the same in Spanish? Well I have to say I am definitely not there yet but almost! I highly recommend ‘Pasion de Gavilanes’. It’s a hugely popular telenovela from Columbia. I’ll talk more that this and others in later articles.

So, how did I get from not knowing a single word of Spanish (apart from – gracias and amigo), to being able to read a Spanish book, speak to a Spanish-speaking friend or watch a Spanish telenovel? Well the answer to that is what I intend to write about in the coming articles. I am not going to lie to you and say that the journey was an easy one. The truth is that learning a new language takes time and requires a great deal of patience and commitment. However what I really want to convey at this point is that anybody can do it if they rally want to.

In the next article I intend to write about preparation. By that I mean thinking about what it is you want to achieve and how you intend to go about achieving it. You are not going to learn Spanish overnight then I think it makes sense to prepare yourself for the challenges ahead. Learning a new language should be fun and there is no reason why it shouldn’t be as long as you realise your limitations.

By no means do I consider myself to be someone that has a natural flare for languages. When I went to school (all those years ago!) the only subject I failed in was French. For some reason I just couldn’t get my head round it. Before I started learning Spanish I knew nothing of other languages. I started right from the beginning. I guess what I’m trying to say is, is that if I can do it then believe me anybody can.

  • Spanishexperto – Online Interactive Learning.
    The complete online Spanish learning solution. Video and audio lessons, vocabulary, pronunciation guide, quizzes and much more. Access to 1000’s of Spanish verbs, nouns and adjectives with word remembering exercises.

The Origins of Spanishexperto

Friday, May 31st, 2013

If you are interested in learning the Spanish language then this is for you. Hi, my name is Nick and amongst other things, I spend a lot of my time supporting a new online learning solution for the Spanish language;

The team at Spanishexperto have created a study program that gives the student everything that is needed to become a fluent speaker and competent user of the Spanish language. The best thing is that the entire program is Internet based with no need to buy CD’s or books. Clever use of audio and video gives the student a unique interaction with online teachers that is controlled by the student in a way that suits them.

So, what’s the catch, how much does it cost you might be asking? Well actually much of what Spanishexperto has to offer is free. The Spanish useful phrases section of the website will show you how you can communicate in Spanish in many common everyday situations. You have access to hundreds of English to Spanish word lists that are split up into easy to remember categories. The Spanish pronunciation guide with audio is simply perfect for making sure the Spanish you speak can be understood and the Spanishexperto verb conjugation tables will show you how to use and form Spanish verbs in every tense you will come across.

If you are serious about learning Spanish then becoming a Spanishexperto member is what you really need. The cost of membership for a year would have cost you less than 5 pence a day (now – totally FREE) and for this you have unlimited access to 35 audio and video lessons that cover all major aspects of Spanish grammar. Each lesson is supported with a number of different interactive quizzes that are designed to test your understanding of what has been taught in each lesson. You can progress at a pace that suits you and you can revisit any lesson as many times as you want to.

If you prefer, you can absorb the same information that is contained in the audio and video lessons by reading the supporting written material that accompanies each lesson, or you can use both at the same time! Whatever way you choose, Spanishexperto gives you all the tools you need to do the job.

Spanishexperto members also have access to hundreds of word remembering exercises that are designed to help you remember new Spanish words without having to use conventional word drills.

If you already speak a little Spanish then great but if, like me you had to start from the very beginning then maybe I can help. Much of the Spanishexperto study program has been designed as a result of feedback from people that have already learned the language. I am one of those people.

In the coming articles I will take you on a guided tour of how and when the Spanish language became a part of my life. The journey for me was a long one with many moments of both frustration and jubilation but in the end it was all certainly worth it. Now, I can communicate in not just one, but two of the most widely spoken languages in the world.

My experiences have taken me far and wide. From Spain, to Mexico, to Cuba, to Boliva, to Argentina and all that’s in between. Let me tell you how my experiences helped me to achieve my goal. It is a nice feeling to be able to have a conversation with a llama herder in Peru or to read Harry Potter in Spanish or to write a letter to a Spanish-speaking friend. If I can do it anybody can!!