How to Learn Spanish & Avoid Boredom
You learn far better when you're engaged and excited and worse when you're bored and tired. So it's important for you to actively find ways to get away from the books, notes and your desk and bring some excitement into your studies. Some ways that we've found that increase engagement and interest are:
Using Flash Cards
As simple a tool as flash cards are, they remain one of the best and time-tested ways to study and test your knowledge of Spanish. There are many forms of flash cards, starting with the standard 3x5 cards you can get at any local store.
You can make your own cards from information in Spanish textbooks, reference books or from browsing the Spanish-English dictionary. We also offer our own line of Visual Spanish flash cards that save you the time of making your own. But no matter where you get your flash cards from, they give you the ability to have more fun while learning Spanish.
Flash Card Games and Activities
There are lots of activities and games you can play with flash cards to help you learn Spanish. Some common examples are:
Scatter some flash cards around and see which ones you can immediately identify, which ones you take a second or two to get and which ones completely stump you. Separate the cards into three categories based on how well you knew them, and you will know which Spanish words or concepts you need to focus on.
If you keep at it, you'll find you can immediately identify all the cards and you will be aware of your achievement. Be sure to repeat the process with the same cards again after a day or two to be sure you've really retained the information.
Place all the cards facing Spanish side up and see if you can sort them using only the Spanish words into categories. For example, you could sort them into things in the kitchen, or animals and other common categories. By looking only at the Spanish side you will be training yourself to see relationships among Spanish words without translating them from English.
Get together with Spanish speaking friends who want to learn English. Take turns in placing all the cards with Spanish facing up or English facing up. Quiz and help each other, taking turns being student or tutor. You'll find that switching teaching and learning roles is fun and more exciting than studying alone.
Start a Study Club
I can hear you saying this is too much trouble, but if you just take the initiative, you'll be surprised that getting your fellow Spanish students together to help and test each other makes studying far more fun and extremely productive. You'll find that getting a few folks together for lunch or at a cafe makes the time fly by as you help each other, laugh and learn all at the same time. This can be combined with the approach above of getting Spanish-speaking students of English to study with you to make the gatherings even more interesting. Be sure to search the web for local clubs that may already exist to avoid having to "reinvent the wheel".
You can use flash cards to help you study throughout the day. If you keep flash cards with you, you can use them whenever you have a moment of time. We started LangExpress because we found that we had lots of wasted moments throughout the day where we could learn, review or test ourselves on Spanish nouns, verbs and adjectives.
You would be surprised at how those lost minutes in line at the supermarket or waiting for an elevator add up. We found that we could add at least 30 minutes of painless Spanish study time per day using this method, and you don't even notice you're studying. We've actually heard people say that studying on-the-go makes them more relaxed because they're not getting frustrated by long lines and waits. On the contrary, they're actually happy to have a chance to pull out their flash cards for a quick Spanish review!
We've found that homemade cards actually aren't the easiest to keep clean, organized and neatly stacked on-the-go. That's why we created our own line of Visual Spanish study cards that are illustrated, ring-bound and are designed to be kept in your pocket throughout the day. But regardless of the brand or kind of flash cards you use, they can be used to study throughout the day, to play games and to test yourself and fellow students of Spanish.
In addition to taking flash cards with you throughout your day, you can also just plan some outside study time into your schedule. If you've been stuck inside studying Spanish from a book, why not take an hour, go to the park or beach and breathe some fresh air while learning some Spanish?!
Online Courses with Spanish Games
One of our partners, Rocket Spanish features online games as part of their course. Challenging yourself through play is a great way to learn and have a great time doing it. You can check out Rocket Spanish for Free and see if it's right for you.
You can also search the web for various free Spanish games, although you may find the quality is somewhat lacking. No matter where you find online games, they, like the other methods listed here, will get your mind off of traditional "studying" and you'll start learning and having fun!
Dare to Study Abroad!
You only live once, right?! Studying abroad super-charges your Spanish and is the adventure of a lifetime. There's something about hearing Spanish all around you and speaking Spanish all day long that changes your relationship to the language.
Study abroad courses usually have classes most of the day, home stay options, cultural events and tours that expose you to Spanish in context. It's not an exaggerating to say it's a life-changing thing. If you have the time and the money, this is a great way to change your life and Spanish speaking abilities forever.
Work Abroad and Make Learning Abroad Pay
There is a lot of opportunity to work abroad. Whole websites are dedicated to international job opportunities. When trying to find work abroad, you'll want to be sure you do research on the company that's hiring, since you'll be depending on them and their way of doing business when out of the country.
One great resource is the US Department of State which lists websites for finding jobs abroad.
One popular way to work abroad is by teaching English. You can make surprisingly good money by teaching English overseas and have quite a lot of fun. You will interact with foreign cultures, help students to learn and take your Spanish studies to a new level.
Brainstorm your own Way to Study and Have Fun
Finally, you might also come up with your own exciting and new ways to learn Spanish by asking yourself, “How can I learn Spanish today and have fun while doing it?” Never ask "Why can't I learn Spanish" but ask yourself "How can I..." and "What can I do to..." questions to get access to your own creativity. You will be surprised that you come up with some new ideas yourself.
Share your Ideas with Us!
We'd love to hear your ideas for more effective and fun ways of learning Spanish. Email us your ideas, so we can share them with our other visitors!