In a previous post (The Spanish Bubble I), I wrote about creating what is called The Spanish Bubble and the things that you can do inside it. (This Spanish Bubble has nothing to do with the Spanish housing market!) We saw that we could watch films, documentaries and TV shows. We could set our digital life in Spanish and exchange our native microchip for a Spanish one. We also saw that we can read and receive reports about things we like in Spanish. In this post, I’ll tell you a couple of ways you can make the most of your bubble. For example, there are things you can take into the bubble with you, and I will give you some useful links to put all my tips into practice.
italki: Try to get the most of this useful resource. Choose a teacher you feel comfortable with and take a number of lessons every week or month, according to the pace of learning you want to follow. There are no intrinsically good or bad teachers, nor are there good or bad ways of teaching. In my opinion, every student is different and demands a different strategy or plan. Speak with your tutor and let him or her know what your needs are. The communication between student and tutor is very important.
Plan language exchanges regularly. The instruction of your tutor or tutors is important, but practicing what you learn is even more important. Look for people you have things in common with - Latin American or Spanish people, it doesn't matter. Speak with people with different accents, and your Spanish level will go up more and more.
Your partner: Do you have a study partner? Is your partner learning the same language? Perfect. Then there’s a place for him or her in your bubble. You can both practice the language together by having real conversations. From my own experience, though, I can tell you that it's very difficult to communicate with your partner in a different language from the one you normally use; you may even feel ridiculous! But, if you can do it, then that's great. Alternatively, you can do some leisure activities together -- watch a film, a TV show, etc.
So, we already have our bubble full, and we have all these tips for being in contact with the Spanish language inside, with or without company. Nowadays, on the internet you can find almost anything. Did I say almost anything? OK, nowadays on the internet you can find everything. At this moment, you’re reading this article on the internet, and the majority of the resources that you look for, you’ll be able to find on the internet.
Podcasts: There is an endless list of podcasts to download and listen to on the go. You only have to type Spanish or Español, and a long list of entries will pop up. I personally like Coffee Break Spanish, a series of podcasts not too long (about 10-15 minutes). With a radio program format, It addresses different grammar structures and other language issues. Highly recommended. Two other podcasts News in Slow Spanish and News in Slow Spanish Latino are really interesting for students from intermediate to high-intermediate levels. They last a bit longer, about 30 minutes, and by their titles, you can guess what they’re about.
Radio stations: There are many websites where you can listen to radio stations online, but TuneIn is the best of them in my opinion. You can filter radio stations by different criteria, such as location (countries, cities) and topic (news, sport, music). It’s a really interesting resource, and you can listen to the radio on your computer, smartphone or tablet. You can also listen to many Spanish radio stations on www.espana.fm, with a very easy interface and the main Spanish radios. Cadena Cope, Cadena Ser, Cadena 100, Los 40 and EuropaFM are among the most popular.
TV channels: There are lots of websites where you can watch TV live online. http://es.wwitv.com is one of them, and you can choose channels by country. The main Spanish TV channels are RTVE (TVE1 and La2), Antena3, Cuatro, Telecinco and La Sexta. Google the name of the TV channel and you will get the URLs. Depending on the program you want to watch, you’ll be able to watch it live or taped.
Series and films: Watch these online from sites as www.seriesyonkis.com or www.series.ly. You can see descriptions of the series and choose a specific chapter from a certain season. Popular Spanish series are Águila Roja, Cuéntame cómo pasó, Los Serrano, Isabel, Los protegidos and Verano Azul. Enter the main TV sites, and under the label series, you’ll get the name of the most recent popular series. As for films, you can choose one from the ranking of the best 100 Spanish films.
YouTube: Watch a huge range of very useful materials in video format. Below in parenthesis is the way you should search for them plus the word Español/a. You may look for a short film (cortometraje), a song with lyrics (canción con letra), a documentary (documental) or an advertisement (anuncio).
Again, this is just a small sample of what you can find. On the internet, you can find thousands of sites to help you practice Spanish. Ask your teacher about trendy series, singers, films -- and use your imagination. Remember, in your bubble, everything and anything having to do with the Spanish language is possible.