If you are visiting or living in Buenos Aires, you probably are trying to learn or improve your Spanish.The obvious way to learn and improve your Spanish would be to take a Spanish course, and then make sure to speak as much Spanish as possible.However, there are many other ways you can improve you language skills, and many of them are free.Read on for a few different approaches on how to improve your Spanish, and having fun while doing so.
Have you ever heard of speed dating?Well, think of speed dating, but instead of meeting potential dates, you are meeting local Argentines with whom you can practice your Spanish.At the same time, they get to practice English, and it´s all in a fun, casual setting.
Here´s how it works: Depending on the night, you meet up in a bar.It´s a mix of locals and foreigners, and you are paired up for 10 minutes each.For 5 minutes, you speak English, and for five minutes you speak Spanish.After the 10 minutes are up, you rotate, and speak with a different local.Its very casual, lots of fun, and on top of improving your Spanish, it´s a great way to meet new people.Any age can go (over 18), and most nights you will find people of all ages.Cost is $15 pesos, and includes one beer, and something to snack on.For more information, visit: http://www.spanglishba.com/
This is a website where you can be paired up with a native Argentine that lives in Capital Federal.You exchange contact information, and then arrange to meet whenever it´s convenient.The idea is to speak in both English and Spanish, so both people can improve.
You can also pair up with someone through online text or voice chat, which is great if you have less time, and can´t get out as much.The site is free, easy to use, and it works great!There are lots of Porteños who are willing to meet up, and not only will you get practice with Spanish, this is also a great way to meet people. Visit: http://www.conversationexchange.com/
3.Get a girlfriend or boyfriend that doesn´t speak English, or speaks very little
What better way to improve your Spanish than dating an Argentine?Far better than havingfriends that speak Spanish, dating someone who does not speak much English will help you advance very quickly.Not only are you forced to interact in Spanish, you will also be exposed to an Argentine environment – Argentine friends, Argentine parents, Argentine TV, Argentine books and magazines, etc.This is one of the TOP ways to improve your Spanish, and at the same time, you get to be surrounded by another culture!
4.Listen to Argentine music, and learn the lyrics
There is plenty of great music to listen to from Argentina, and if you study the lyrics, you will quickly learn new vocabulary.At the same time, you will be learning more about Argentine culture, and you will understand a whole lot more about the country.Find a style of music you like, then try to find the artists that are popular in that category.Once you find some songs you like, look up the lyrics on line.Type the name of the song, the artist, and the word “letras” (meaning lyrics) into Google, and you´ll get a list of sites with the lyrics written out.Look the words up that you don´t understand, and from then on, when you listen to the song, make sure to listen for the words, and think of the meaning.This method is great for comprehension and learning new vocabulary.
This may not seem like an obvious method, but chatting with a native speaker is a GREAT way to improve your Spanish, especially if you are a high beginner or low intermediate.Chatting gives you time to think before you “speak.”It also gives you time to look words up online, and to see your sentence structure.You learn a lot by reading the chats of your friend, because you have time to see each and every word, and again, have time to look up words you do not know.I highly recommend chatting with Latin American friends as much as possible, you will learn quickly.
6.Read in Spanish
Reading is another great way to learn Spanish, and if you read magazines and newspapers, you will learn a lot of the common local expressions and phrases.Try to pick a publication that really interests you, and read it regularly.Every week, or every month if it´s a magazine.Don´t look up all the words, just the ones that you need to know to understand what´s written.
Books and magazines are usually better than novels, because the language will be much more colloquial, and the vocabulary won´t be so difficult.On top of that, you will be reading short articles, which is important when reading in another language.If you try reading novels, it is easy to lose interest too quickly, and you risk setting the book aside forever.
It could be a club, it could be volunteer work, it could be a sport, whatever.The important thing is you will be surrounded by Argentines, and forced to take part. Find something that you enjoy, that interests you, and happens on a weekly basis.It can be difficult at first, but will definitely pay off in the long run.
8.Live with people who only speak Spanish, or who speak very little English
BuenosAires is full of South Americans that are here to study or live, and that look for shared accommodation.If you are looking for a room in a shared apartment, try to find one that is shared with LatinAmericans.They often prefer to share with a native English speaker, so that they can also learn some English.This will force you to speak Spanish, and you will learn quickly.
9.Limit the amount of English speaking friends you have, and try to avoid English speaking activities
This is the number one biggest mistake that people make when they come to Buenos Aires, and hope to learn Spanish.They stay in a hostel, meet English speaking friends, go to activities with English speakers, and find it to difficult to break away from that.When you arrive in Buenos Aires, try to limit your group of friends to mainly non-English speakers.Stay away from expat groups, expat bars, and things that are geared to tourists.Although this may not work for everyone, if you are here to learn Spanish this is very important.
Once you have developed a group of Spanish speaking friends, and are part of a Spanish speaking community, then it is fine to seek out English speakers.In fact, it is important to spend at least some time with English speakers, to reduce the risk of culture shock.
10.Find a job where you need to use Spanish
Most foreigners come here, and end up working in a job where they only use their English.Try to find a job where you are working with native Argentines, and have to use your Spanish at least some of the time.It could be in a restaurant, an international company that operates in English and Spanish, a magazine, etc.This forces you to use your Spanish, and puts the pressure in you to do it well.
Bonus – 11. Play football with Argentines
This is a great way to practice Spanish, learn vocabulary for football (you will finally be able to understand the football commentators) and learn lots of Argentine slang and of course, how to curse. Its usually pretty easy to find people to play with, but if you are having problems, check out FCBAFA.
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