Since you heard that song or watched a movie or read something in Spanish, you thought, «I want to learn Spanish, but I don’t know where to start.» In other posts, we’ve given you some clues about where to begin: [link 1] and [link 2]. However, it’s not enough because you’ve heard expressions or ways of speaking, addressing a waiter, a shop assistant, or a person on the street. And that’s the Spanish you want to learn—the everyday one, the one Spaniards use with their friends.
We’re not going to talk about colloquial Spanish here (we’ll leave that for another post) but about how to handle everyday situations you might experience when you decide to spend a few months in Spain to truly take off with Spanish.
Be careful, living in Spain is addictive, and a stay of a few weeks can turn into months or even years, or a whole lifetime. We know some students to whom this has happened, and they are happy after immersing themselves in the country and mastering everyday situations.
The best way to learn a language is through deep immersion in the country, living with natives in their homes, or in a residence with Spanish students, or sharing a house with other foreigners studying Spanish and speaking Spanish at home.
Deep immersion helps you constantly think in Spanish; you have all the stimuli around you to do so—from the moment you step out onto the street, everything around you is in Spanish: store signs, conversations, advertisements…
There are many benefits to deep immersion. You get first-hand knowledge of the way of life, customs, and behaviour among natives when they are with friends or family.
The most interesting aspect of a language is when you have to face everyday situations—going to a bar and ordering a coffee or food, shopping for clothes at a store, going to a market to buy groceries.
These are everyday situations that a native also encounters, but now you have to do them to speak Spanish more naturally and feel like a native. A good exercise is to talk to the person serving you in that establishment.
They will speak to you at their usual speed; they won’t speak slower or use all the words of the sentence. That’s very interesting for facing everyday situations and checking that the immersion is taking effect.
Waiter, please a Café con Leche» and how do you like your coffee?
You will visit many places when you’re in Spain. Bars will be one of the first places since that’s where friends, colleagues gather, and people come in for a coffee, each ordering a different one.
You’ll hear an incredible variety of ways to order coffee: café con leche, café cortado, café manchado, decaf from a packet or a machine, and so on; we’d say there’s a variety for each Spaniard.
That’s why it’s important to know what type of coffee you want and how you take your coffee, in case you arrive at a bar and mistakenly order a coffee you don’t like. The bar is a place where you’re served quickly, and they’ll speak to you rapidly. It’s a good place to push yourself to learn Spanish.
A Concert, Comedy Shows, why not?
They might seem like strange places, lots of people, lots of noise, and just listening. But these are activities where you can interact with the people in the room. With comedy shows or stand – ups, you might not laugh much at first, but laughter is contagious, and that helps with speaking later.
Don’t look for comedy shows in theatres but in bars. There, you can interact with the people at the bar. Good humour works to loosen the tongue, and then you can talk to some Spanish groups there. Spaniards are usually open and welcoming, and they’ll include you in their plans for that night, and who knows, maybe for more days.
TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE LEARNING OF SPANISH IN EVERYDAY SITUATIONS
You’ll hear many different things about learning and speaking Spanish in everyday situations. The most important and seemingly basic one is: dare to speak. Mistakes don’t matter; we learn to speak by making mistakes.
One of the most challenging situations is when we go to a pharmacy. In some cities, they only speak Spanish. That’s when you need more courage to speak, so that toothache disappears. Use a translator if they don’t understand you; you’d be surprised what gestures can do to make yourself understood.
And if you’re sharing a flat, please, share it with Spaniards. It’s the best way to learn. Don’t limit yourself to speaking in your language; make Spanish the common language in the house, not English or any other language.
Keep reading our posts. They can help you improve and continue growing with Spanish. Write to us for any doubts and questions you have, and we’ll help you. Thank you for reading!