The Fastest Way to Learn Spanish is by Immersion

The fastest way to learn Spanish is complete immersion. You can really learn Spanish fast, if you hear nothing but Spanish all day.

Immersion is not for everyone, however, if you have the opportunity you may want to take advantage. Immersion allows you to think in Spanish (or any other target language), rather than translate. You can also learn from context and you are exposed to quantity and quality.

What opportunities should you look for? Travel of course, is a prime opportunity to experience the fastest way to learn Spanish. Visiting Spanish-speaking countries is a fun way to immerse yourself in the language. Try to find situations where you can really interact with the locals. Take a cooking course, go to the playground with your child or organize a soccer game. You will make friends, really experience Spanish life and you will learn Spanish fast.

Textbook Spanish Will Only Take You So Far

College students and adults should consider study abroad experiences. Attend university and perhaps even live with a family. My daughter Holly lived with a family in Madrid, while studying at the University of Madrid. In addition to experiencing Spanish culture and family life, she learned many idioms and colloquialisms which are part of daily life. She said that “textbook Spanish” will only get you so far and then, you really need to interact to learn expressions and nuances.

When they were young, my children thoroughly enjoyed traveling to Europe and they were able to appreciate why they were studying languages. And since they love TV, they benefitted from watching in Spanish.

Do you have a Spanish-speaking friend or relative? For children with a Spanish parent or grandparent, the child will learn Spanish fast if the parent/ grandparent only speaks Spanish and insists that the child’s responses are in Spanish.

It Is Beneficial to Hear as Many Different Voices and Pronunciations as Possible

If possible, hire a Spanish babysitter. Even if it is just for a few hours per week, this immersion experience is invaluable. Tell the babysitter to only speak Spanish. No English at all. He or she can play with your child, read with your child or sing with your child but must only speak Spanish. Your child will figure out what is being said, just as when learning English.

In time, your child will develop an association, which will help promote thinking in Spanish and help avoid confusing languages. Your child will know, for example, that Marie-the-babysitter speaks only Spanish.

If you do not have any of the opportunities stated above, try to find just a piece of immersion. There are many Spanish TV and radio stations and you can watch Spanish DVDs. Take full advantage of every chance to spend time with people who speak Spanish. It is beneficial to hear as many different voices and pronunciations as possible. But more important, it is wonderful to make friends and learn about different cultures.

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