7 Ways to Practice Your Spanish in Spain

Category: Student Tips

If you plan to visit Spain, perhaps as a participant in a study abroad program or to take some Spanish language courses, you will no doubt have an abundance of opportunities to practice your new Spanish language skills while on campus at a University in Spain. You will also find that there are several ways to practice your Spanish outside of the classroom, seven of which are highlighted below.

Whether you are in Spain expressly to learn Spanish, or there on holiday or for work, there are many ways for you to improve your Spanish, including:

1. Talk to Colleagues/Friends/Fellow Students

The best support groups you can have when it comes to language improvement are Spanish friends, colleagues and classmates, people who genuinely take an interest in your Spanish language development. Talking and listening to friends and colleagues is an outstanding way to pick up new vocabulary and improve your pronunciation.

2. Read Spanish Books/Magazines/Newspapers

The many coffee bars and bookstores in Spain not only offer opportunities to converse with like-minded people over a cup of steaming hot coffee, they are also loaded with Spanish-language reading materials, including Spanish magazines and newspapers, which will also assist you with your vocabulary development and Spanish writing skills.

3. Watch Movies

A great way to practice your Spanish while also being entertained is to take in a genuine Spanish movie or two. If you think about it, what other place is better to watch Spanish movies than in Spain? Catch the latest films in Spanish theatres or watch DVDs in the comfort of your apartment and try to catch popular words and phrases. Spanish films are internationally acclaimed, with directors such as Pedro Almodovar and Alejandro Amenabar, so rest assured that it will be an enjoyable experience.

4. Visit Restaurants, Bars, Cafes

While enjoying tapas, paella or other delicacies in the local Spanish restaurant, café or bar, make it a point of giving a (Spanish) word of encouragement to the chef who prepared your meal and/or to the waiters for their prompt service. These places are also great for socializing, and you’ll undoubtedly find at least a few people who are eager to help you improve your Spanish.

5. Go to the Opera or Theater

Watching contemporary plays, operas and dramas in a theater can be great for improving your listening skills. Who knows, you might end up watching an interesting rendition of one of your favorite novels.

6. Intercambios and Language Exchanges

The importance of practicing your Spanish outside of the classroom cannot be overstated, and if you want to improve your mastery of the language, nothing beats language exchanges with local students, as many Spaniards are just as eager to practice their English as you are to use your Spanish. Many Spanish language schools throughout the country organize periodic language exchanges, called intercambios, which allow you to speak Spanish in a conversational setting. Taking place every couple of weeks, intercambios are a great way to meet the locals and get the inside scoop on the Spanish culture.

7. Volunteer

Volunteering is one of the best ways for students to interact with locals and practice their Spanish, all while helping out the community in which they are studying and living. Many language schools throughout Spain encourage their students to volunteer, even connecting them with places like schools, animal shelters and non-profit charities that can use the extra help. By working alongside the native Spanish volunteers, you’ll undoubtedly pick up the local jargon in no time.