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Learning Spanish - your experiences?

Travel Forums Europe Learning Spanish - your experiences?

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Last Post This thread is marked as being about Spain
1. Posted by Christie_N (Inactive 2 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Thanks to various comments on the TR here, I am going to Spain later in the year to do a Spanish course. The think is, Ive booked with an agency who have sold me a course 15% cheaper than the price of the school it represents and Im wondering if anyone has experience with this company - as the school Ive booked for is not actually on their website yet :) I mean, Ive had confirmation and stuff but it just seems too good. Shouldnt complain, I know, but Id feel better if someone else knows them. -snip-

The other thing: How much is my Spanish going to improve in 6 weeks? Im staying with a Spanish family and doing 4 hours a day course. I dont "need" Spanish for anything - I dont even study it, and as its the 1st time Ive ever learnt a language Im really curious as to whats going to happen. What should i be able to achieve in 6 weeks?

[ Edit: This posting is a promo posting in disguise.... ]

2. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hello Christie

I also took some Spanish lessons, in Ireland and in Guatamala.
I think how much progress u make with Spanish, in 6 weeks, depends on your ability to learn languages. Some people are more talanted, than others.

I think, if I was u, I would phone the school and ask, if the booking with the agency, to attend their school is OK. But why dont u book directly, with the school? Why do u have to go through an agency?


3. Posted by makulit (Budding Member 40 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

I bought a book called "Ultimate Spanish". It's very helpful and easy to follow. You could also buy the book with the CDs. What I did was I just borrowed the set from the library and copied it *embarass laugh* and bought the book from It only costs $11.

4. Posted by Herr Bert (Moderator 1388 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

It depends on your talents, and on how many hours of lessons you will get, and if you are forced to speak Spanish outside the lessons. (the worst, and most common mistake to make is to start talking English with other students), I would rather start with learning some basics at home, instead of learning Spanish in Spain.

Being realistic in 6 weeks, you will be able to learn some basics, and be able to make short conversations with the locals (small talk). As with every language, you will have to keep using it, or you will loose most of the things you learned. To learn Spanish like you have been living there for some years will need you to learn Spanish intensively for 4-6 months.

I was thinking to do something similar a couple of months ago, and to stay in Spain for 4-5 weeks, to learn Spanish, but I decided against it, and to learn as much as is possible by using some free webpages, and using all other useful stuff I can get my hands on. I ended up using Rosetta Stone, and I am now halfway the course, and I am improving a lot. When I feel I can't learn more by myself, than I might consider going to Spain to learn more, and to speak the language better.

5. Posted by sirwhale (Full Member 84 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

I'm doing the same this July when i finally graduate albeit with two differences; 1. I decided to do this a year and a half ago, so in my leisure time i have been learning spanish and 2. I plan to stay in Madrid for about 8 months.

I highly recomend you start learning spanish before you go as you will ultimetly gain more from your expierence. Especially as you are living with a spanish family, i mean if you turn up unprepared all you will be able to say for the first few days is 'hola'.

One of the first packages i bought wasn't so good when i look back, but at the time i thought i was getting somewhere, so if you decide on learning spanish by yourself be careful where you learn from. Probably my favourite package was rocket spanish, its relatively cheap for what you get and if you 'want' to learn spanish, then you will do with some pace using this package.

Best of luck


6. Posted by cde3879 (Full Member 142 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

I'm using Pimsleur and it seems pretty good - not sure the cost as I borrowed it off someone else but I'd recommend it!

7. Posted by Christie_N (Inactive 2 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hi...Not been around for a while but thanks for the infos. cde - Im afraid learning from cassettes and books is not for my. I seem to be able to learn from speaking/listening but not from cassettes.

My worries about the school not being on the website were unfounded in the end :) Im off to Spain in the summer!!! whoopeee!!! :)

Still welcome any comments...And thanks again so far.

8. Posted by abesworld (Budding Member 48 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

You'll hear it from me again, but it really does depend on your ability to pick up languages. I picked up Spanish relatively quickly, and I think that it's a very easy language to learn because of the consistency of rules and sentence structure. There are always exceptions, but learn them. Internalizing it will always improve with time, but it's worth it. People speak Spanish EVERYWHERE. I have found that it's my ticket to communication almost anywhere I travel. A lot of people speak Spanish, and it's very useful to be able to do it too. Good luck with it, and have a good time. I'm going to Spain later this year as well, my first time :) I've been taking classes for over 7 years, but I keep getting better. Hopefully this summer I get to that point of fluency that I keep getting so close to!

9. Posted by Laura_t (Budding Member 7 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hey Christie,

Have a great trip:) I really wouldn't worry about achieving too high a goal with your Spanish after 6 weeks. If it's your first experience with a foreign language it might be tricky. But what's most important is that if you go with an open mind, you'll end up having an awesome time and then be totally motivated to keep improving on the Spanish that you pick up:) Lots of people give up, but you may just find this trip totally inspires you to keep at it. Maybe you'll end up making Spanish friends you can keep in contact with, or maybe you'll go back in a few years. Who knows:) That's the beauty of it!

10. Posted by PeteW27 (Budding Member 50 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

I have been self-teaching spanish for about 3 months on and off as I am planning to go to Argentina this September. Maybe it's just me but do any other native English speakers find it fairly easy to work it out when reading it? It seems to me that there are a lot of spanish words that are English (actually probably the other way round!) or similar looking at least! Apparently though, embarazia is not embarrassed but er pregnant, so perhaps best not say this! even more so if you're a lad. But so far, i've found it pretty easy, the grammar is easier than English. Also though, I am comparing this to learning Czech, which is just daft, but I would have thought nevertheless that after 6 weeks of intensive studying, you will be able to get round any spanish/latino city and survive. Good luck, and enjoy your visit to Spain.