When preparing candidates for upcoming internships abroad, Adelante generally recommends tips such as taking a Spanish class in college, practicing on language apps such as Duolingo, and even hiring a tutor to talk 1-on-1 with students. If you’re still unsure how learning Spanish can benefit your life, check out this article from our friends at TakeLessons.
However, nothing will prepare you for learning a new language than immersing yourself in a Spanish speaking culture. Not only will you master your fluency faster, but you will also learn the culture. What better way to become fluent in Spanish than to spend a few months in Spain or South America?
Here are 4 tips to help you become fluent in Spanish during your abroad program:
1. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
The biggest thing that is in the way of you becoming fluent in Spanish is the fear that you will make a mistake. Maybe you’re worried that you’ll be laughed at, or perhaps you’re worried that you’ll be misunderstood and upset someone.
Strike up a conversation with a stranger – you’ll get a sense of “street smarts” needed to maneuver around the city, and you may even make some friends along the way.
The truth is that you will never become fluent without being willing to make grammar and vocabulary mistakes, and that’s ok! Don’t worry about upsetting a local because your Spanish is still improving. In fact, locals will be impressed by the fact that you are making an effort to learn Spanish.
Learn to laugh at your mistakes too. Something you say may sound funny to a local, but often times it’s not meant to be mean. Instead, laugh with them! It may help break the ice in a conversation!
2. Make Friends (And Familia)
What better way to practice Spanish than to speak it with your new friends abroad? There are plenty of opportunities to speak Spanish, but the trick is to find a group of people who are there to help you along the way.
At Adelante Abroad’s programs, many candidates live with a homestay family or a shared apartment with other international students. This has been proven as a successful way to practice Spanish on a daily basis as well as a great way to make lifelong friends (and family) while abroad.
If you’re new to the city and want to kick it up a notch, make a goal to speak Spanish wherever you are. (Repeat Tip #1 with talking to strangers and making friends)
3. Take Plenty of Notes
While many Spanish language books have the literal translation for words you need in the city, there are many slang terms and phrases only local to your international city or neighborhood. Bring a small notebook with you while out of your house and don’t be afraid to take notes about words or phrases that are still new to you.
By the end of your program, you’ll have your own personal dictionary and more insight on how multicultural your Spanish-speaking city truly is!
Who else agrees that the best way to learn another language is by eating local grub? Look for excursions that include cooking classes and opportunities to cook with local foods. Get to know local shops and markets to learn how to get good deals on produce and treats!
Aside from eating local food and learning where it comes from, do some extra exploring and get lost (literally). Explore a totally different town, take the wrong train, or even just make a plan to try something new that day. You’ll learn how to adapt to brand new environments and survive on your own. Plus, you might have an exciting story to tell friends and family back home!
Learning Spanish doesn’t have to be daunting or difficult. Throw yourself out there and face yours fears! Don’t worry too much though, Adelante Abroad programs include two to three weeks of intensive Spanish language classes to help you adjust during the beginning of your journey.
Ready to take one of our Spanish-language programs? We have plenty of internship opportunities in Spain (Madrid, Barcelona and Seville), Chile, Mexico, Ecuador, and Uruguay. Apply now and take advantage of some of THE most affordable programs out there!