Speaking another language is a great skill to have but it does take time, patience and money. Here are 10 simple resources I found really helpful for learning Spanish for FREE! They are really easy to find or organise and each will help you to understand and speak Spanish quickly if you cant afford to take lessons.
If you are moving to Spain or planning to spend some time traveling here, I really recommend that you learn some Spanish. Not everyone speaks English and it’s really helpful to know at least some Spanish language basics.
I took a beginners class at language school when I moved to Madrid but also used all of these resources and they really made a difference. If you want to learn Spanish (but have little or no cash) check out the list below for my top 10 ways you can learn Spanish for free and really immerse yourself into Spanish life.
*RELATED article: Useful Spanish phrases for traveling in Spain
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10 free resources for learning Spanish
1. Phone app’s
There are lots of really good, free applications you can download to your phone for learning Spanish. I think Mondly is one of the best app’s out there. You can work your way through the different sections easily for just 5-15 mins per day. It helps you to build up your vocabulary and learn phrases in an easy an interesting way. Duolingo is another great app and Quizlet has games and flashcard based learning.
2. Google translate
This is a handy way to quickly figure out how to say things in Spanish or for translating what a word means. You can save stuff for offline reading to remind yourself later and even translate text messages. You can upload photos of text you need translated, translate text messages or use the voice recognition if your not sure how a phrase is spelt.
Reading a book, magazine or newspaper in Spanish is a great way to test what you have been learning already or push yourself to learn new words. When you get stuck on a word or sentence just grab a Spanish dictionary or use that translation app. Head to your nearest library or read online articles in Spanish. Amazon offer some free e-book downloads so if you have an account, check out what Spanish language books they have. Start with the simple books aimed at children and teenagers.
4. Watch tv
Watching a Spanish language show or movie is perfect for helping you to pick up what people are saying and understand different accents. There are some amazing Spanish language movies and series on Netflix. I personally loved watching Chicas de Cables, Casa del Papiel and Elite. On Netflix you can choose to add English or Spanish subtitles which also helps. Or maybe watch a movie that you are really familiar with that’s been dubbed in Spanish. You already know the plot so can just concentrate on what they are saying and how they pronounce the words.
5. Online video or podcasts
You can watch free videos with language teachers online from companies like SpanishDict or find lessons on YouTube. These short bursts of grammar are great if you don’t have much time to spare on learning Spanish or get easily distracted. I really liked Butterfly Spanish YouTube videos. You just need to set aside 10-20 minutes to sit in front of your laptop, phone or tablet and follow a video lesson. There are also great Spanish language podcasts. Coffee Break Spanish is very popular and is a short 15 minute audio lesson that you can easily listen to during a coffee break.
6. Practice with Spanish friends
Ask a Spanish friend to help you improve. Even if your friend speaks great English remind them that you want to learn Spanish and encourage them to speak to you in Spanish. Ask them questions about words or phrases you are unsure of. Practice your pronunciation and ask them to be honest and correct you when you go wrong.
7. Pay attention to what’s around you
If you are lucky enough to be in Spain already, take advantage of your surroundings. Read signs and posters that you see walking down the street. If you can’t translate it into English or have never seen the word before, look it up and add it to your vocabulary. Listen to people speaking around you, public transport announcements and how locals interact with each other.
8. Teacher training classes
Look out for adverts from new Spanish language teachers who are in training and need volunteers to be part of a test classroom environment. You get the benefit of learning some Spanish for free and they are grateful for your participation. Facebooks groups for expats or students often advertise teacher training lessons and keep your eyes peeled for posters in the local area.
9. Join a language exchange
You can find a likeminded person who wants to meet up over coffee and learn your language in exchange for them teaching you some Spanish. You take it in turns to have a conversation in each language, correcting and perfecting each other’s grammar and pronunciation. Or you can join organised social gatherings of people who hang out in a café or bar and speak conversational Spanish in a relaxed informal group environment. Look out for adverts in facebook groups, on hostel notice boards or in the windows of bars and cafes.
10. Free trial’s
Lots of online courses offer a free trial. These are great if you pay attention to the terms and conditions and make sure you cancel any subscription before payments are due. Don’t forget these companies are trying to persuade you to sign up for the full paid course.
Quick ways to learn Spanish that are cost effective
If you want to learn Spanish quickly, have already tried some of the above free resources or maybe have some cash to spare but want a cost effective option. Let me share some of the paid-for resources I have tried.
InHispania language school
I joined a language school course in Madrid when I first arrived. After quite a bit of research, because there were so many, I found InHispania. They offer quite flexible options for classes which is helpful if you need to take evening classes or can only join for a few weeks. The classes were lead by very friendly, professional teachers and there was lots of support, social activities and learning resources offered outside the classroom. Prices start from around €35 per lesson, find out more here.
SPEAK cultural learning
I also took part in a great language learning initiative called SPEAK. Its relatively new and slowly being set up in big cities across Europe. The idea is, that for a €29 fee you can join a group of like minded people who want to learn a language in a relaxed environment. The “buddy” who leads the group may have little teaching experience but the discussions are more conversation based and helpful for real life interaction and learning cultural differences. Find out more here.
Mondly language app
If you want to stick with the language app on your phone but need to step up to the next level of vocabulary then sign up for the paid premium version of Mondly. Upgrades from the free version include… over 200 more lessons, access to a “chat bot” for practicing conversations and over a 1000 daily quizzes and challenges. We found the paid version much more fun and challenging but still a fraction of the price compared to a full online Spanish course.
Mondly have offered our readers 20% off an annual subscription to learn Spanish, so its less than €40!
I hope this list of 10 ways to learn Spanish for free and other cheap options has been helpful. It should start you off on the right track to learning some Spanish. Try a few of these tips and I promise you will be speaking Spanish in no time! 🙂
Are you learning Spanish? Or do you have some advice on the best way to learn Spanish? I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment below…
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