I’m scheduled to take a trip-of-a-lifetime cruise this year and am intent on finding inexpensive ways to learn a foreign language before I go. My goal is to learn as much Spanish as possible beforehand sailing around South America – and to continue to learn more afterwards.
Being a thrifty student, I want to stick to free or low-cost Spanish language training and forego expensive classes.
If you’re trying to learn a new language on the cheap, too, here are some things to try:
- Books (from the library and new/used on amazon.com)
- CDs (from the library and new/used on amazon.com)
- Kid’s “learn Spanish” videos (free from the library) — don’t laugh! If you know nothing, these are great.
- Songs on CD (stumbled across a “learn Spanish from music” CD at the thrift store for $2.99). The alphabet song worked to learn ABCs; why not learn Spanish by singing songs like “La Bamba”?
- Spanish-speaking meetup groups (there’s a local one run by a person who gives Spanish classes and offers tutoring, but I haven’t attended a get-together yet). She charges a very small fee (about $2) to attend the coffee, lunch and other meetings — and there are various conversation sessions for beginners and advanced students. Join other people whose goal is to accomplish the same thing you want to do!
- Spanish word-a-day calendar (bought two different ones — one for home and one for work) — best to buy 1/2 price after Christmas
- Spanish phrase-a-day calendar — best to buy 1/2 price after Christmas
- Online lists of top 100, 400 or 1000 most common Spanish words
- Online lists of words that are the same or similar (cognates) in both English and Spanish; once you find this, you’ll realize you already know a LOT of words (except you don’t know how to pronounce them correctly… but you can Google that)
- Free online flash cards and quizzes — lots of choices there
- Free online language training
- Free email-a-day language training, where you receive a different word to learn every day. Some sites send daily emails and give you tips on ways to memorize words! For example, bañar means ‘to bathe’ and to remember it, imagine Antonio BANderas bathing in the bath, playing his BANJO!
I bought two sets of CDs with related books on Amazon, using the theory that each set of CDs would teach me different things, even if they were both geared for beginners. And they have!
Have always been a fan of the Dummies series of books, so one set of the CDs and books is Spanish for Dummies.
I play the “learning Spanish” CDs in the car going to and from work every day, and am happy to report that the “light bulb” keeps going on more and more, as I get grammar tips and vocabulary words from them. Doing that and using online flash cards and quizzes to reinforce what is on the CDs, as well as learning from the calendars and books, really seems to be working!
Will let you know for certain how everything turns out after the trip! Hasta luego!