I always tell my students to try to practice Spanish as much as they can. Many of them have no problem practicing reading or listening, because there’s a variety of ways to do it: watching TV, listening to the radio, browsing the Internet, etc. But many of you are always asking me how to practice your speaking.
Well, if you have a Latino friend or family member who speaks Spanish, then lucky you! Try to practice with them as much as you can. When you have someone close to you who speaks Spanish, you can practice more than just the basic phrases, like “Hola,” “Como estas” or “Adios.” Try to use new vocabulary or grammar that you learned recently. It’ll be challenging for you, and you’ll see whether a Spanish-speaker understands what you said. If they understand you, hooray! Then you’re on the right path. If they don’t understand you, tell them what you’re trying to say in English. This person can tell you where you went wrong, and what the right way to say it is.
If you have the opportunity to travel to one of our beautiful Spanish-speaking countries, you’ll have thousands of opportunities to practice your Spanish: in the hotels, restaurants, shops, with the taxi driver, etc. This is the time to show off! Say everything you’ve learned in your classes or in books. So try to travel to a Spanish-speaking country—this way, you’ll definitely have to speak Spanish. I promise you, that’s the best place to practice your Spanish.
But what if you don’t have Spanish-speaking friends or family members, and you don’t plan on traveling to Spain or Latin America? Then try going to Latino restaurants: Mexican, Colombian, Peruvian (Peruvian food, by the way, is very delicious). In these places, there are always people who speak Spanish. Try to speak to them in Spanish, and they’ll be happy that an American is learning their language—they’ll start speaking to you in Spanish, you’ll see! You can also ask them, “How do you say X in Spanish?” When you say that, you’re telling the other person that you’re interested in Spanish, and that’s when they start helping you.
Just like you, there are plenty of people who are studying Spanish and want to practice with someone. If you search online, there are groups of people who get together to practice their Spanish. Try joining a group like that, and you’ll be able to having Spanish conversations with other students.
Another way you can practice—though it’s a little challenging—is when you are calling a customer service line. I’m sure you’ve heard this when calling corporations: “For Spanish, press #5.” Oh yes, I know it’s difficult, but press #5! Press #5! And try to speak Spanish! Challenging, but if you’re an advanced student, you can do it!
“You can also practice Spanish with us! We hold conversational classes together with the company Bright Spanish and luckily, some of them are free. This is a place where you can practice your speaking, listening and pronunciation. And we teachers will be there to correct you and help you with whatever you need!
I hope this has helped you. And remember: practice, practice, practice!
If you know another good place to practice speaking, I’d love to hear about it—tell me about it in the comments below!
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