How to Learn Spanish During the Coronavirus Shutdown

This pandemic is affecting us all one way or the other. 

It’s changing the way we do pretty much everything, from grocery shopping to interactions with those around us. 

Chances are, you are one of the millions of people at home in quarantine. 

Bored Studying Spanish

But that doesn’t mean this time has to be fruitless!

This is the perfect time to pick up where you left off with your Spanish studies to take it to the next level. Use all this time at home to your advantage and have a little fun along the way!

Whether you are by yourself, with family or friends, here are a few ideas you can implement to amp up your Spanish study routine.

LABEL IT IN SPANISH

First, it’s time to make your home a Spanish playground.

Start labeling in Spanish everything around the house. And by everything I mean EVERYTHING. 

Study Spanish from Home

Don’t worry about what other people may think, by the time they are able to enter your house you will have learned these words and taken down the post-its… or leave them.

This is a great and active way to learn new words while keeping yourself and others entertained. 

Quiz your own abilities. Use social media to quiz each other.

While you’re at it, might as well change your phone's operating system to Spanish. 🙂

READ, PLAY, LOVE

Read that Spanish book you’ve been putting off forever, hoping for that one day that you have the willpower to pick it up and devour it from start to end. 

But don’t stop there. 

Get completely out of your comfort zone. Get your hands into something that you would never even look at otherwise. It doesn’t have to be a whole book. 

Write in spanish

It can be a Spanish poem, a news article about something other than your usual go-to type articles, a short story, a passage, lyrics, or TV shows or Spanish movie transcripts

Open yourself up to a new experience. You are bound to learn something new! 

Not to mention all the extra benefits that come from reading: vocabulary expansion through context, improved focus and mental stimulation, peace and quiet (keeping stress at bay), boost your memory and writing skills...and it’s FREE!

Most importantly, it gets you away from all that negative news.

Be creative. 

Play scrabble, crosswords, and most importantly, make it a habit to USE the new Spanish words and phrases as often as you can. 

Spanish article virus

There’s truth to the saying “If you don’t use it, you lose it”. 

You can look up synonyms and antonyms of a word, the different uses and how they behave in the real world, and how they come up in conversation.

Need a couple game recommendations that you can do in Spanish or English?

The 5-second rule is a super fun game and a great way to put your knowledge to the test. 

It will challenge you to come up with quick answers so be prepared! 

Each player takes a turn in the hot seat and has to answer a question, such as “Name 3 green foods” or “Name 3 things on your nightstand”. 

Come up with your own questions. You can also practice on yourself! 

Play Taboo. I can’t stress enough how much fun it is using this classic card game (there are digital versions of it too) as a learning tool.

This game is amazing!

There are different ways you can spice things up with Taboo. 

Learn Spanish with Games

You can change the rules or even come up with your own. Many of you have probably heard about it or even played it before. 

For the ones who haven’t experienced such joy yet, here’s a little background: The ultimate goal of this game is to try to get your teammates to guess the word you are describing. 

Easy, right? 

But there is a twist: you will be given a list of words you cannot use (the “taboo” words), and...these are totally related to the word they are trying to guess from you. 

This will force you to get really creative with the clues and be quick on your feet! 

The use of synonyms, antonyms and describing a word’s different meanings are just some of the techniques often used in this game. 

There are special cards, teams, and a timer involved to get your blood pumping. What could be better?!

LISTEN & WATCH SPANISH MOVIES AND SHOWS

Who doesn’t love watching movies?!

Here is a list of some great Spanish movies to get you started. 

Whats the best spanish TV Show

Watching a Spanish movie is a great, somewhat passive way to learn new vocabulary, expressions, and dialects in Spanish… but just make sure you use the Spanish subtitles.

Before you know it, you’ll be quoting your favorite movie scenes and dialogues. 

Find a new Spanish song and sing along. Try to figure out what the song is about. 

This can often be tricky since music can be full of poetry and metaphors. Check this Spanish Spotify list out to get you started..

Listen to Spanish talk radio, Audiobooks en Español, or a Spanish podcast while reading the transcripts. You can learn from a variety of random subjects while you are going about your day (exercising, doing stuff around the house, relaxing, cooking, etc.). 

Binge-watch, anyone? 

Get the most out of your Netflix account! Watch your favorite shows dubbed to Spanish or find Spanish speaking shows to watch. 

Best Spanish TV Shows

Nate from the Españolistos Podcast, watched a few seasons of the English show “Friends” which was dubbed in Spanish while using Spanish subtitles. 

Friends is among the easiest of shows to understand even without sound.

So by adding Spanish dubbed speaking with Spanish subtitles he was able to gradually pick up new words and phrases, all while enjoying a good laugh through the various episodes.

So pick out your favorite English TV show and see if the streaming provider has the option to dub it in Spanish while at the same time providing Spanish subtitles.

You will start to see how native speakers actually use certain words, phrases, and idioms and most importantly the tone of the speaking. 

This is a very important aspect of learning Spanish, and also one of the hardest to teach. 

You gotta live it, at least through the characters. 

COOK IN SPANISH

This is where all the senses get combined into a spectacular display of aromas, textures, colors and flavors. 

The perfect finale. “El broche de oro.” 

You could venture into the amazing world of Latin American cooking but if you are not kitchen-savvy, do not panic. 

Spanish tapas

There are always TAPAS. What is a “tapa” you may ask.

Tapas are traditionally small simple savory dishes, snacks or appetizers of Spanish cuisine. 

Basically, tapas are a great way to try something new! 

The beauty of it is you can make them as simple or as elaborate as your heart (and your supply) desires. It’s all about the experience! Here is a list.

When you follow a Spanish cookbook or watch a Spanish YouTube video recipe you will learn a bunch of new cooking-related terms that are widely used in Spanish conversation.

Take it one step further. Put together a virtual Spanish-language cooking extravaganza night with a group of fellow Spanish cooking enthusiasts! 

Why not? You totally deserve it! 

Make the Most of Your Time At Home

It’s certainly not ideal to be quarantined at home.

por and para differences

Likely it’s changed your ability to go out with friends, travel, or perhaps even work.

That said, use this newfound time at home to your advantage! 

Rather than spending all your time going through TV show after TV show, spend it writing in Spanish, reading in Spanish, or even playing games in Spanish.

If you're going to spend some downtime watching some TV shows why not try and spend at least some of that time watching a show in Spanish with Spanish subtitles. 

That way you can at least call it a learning exercise!

These are trying times. Let’s take care of each other. 

We are going to get through this together. Make the most of this newfound advantage.

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