Spanish in Scotland!

You may have noticed we’re both a little obsessed with all things Spanish…. This post is all about learning a language pre and post travelling! 

Anytime I successfully say something in another language to a person and they somehow understand it feels like a small, little accomplishment. Languages have always fascinated me and that feeling is magical!

I remember when I was a little kid on my first holiday abroad, I ordered a drink in Spanish having rehearsed the right words to say all day. I was super chuffed when the waiter congratulated me and brought me my juice!

Murcia – the city where I learnt Spanish

During my travels in the last couple of years I have been lucky enough to become pretty much fluent in Spanish and I love learning other languages, even if all I learn is “please” and “thank you”.

Huanchaco, Peru

It’s one of the things I appreciate the most about travelling- the chance to learn a few new words and attempt to communicate with people who speak a different language and learn a little of their culture. I love the way people often light up and smile when you speak to them in their own language or how you can often have a whole conversation in hand gestures and one or two words in each language.


As a British person I often find people are shocked when my friends or I speak a different language…. They don’t expect it as many of us go by the old “well everyone speaks English”. It’s good to stamp on the stereotype and see their faces! Even at a bbq I went to this weekend in Edinburgh I met a Spanish man who was completely bewildered I could speak Spanish.  That got me thinking about this blog post…

Sarria, Galicia

The challenge now that I am home is to keep Spanish going! This can feel like a full time job and even after a couple of weeks of not using it my Spanish chat can get a bit rusty. I thought i’d share a couple of things i’ve been doing to keep learning here in Scotland – mainly forcing every Spaniard in Edinburgh to be my friend!!!

Understanding what new foods are is a key motivation for me when learning!

Maybe you’ve learnt another language while travelling and don’t want to lose it or maybe you’re keen to learn a language for future travels….. I’d love to hear your ideas about what might work to keep learning a language at home.

Here’s some little things I do –

  1. Read the news – I try to do this every day in Spanish
  2. Find an addictive netflix show in that language – when you find a show that you can binge on in another language you pick up phrases and start thinking a little in that language. I love Narcos of course and Velvet is a bit of a guilty pleasure!
  3. Work out to reggaeton (Spanish only tip!) – there’s nothing like a bit of Luis Fonsi or J Balvin to motivate you.
  4. Find a local language exchange / tandem – these clubs exist in most cities and i’ve been lucky to find one that meets every single Tuesday for Spanish. It’s a great way to meet all kinds of people! The bar we meet in is amazing and has over 40 beers on tap- it’s a Tuesday treat to choose!
  5. Sign up to word of the day – many online websites have this that you can have sent to your phone each day
  6. Look for friends in that language – try couchsurfing meet ups or other apps to meet people – chatting is by far the best way to learn and you can look for people who are in your area. 
  7. Change your phone/facebook settings to the language – the best learning is when you barely even notice!
  8. Eat and cook the food of that country – food, food, food – this is simply motivational!
  9. Set an alert on cheap flights to that country – at the end of the day going to the country of that language is the best way to practice and motivate yourself! Jump on a plane and test your skills!
A paella I made in Valencia!

Just as a little extra I thought i’d throw in the two important phrases that I personally learn in any country!

English                                  One beer, please                               One coffee please

Spanish                                 Una cerveza, por favor                    Un café, por favor

French                                  Une bière, s’il vous plaît                  Un café, s’il vous plaît

Italian                                   Una birra per favore                        Una caffè per favore

German                                Einen bier bitte                                 Ein Kaffee bitte

Norwegian                           En øl takk                                           En kaffe takk

drink beer cheers toast

At the end of the day a couple of phrases can really help you have a great experience while travelling and learning means you can make new friends at home!

P.S. All the photos in this blog inspire me to keep learning Spanish!


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