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!
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”.
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…
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!!!
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 –
- Read the news – I try to do this every day in Spanish
- 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!
- Work out to reggaeton (Spanish only tip!) – there’s nothing like a bit of Luis Fonsi or J Balvin to motivate you.
- 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!
- Sign up to word of the day – many online websites have this that you can have sent to your phone each day
- 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.
- Change your phone/facebook settings to the language – the best learning is when you barely even notice!
- Eat and cook the food of that country – food, food, food – this is simply motivational!
- 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!
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
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!