¡Feliz Año Nuevo! That’s Happy New Year from all the team at HomeRentalontheWeb, we hope you had a great Christmas and that 2016 is going to be a good one. What was your New Year’s Resolution? ¿Quieres aprender Español? (Do you want to learn Spanish?)
We think that if you are planning to relocate to Spain, or you’re renting long term on the Costa del Sol already, that you should be aiming to learn some Spanish this year. Whilst you can get by without it in international areas such as the Costa del Sol, you will be able to enjoy life here so much more with a good level of Spanish. Plus you’ll be able to navigate the bureaucracy and get set up with phone lines, electricity and water without help! The people that really make a life for themselves here tend to speak Spanish. It opens so many doors and allows you to integrate, have many more options for work and saves you money, as you don’t need to rely on private healthcare and international schools.
Now we know that believing that you can reach a high enough level to speak to the doctor or service providers is hard, but trust us, everyone can do it if they try and there are loads of great resources out there. Plus when you start and make an effort to speak to the locals, you will get a lovely response and it will inspire you to learn more.
We recommend starting with some of the free online language learning resources, there’s a great list of free Spanish classes here and the BBC has a very good mini-site with loads of good activities which are fun, as well as helping you learn. Head down to your local library and see what they have, audio courses like Michel Thomas are brilliant for building up vocab and confidence without too much boring grammar and there are more traditional courses out there too of course.
Once you are learning, whether it’s with classes, or at home with books and tapes you should look for opportunities to practice it and get used to speaking naturally. There is an excellent website called Meetup where you can join groups all over the world and “Meet up” with people doing all kinds of things. The Spanish ones are brilliant, as you can meet in a social and friendly atmosphere and put what you’re learning into practice. Trust me, this relaxed practice will really make a difference, as it will take the language out of the books, let you apply it, but without it being too scary.
If you are planning to move over to Spain with the family, why not hire a private teacher and learn together, it will help you prepare for the move, bring you together and give you a grounding in the basics. With a private teacher you can also ask them to prepare you for specific things such as registering kids for schools, so you’re ready to face it when you arrive.
If you’re already living in Spain, then group lessons are a good way to get to know people as well as improve your Spanish. You can supplement your classes by setting up a language exchange (intercambio) with someone Spanish, so you can help each other improve your language skills, whilst having fun and making friends. Ask in your local Town Hall foreigners’ department whether they have any spaces in their classes, these are normally the most affordable.
Try a few different methods and see what works for you. It’s a beautiful language with many similarities to English and no matter your age or ability, if you really put your mind to it you will be able to master it! Buena Suerte (good luck)!
Check out our useful Spanish phrases blog post and our other learning Spanish articles to get you started, it’s worth it for the amazing life you can lead here. Remember that we can help you to relocate to Spain and find your perfect long term rental on the Costa del Sol.