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Practicing Spanish while in Spain - any ideas?

Practicing Spanish while in Spain - any ideas?

Old Jan 29th, 2015, 08:35 AM
  #1  
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Practicing Spanish while in Spain - any ideas?

I'll be in Andalucia for 10 days in March with my family. I will of course use my rusty/limited Spanish to ask directions, order food, etc. But I'm wondering whether anyone has ideas for how I can *really* practice my Spanish while I'm there. Perhaps a way to arrange intercambios with locals? Part of the problem is that I'll be moving around a bit (Cordoba, Cadiz, Ronda, Granada), but I can probably manage an hour or two a day apart from my family to practice.

Thanks!
txtree is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2015, 08:40 AM
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My Spanish which I do get a chance to use at home, improved a lot while in Spain, basically chatting with staff at the hotel and in restaurants. One of the hotel staff mentioned my imeoved Spanish when we were checking out. Everyone was very encouraging.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2015, 08:42 AM
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I understand your desire to practice, but on such a short trip and with your family in tow, in reality the opportunities are going to be limited. There are not really many locals who have got the time to spend in helping tourists practice their spanish, and you aren't going to be there long enough to join a language school.

To put yourself in the best position to use the opportunities you do get, i suggest getting the CDs of Michel Thomas's beginner's Spanish [or advanced if you have more than little of the language]. The basics of language, including grammar, that you could pick up in the next month or so would stand you in good stead, and IME Michel Thomas has the best approach for learning the way a language works rather than just the random phrases of some programmes.
annhig is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2015, 08:49 AM
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On many visit to Spain the only way I was able to practice my Spanish was by talking to taxi drivers
or sales people.
Those employed in tourist industry would quickly turn to English- in order to" practice".
danon is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2015, 09:10 AM
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Locals are unlikely to entertain spending time with you to practice your Spanish even if that is all they can speak. They are too busy doing their every business. If you want a meaningful time, you would have to signup to take a course from a professional who is paid to practice Spanish with you.

When dealing with people working in tourist infrastructures, they rather want to speak English to get transactions done with you quickly.
Bus drivers running rural routes don't usually speak much English, but you only have a sentence or two to talk to them. If they are on break, they rather want to talk about futbal games with their pals.
Taxi drivers outside big cities usually don't speak much English. Since the driver is captive during the run, if he is chatty, he might talk more than a few sentences with you.
greg is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2015, 09:11 AM
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Txtree: I'm with Happy Traveler on this one. I felt that my Spanish improved just from talking to hotel and restaurant staff. At one point we had to do some shopping, as my friend's luggage was delayed, and the clerks were really nice, telling me how good my Spanish was--It wasn't, but how much Spanish do you have to know to say that you need a larger size.

It was fun trying to speak it anyway.
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Old Jan 29th, 2015, 09:15 AM
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I think it would make more sense to try to practice at home in some more organized manner than expecting to find some people who want to talk to you for an hour during your vacation. Of course, it's kind of late give it's almost February, but you could have taken some conversation class or something locally. And since you're moving all around, there's not much you can do.

I think your best bet would be to see if there is something in the Meetup series, although some of those only meet once a month or something, it may be hard to match up. eg
http://spanish.meetup.com

Cordoba http://www.meetup.com/Exchange-Engli...-conversation/

You could do one thing I did in Mexico, by default -- I took a day bus tour to some villages and the guide only spoke Spanish, and all the other participants (but me) were local Mexicans on vacation. This was from a small town (Guanajuato) and that was the only kind of bus tour available. I wanted to go to the places to see them, anyway, so it was okay, and I do understand enough Spanish that I could get along. But we stopped for lunch once, for example, and I could speak some with the other members on the trip, as well as at the sites. It was kind of fun. You may be traveling around too much and not staying in any plce enough to even do anything like that, though, especially if you are with your family.
Christina is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2015, 09:40 AM
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Use your Spanish whenever possible as a matter of course. Please note that many people in the South clip the end of the words and you might not understand them.
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Old Jan 29th, 2015, 10:13 AM
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Thanks. I'll keep trying to solve this puzzle, maybe by trying to find a local language teacher who will meet me for conversation. When I go to a Spanish-speaking country I do try to speak Spanish with those around me but it's hard. We recently went to Mexico and I didn't get in as much practice as I had hoped. FWIW, I have been taking an evening Spanish class here at home, which helps but isn't enough.
txtree is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2015, 10:18 AM
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Have a couple of tapas and a glass/cup of whatever around lunchtime in a place that is popular with locals, and stand or sit by the barra!

Look for places like Taberna El Gallo in C/Mária Cristina, 6 in Cordoba. Two minutes from heart of the centre Plaza de las Tendillas, and next door to the Roman temple ruins. Great wines - try the dry Amargoso - excellent tapas and almost certainly some nice locals you can discuss how to practice Spanish with ;-)
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restauran...Andalucia.html
http://cordobapedia.wikanda.es/wiki/Taberna_El_Gallo
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Old Jan 29th, 2015, 10:44 AM
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Learning Spanish mentioned in your last post is a different question from your original posting of practicing in Spain.

I suspect the evening class you mentioned is a conversational no credit class? This type of class is low cost, but also usually not taught by qualified instructors.

You other options of learning Spanish, not just in Spain:

Credit university classes, the kind the undergraduate takes for credits. Quality varies depending the the instructors and the Department philosophy on how to teach Spanish. Most expensive short of hiring a tutor at home

CD based such as Michel Thomas (good with grammar) or Pimsleur (good with gaining tempo and pronunciation, but not grammar.)

Online one to one based via Skype from home. I have tried several and there are many flaky outfits. I found two I liked. Cost between non-credit class and credit university class, but oh so convenient to be able to do from home.
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Old Jan 30th, 2015, 12:48 PM
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Yes - I will definitely employ the kimhe method of practicing Spanish!
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Old Jan 30th, 2015, 12:57 PM
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I find one of the best ways to improve language - both listening and speaking - is to join a guided tour in the local language. I joined a two-hour guided walk through an Andalucian town on my last visit and found it excellent, both to hear the language and to ask pertinent questions.
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Old Jan 30th, 2015, 01:13 PM
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" join a guided tour.."

I took beginners German...joined a tour ( in German) while visiting the Hamburg harbor.
Did not understand a word, enjoyed then tour immensely regardless.
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Old Jan 30th, 2015, 01:45 PM
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It obviously depends on your language proficiency. If the tour had been in Hungarian or Serbo-Croat, I wouldn't have understood a word, but was in a language that I have fair amount of familiarity with but still with room for improvement.
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Old Jan 30th, 2015, 01:52 PM
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"...it depends..."
My point exactly.
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Old Jan 30th, 2015, 05:49 PM
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Alec, I like the idea of joining a tour in Spanish and I do think that would help. Thanks.
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Old Jan 31st, 2015, 02:25 AM
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I found on a recent trip to Madrid that a lot of the restaurant staff were not Spanish and were from parts of Eastern Europe, so not much luck there. Hotel staff had a fair sprinkling of similar nationalities too.
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Old Jan 31st, 2015, 03:39 AM
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I suspect the evening class you mentioned is a conversational no credit class? This type of class is low cost, but also usually not taught by qualified instructors.>>

I can't imagine why you presume that just because a class is at night that the teacher is unqualified. I've taken many language classes at night (some schools do understand adults work) and all the teachers were "qualified", whatever you mean by that. I take French at Alliance Francaise at night and their teachers are excellent. I've also taken Spanish at night through the community college system and those teachers varied, some were good and some not, but that happens with any school. And the ones I didn't like probably were "qualified", I just didn't like their methods or personality.

I don't think you are aware that many schools offer the same classes for credit and no credit, it just depends how you sign up and the tuition you pay. The only place I know that only offer classes that have no possibility of credit are private schools, and quality certainly varies but there is no presumption that the teachers would be unqualified.
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Old Jan 31st, 2015, 04:27 AM
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I agree with you, Christina. My evening class isn't for credit (nor do I want or need that - I already took Spanish in college 25 years ago!) but my teacher is really wonderful and highly qualified. Plus I like my classmates a lot. The class has been a helpful refresher on grammar and vocabulary, plus some conversation. I've also been listening to a good podcast - Notes in Spanish (an English guy married a Spanish woman and they made podcasts together). Entiendo mucho pero necessito hablar mucho mas!
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