Learning Spanish

“If you want a thing well done, do it yourself” – (Proverb)

As time for university nears I have been thinking a lot about being able to adapt to a new culture. I evidently have no way of knowing where I will end up in the next few months but if wishful thinking works in my favor, I might be in Barcelona for my higher education. Among all the subjects that are offered in school, the ones I tend to find the most favorable to me have always been the languages. Now I am no professional, but  I do have a tendency to pick up languages quite fast. I speak English, German and Sinhala fluently while I’m somewhat intermediate at French and there has truly been only one or two languages I have really wanted to add to that list (Spanish and Italian). Spanish itself is such a versatile language and hearing people speak it always has me awed. My dad speaks fluently as well so that’s an added plus while I have on occasion even shocked the Spanish teacher with my ability to comprehend text and conversations. It’s hard to explain but I can understand the language really well, I just don’t know how to speak it necessarily. And so with one goal in mind I have tried to take it upon myself to learn, the same way I became fluent in German by only watching cartoons. I did keep in mind that I am much older and that younger children tend to be more flexible in learning a foreign language but  I am strong willed in learning to at least be able to converse in basic Spanish by the end of the summer. If I don’t make it to Spain there is still no loss in learning because it is one of the world’s most widely spoken languages and my future job requires me to be fluent in at least one of them. Also how cool would it be to roll into any part of Europe and to be able to speak German, French and Spanish!

The Game Plan:

Ever since December break I have committed 20 minutes of my day everyday to learning Spanish on Duolingo. The website tracks your progress and teaches you to read, write and even speak Spanish without even needing a teacher! It’s been a lot of fun to be entirely honest. I never tire of it although its a bit difficult to keep reminding myself to practice daily. Even on days I do forget to go on Duolingo, I have also integrated Spanish into my daily life. I watch certain shows on Netflix like Rebelde and El Casa Del Papel in Spanish (which I have found to be extremely useful) while I also have at least three playlists containing Spanish music ranging from traditional guitar ie. the Gipsy Kings, to RNB artists like Nicole Hortes and Kali Uchis (which I highly recommend), pop and even indie rock! My current favorite songs are Solita by Kali, Un Beso en Madrid by Alejandro Sanz and El Fin Del Mundo by La La Love You. Not only has this enabled me to expand my musical horizons but I have also found that in my past experiences with becoming fluent in languages, that the best way to do that is by listening to it and even conversing. Now unfortunately there isn’t an abundance of Spanish speakers in Sri Lanka but I do try to string together sentences (increasingly successfully) with kids from the Spanish Class and even Ms. Innocenti 🙂 On top of this I follow a great deal of Spanish football too with teams like Barcelona so learning has made understanding the commentary much easier as well.



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