This article is for people that want to learn Spanish fast in Chicago but cannot travel yet, for a 2-month immersion program to a Spanish speaking country to learn the language. The best way is living some time in a Spanish speaking country but for money or time reasons you cannot do it yet.
Are you that person?
Then you’re in the right place.
I think you will agree with me when I say “I know Spanish grammar and vocabulary but is really hard to have a conversation in Spanish”
Well, it turns out that you can drastically improve your oral skills if you follow this 10 simple proven ticks on how to learn Spanish in Chicago in 2018. We have interviewed hundreds of students and we have more than
15 years of experience and we came up with these tricks that have worked these past years, especially in 2018.
Here is the deal…
Learning a language is very personal so we cannot say there is only one way that you can learn it, however, we are going share all of them in this
article and take the one, or ones that suits you better.
Let’s do this! Shall we?
Learn the foundation with a great Spanish teacher
Make an emotional connection to learn Spanish
Learn Spanish in your net time
Make a Spanish Learning Schedule
Become obsessed with the language
Don’t care about mistakes embrace them
Set drank and have fun
Set an exciting goal
Learn in person applying what you saw online
1. Learn the foundation with a good teacher or school
Are you disciplined?
If the answer is yes, you can pass to our next trick, if not please stay here.
This is not the first time we hear this. One student of us, for example, has a boyfriend that speaks Spanish, but that didn’t help her. She had to go an find a teacher in our school
www.lalcenter.com and created a great relationship with her teacher that motivated her to keep her going. We are going to encourage you to come to our school, but my point is that you need a coach in your life, you might have one at work, “your boss” or “trainer”, Michael Jordan had one when he was at the peak of his career, why wouldn’t you have one to encourage you? You don’t have to go to a Spanish private tutor if that is not in your budget but exists Spanish group lessons as well that can take you where you want to be.
This is the key in here, disciplined. Are you?
Can you stay motivated studying with a software by yourself online? Most of our students can’t. The main key is to have chemistry with your teacher and look forward to your class. This is a huge plus to keep yourself motivated. You need someone to hold you accountable. It is human nature to procrastinate even though you really want something. No pain no gain, therefore if you pay a good amount, for your group lessons or private lessons, you bet that at least you are going to show up to class. Even more, if you enjoy the classes and you are looking forward to them you are going to learn Spanish super fast in Chicago.
There are two ways to meet a great teacher. You can meet them in person or online, but that would depend on your preference for learning. I love meeting people in person, but if you don’t mind meeting them online there are tons of places you can do this:
Obviously, the best way is to go and travel to Latin America and stay there for at least two months, but all of this advice is when you want to learn a foreign language in your own country like I did.
Let’s hear to this experienced person from Baselang Inc. that lives in Colombia and give us his experience on who he learned Spanish. Also, we do agree on our experience what he is saying and it is actually how we teach in our school
If you want to listen to the Spanish translation of this paragraph click on this link.
2. Make an emotional connection to Spanish
I cannot emphasize this enough. All our students that learned fast and became fluent, made the emotional connection to the language.
Don’t isolate yourself to learn Spanish only with books, audio or apps, because it can get very boring, challenging and lonely. Think Spanish as a new way to experience life and also the person who you can become after becoming bilingual. For example, when I was learning
English I opened eyes to a new world. I met new friends, romantic relationships, and career opportunities.
The best way to connect Spanish to your daily life is to spend time around Spanish native speakers. If you have any friends that speak Spanish don’t bother to ask them because it is
human nature to help you at the beginning but since they are doing this as a favor, it will dissipate.
Therefore you should make new friends that speak Spanish and it is learning English so that you can both benefit from the exchange. I used to do it with Craigslist because I didn’t
know any better, but now exists apps and websites that you can find people to learn Spanish.
For example, there is one very popular and it called
www.conversationexchange.com Also you can try other websites like:
Also, you can visit the following apps Hello Talk and Tandem are the most popular apps to find a language partner. I recommend the websites because on the apps people just want to text and you need to be meeting people online to practice your Spanish conversation.
Also, it can get a bit overwhelming because of a lot of people texts you and you don’t know who to answer first.
WATCH the following VIDEO to receive more tips on how to meet people in Chicago or in your city to learn Spanish!
3. Learn Spanish in your NET time
I call “net time” – no extra time or the time that you are going to do anyways and incorporate it into your life.
Do you want examples of “NET time” (no extra time)?
Laundry, commute (either train, car or walking), cleaning the house, working on something that doesn’t require your brain (I used to listen to NPR while I was doing boring excel spreadsheets), having dinner, lunch or breakfast, etc.
If you use Spanish to do things that you’d be doing anyway, studying daily will become an automatic reflex instead of a dreaded chore. Just remember that languages are a means to an end, not goals in themselves.
What should I do in my “NET time”?
For example, many of our students already watch Netflix shows to learn Spanish, therefore they watch Narcos, Velvet, El tiempo entre costuras, Club de cuervos, Gran Hotel, Pablo Escobar: El patron del mal, la niña, Tiempos de guerra, el reemplazante, ingobernable, las chicas del cable, el internado, merli, El ministerio del tiempo, Juana Ines, El Chapo, Sobreviviendo a Escobar, La casa de papel, Mar de plástico, El barco, La esclava blanca, bala loca.
Watch the shows first in English and then in Spanish. Or at least put the Spanish subtitles but don’t put the English ones, please.
Let’s look at this FUNNY video made by AlmaAgency:
A very good video for Narcos with some useful Spanish words…
Get your news or gossip from Spanish language magazines. I have a student that she buys the magazines in Spanish since she was going to buy them
anyways now she can do the same but in Spanish! Some examples of magazines are…
Visit this pages
4. Make a Spanish learning schedule
Every successful person in life or in business has a schedule that follows and why not you?
Do you have a schedule to learn Spanish?
Below you will have a complete schedule suggestion on how to distribute your day to study Spanish.
When we recommend listening to audios in Spanish or podcasts, don’t try to understand what they are saying. Your subconscious mind will
pick it up much faster than your conscious mind. Believe it or not, if you listen every day a little bit you will start picking up words
and intonations. Of Course, this is while you learn Spanish in order ways as well.
We mention in the schedule as well to find a teacher or a school that meets once a week. Make sure in class they teach you how to use the
grammar that you see in a conversation. This is very important because I want you to find your classes exciting and useful.
Make sure to schedule the conversation with your language partner which eventually will become your friends. Remember the emotional
connection we mentioned before. Even better if you can develop a romantic relationship. I learned a lot from my ex-boyfriends and current
husband. Not because they have been good teachers but because my connection with the culture and
language became significantly important to me.
5. Become obsessed with the language
People that learned Spanish very fast it is because they became obsessed with it. When you find every opportunity of the day to practice Spanish.
Why do I like Spanish? How can I become obsessed?
Find a reason why a why? For example, when I was learning English; my purpose or reason why, was that I will meet so many exciting people and that since I couldn’t afford yet to travel I loved talking to foreigners or people that were living in Argentina that speaks English.
I used to go to this exact event called
Spanglish which I recommend if you go to Buenos Aires or Madrid. It was so much fun! This is an example of one of the events…
After identifying the reason…
Travel within your city to Latino places
For example, if you buy groceries, go to Pilsen (a neighborhood in Chicago) or to a Hispanic market close to your house because you can ask questions in Spanish or buy something in Spanish.
Generally, I tell my students to practice what they saw in class. It is an exciting way of “traveling” without being in Mexico.
Mexican Museum of Art in Pilsen, it is very interesting, and they have a souvenir shop that helps to raise funds that helps the museum to stay alive.
Go to Humboldt Park because also in here you will find a lot of Spanish native speakers, mainly from Puerto Rico. During the summer they have festivals where they sell their typical foods and during the winter you can go there and eat in a restaurant and find amazing people to talk to.
Go to the movies in Spanish. In Chicago exists
Pantalla AMC, where they show
Latino cinema or the
Gene Siskel Film Center where it has the
European film festival and they show movies from Spain. Also in April from every year, we have the
Latino film festival and it is a great event to watch all movies from Latin America.
Anyways what I would do is Google movies in Spanish in Chicago or near me and show up whenever you feel like watching a movie.
Also, it will be easier if you fall in love with the language. If you find the accent attractive it will be so easy for you just listen to it because you find it appealing.
If you prefer Colombian accent, then listen to Colombian accent in
radioambulante.org even though if you don’t understand anything. Remember that your subconscious mind will start working first. I used to do this with English, I liked American accent but not some much English accent. I found it amusing just to listen to it. So, find that accent,
that is a pleasure to listen to and listen every day like we said in your “NET” (no extra time)
Most people want to learn a language for the amazing experience that it would bring to them. Like it did to me. It is a sense of adventure and a different culture than yours.
So, take advantage of Chicago’s Hispanic taste.
6. Learn Salsa
Yes, salsa. Why? Because the more that you get out of your comfort zone, the more you will unleash the power within to achieve your goals. One of them looking silly in a salsa class or in a Spanish class. Obviously is a great environment to become friends with you Latin instructors,
try to have instructors that speak Spanish and teach you in Spanish so that you get some immersion.
The best places in Chicago to learn Salsa according to learn salsa are
Dance Academy of Salsa,
Latin Rhythms dance studio and
Chicago dance among others. If you are not
ready yet to take Salsa lessons or you just don’t want to pay extra besides your classes, then you can try the following:
If you live in River North, visit
National 27 and have informal salsa lessons on Wednesdays at 7:30 pm. They are free, and it would allow you to meet Latin people as well.
If you live in Lakeview you have
Cubby Bear, yes, I know Cubby Bear, they have informal salsa lessons every Sunday night.
If you live close to Little Italy, you have
Lalo’s Maxwell where they also have salsa lessons on Wednesdays.
When start accumulating positive experiences and friends, and lovers with the language you will see how much your Spanish will improve. It is true, I was single when I learned the language, so it is easier to feel like going out and meeting people, but if you are in a relationship it is very important that your partner
encourages you and even though they might not want to learn it, follow you to your crazy ideas and get excited with you.
7. Don’t care about mistakes embrace them
When you learn a new language in this case, Spanish, you inevitably become another person. You become a more open-minded person and more accepting of yourself. It is impossible to learn Spanish fast if you care too much about your mistakes. So relax, you are going to make them. All successful people in different parts of life, fail miserably before making it. If you make mistakes, laugh at yourself, enjoy it and dance with it. People know that you are learning and if they laugh, laugh with them. You can film yourself and don’t show it to anyone if you don’t want and laugh about it.
If not look at Ellen in her show talking to a handsome actor learning how to say his name is Spanish
8. Drink some wine and have fun!
You don’t need to be drank but sometimes over beers or wine, I felt more confident in the beginning. The most important part is to have fun and meet people that are looking to meet people like you. I remember I posted an ad on Craigslist and I met friends where I would go out after. I used to go to an event to exchange Spanish for English, where I met other new people and one of them offered me to go to a club and there I met my husband. Also in this journey of having so much fun,
I met friends that I am still friends nowadays.
Why do I dedicate one paragraph to this?
Because if you don’t have fun in the process, you won’t be able to be bilingual and even if you get there, it won’t be sustainable.
I cannot repeat enough to make a positive connection to your learning and making it a lifestyle.
9. Set an exciting goal
At the beginning of this article, we said that the best way to learn Spanish is to travel/live in a Spanish speaking country.
Even though you might not being able to live there for 2 months, you can take a 2-week vacation. So your goal should look like this:
“By November 2, 2018 I will travel to Colombia and I will be able to get around without using English for the entire two weeks”.
Schedule and pay for the trip to non-touristic Spanish speaking country. This is a huge way to give yourself leverage to push yourself.
Before your trip take Spanish lessons and then get a language exchange partner online through
pick one from the country you want to visit so that you can get some advice on where to go as well, and in the meantime, you make a
new friend before going there. Isn’t this exciting!?
10. Learn in person applying what you saw online
Learning Spanish is a human experience not a digital experience. There are many people that are learning Spanish online and it is great if it works for them, especially the new generation from 18 to 30 years old, but I find it interesting that people from 25 years old to 70 years old prefer to learn in person. I am not going to argue with the younger generation,
but human contact is SO different than Google hangouts and Skype or facetime.
Having said that I think technology is a great addition to your language learning experience, it is so useful and convenient, it
just doesn’t replace it. Actually,
in our classes you can take notes but you have everything digitally and we encourage our students to use apps for vocabulary, some grammar, and do their homework, but no one is learning Spanish to talk to a machine or though a machine, so I highly encourage you to take lessons in person outside your house and couch and connect with people.
I will finish this amazing and complete article by saying that there is no one perfect way to do it, but I do know one thing, and is that you have to take all the advice that you can and also take massive action.
Just Do it like Nike says it. Go there and swim, it is a messy and exciting ride.
Follow the ones that excite you the most and you will be on your way to becoming bilingual in Spanish!