Learning a language is a fascinating process! Imagine the trips to all those exotic countries and all the experiences with people from different cultures that you might explore.
But the truth is, if you’ve never learned a language before, you might get confused not knowing where to start and how to find the best ways to learn Spanish fluently.
Before the challenge becomes too intimidating, you can browse many articles online that will provide you many useful tips. Hopefully, this article is one of them.
The information provided in this article is what I collected through browsing dozens of different sources. The goal was to summarise the best ways to learn Spanish fluently that I would use for myself.
There are four effective methods that people use to learn the Spanish language, which I would like to outline:
- Private tutor online
- Immersion program
- Traditional classes
- Learning on your own
Private tutor online
A super effective way to learn Spanish is to find a native speaking Spanish teacher online. How it works is that you will have a one-hour one-to-one Skype lesson, where the teacher will share a screen with you to explain grammar or vocabulary. They can share video, audio, text, or even share the Google doc document where they can edit materials together with you in real-time.
With this method, you will get the same experience as you would have if you took a lesson in person.
An online tutor is usually cheaper than an in-person teacher. You can pay anywhere from 8$ to 15$ on average per class.
You get private practice not only with a person with teaching experience in Spanish but also with a native speaker.
Spanish has a wide variety of accents. Would you like to have a European Spanish pronunciation, or let’s say Mexican, or maybe Colombian? On many of the online schools, you can choose a country where you want your teacher to be from.
You don’t need to waste time commuting to the Spanish classes in schools. You can learn the language from home.
If you live in the USA and your teacher is from Spain, it is more difficult to find a convenient time for both of you.
If one of you have a weak internet connection that can disturb the flow of the lesson.
Where to find tutor online
Lessons are one to one with native Spanish speakers that have a degree and experience in teaching Spanish.
Prices start at 10.99$ for a 60 min lesson
Preply is a platform that connects students with over 4000 Spanish tutors. You can use the filtering system that will help you to choose your ideal tutor. The teachers set their own prices that start at as little as 3$ per lesson.
It’s another website that offers private lessons online with many qualified teachers. Prices start at 11$ for 45 min lesson.
My personal choice
My personal choice is Live Lingua, where I met my excellent teacher Miguel, from Peru. When I subscribed to this school, I initially asked for a Colombian teacher, because my best friend is from Colombia, and I love the sound of her accent.
My account manager Matt said there is no problem to assign a Colombian teacher, but for the first free lesson, they already selected a teacher from Peru. It seemed that for the free trial lesson, you could not choose a teacher yourself, which was fine by me.
Matt advised me that I will be able to change the teacher after the free trial without any problem, though. But I never did, because I was delighted with my first teacher from Peru, Miguel.
Additionally, the payment method on the Live Lingua is not obliging you to pay for the full course. You can pay for the lessons one by one. In that case, the lesson will cost 16$. If you pay for ten lessons in advance, it will cost 10.99$
The Immersion program, by far, is one of the most effective and undoubtedly one of the best ways to learn Spanish fluently as you soak inside of the language. You surround yourself with only the Spanish language and use little to none of your native language. You surround yourself with only the Spanish language and use little to none of your native language.
The most common way to achieve that is to take a course in a Spanish speaking country where you can force yourself to interact with the environment in the new language.
But traveling to another country is not always possible. Therefore you can try the immersion by private Spanish schools and universities. They offer accommodation in Spanish speaking families while you are taking the course.
Here you can find some information about nine popular Spanish immersion programs.
Or else, you can check out the Middlebury’s Spanish Language School in Vermont. The students there have to sign an agreement before they enrolled the curse that they will not use any other language except the one they are learning. Otherwise, they get sent back home.
When you immerse yourself in the Spanish, your only way to interact with people and the environment is in Spanish. You will have to learn it to be able to live in the country.
Apart from having lessons every day, you will have to learn Spanish for shopping, for finding locations for making order in restaurants, for communicating with your hosting family.
If you are considering an immersion program abroad or in a university, be ready to pay a couple of thousands of dollars. You will have to cover not only the cost of the course but also the accommodation and the flight tickets if you are going abroad.
Not everyone can do it
Immersion Programs last weeks and sometimes months. Not everyone can afford to spend so much time and money on studying abroad.
Therefore, it is not for casual learners. This method is very suitable for learners that need fast and effective results for their job or because of moving to another country.
You can find traditional classes in private language schools or universities. The setting is pretty much similar to the high school classes, where the teacher centers the information around a group of students. Although studying language in classes is better than nothing, the research by Rod Ellis from Oxford University states that such studies are not the best ways to learn Spanish fluently.
Good structure of lessons
Unlike the independent studies where you have full responsibility, during the traditional classes, all the information and the learning structure is already prepared for you. You don’t need to decide what to study, where to find the materials, or how to move on.
If you are lucky to get a good teacher, the lessons can be exciting and understandable.
Meeting new people
In the classroom setting, you will meet other Spanish learners that you can practice language skills with.
A big problem with traditional classes is that they concentrate on grammar and vocabulary lists rather than on improving the practicing skills.
To learn a language, you need to start using it to communicate with other people. And the traditional classes don’t usually provide this environment where you can practice your skills.
Practicing speaking skills in traditional classes can be very hard, especially if there is a big group of students.
Learning on your own
There are thousands of different programs and techniques to learn Spanish on your own. Many of them are free, like Duo Lingo, for some of them you might need to pay. To succeed, you will need to ensure that you have the right resources, optimized schedule, and loads of motivation. You will need to do research to choose the right materials such as Spanish learning programs, apps, books, podcasts.
It’s much cheaper than buying an immersion program or scheduling lessons with a teacher.
Unlike the classes, you can go at your own pace, and you don’t need to wait for other students to pick up the materials.
You can also save time on commuting, since you can study from home.
Your own curriculum
You can choose the topics that are the most interesting for you. By creating your learning structure, you can focus on what is useful for you rather than learning generic phrases that you might never use.
Finding the right resources
With all the choices online, it might take a while before you find the right materials that you will find useful.
You might sometimes feel too lazy to push yourself, which won’t happen in the classroom or during a lesson with an online teacher.
Nobody will correct your mistake
In my opinion, the most significant disadvantage is that you might be not aware of making the same mistakes, and there is no one to correct it. At some point, you might create a habit of saying or writing some phrases in the wrong way.
The essential part of language learning is practicing. Therefore in the self-learning process, it is vital to find conversational partners. You can find it online or go to any of the meetups where people gather with the same purpose to practice Spanish.