While packing for our 11 day cruise this week, it suddenly dawned on me that I hardly speak any Spanish. It is less than five months before our extended travel to South America. Yes, I’ve paid a tutor for over six months for Conversational Spanish one-on-one, still unable to hold a conversation except the usual “hola”, “necesito ayuda” or “cuanto cuesta”.
Do you think it is necessary to learn Spanish before traveling to South America? I think it will increase our connection with the locals. My daughter is quite fluent now with consistent private tutoring and having online lesson with teachers in South America.
Here are five ways we prepare our teens to speak Spanish almost fluently before traveling:
One: Take Spanish as an elective
They have taken Spanish in middle school for two years and have learned basic Spanish.
Two: Local Private Tutor
After two years of middle school Spanish classes and one year in high school, I dare say one of our teens was not fluent in Spanish, until we hired a local private tutor. Her private tutor is originally from Mexico City and has lived in the United States for over 12 years. She is a qualified teacher and taught in Mexico before transferring to the United States because of her husband’s work. We found out, hiring a private tutor has accelerated the learning process.
So this arrangement works out perfectly.
Three: Mango Languages through our local library for free
Our local library provides free online basic Spanish language course. This course has helped in the initial stages of learning. They even provide an app for smartphones.
Four: Online language schools in South America
She studied with Simon Bolivar Spanish School in Quito, Ecuador via Skype. You can purchase the course for $85 for 10 hours. This is a very inexpensive way to learn conversational Spanish.
We have another tutor in another Spanish speaking country that she is learning via Skype. In total, she has about two to three hours Spanish immersion classes.
Five: Spanish Songs
Throughout history, songs, music or chants played center stage in most cultures. Words put into music can transform us into another world or help us envision the scene that is expressed in the song. Likewise we could learn a language through songs and music.
The Australian have a team of singers and musicians who translated English songs to Spanish and other languages. We enjoy their music in English and listening to the songs in Spanish is an added bonus to our learning process.
Here is one example (from YouTube):
We found a few websites with free basic Spanish lessons or word of the day.
For a Spanish word of the day, try Transparent.com For basic Spanish and other languages, please read my post on 5 Things You’ll Never Get From A Bookstore For Free When You Travel
Do you think it is necessary to learn Spanish before traveling to Spanish speaking countries? Please leave your comment.