Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world, so why learn it? Our students have 3 amazing reasons!

Given the number of places that Spanish is spoken, differences are bound to emerge, but what makes Colombian Spanish different?

What do you say when you just meet someone in the morning, afternoon or night?

Well, this is the standard way, used often in Colombia and Latin America

If you are familiar with that person you could simply say “Buenos días” or “Hola” followed by a question about how they are:
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Question Answer
Morning Buenos días. ¿Cómo estás?
Good morning. How are you?
Bien, gracias y ¿tú?
Good, thank you and you?
Afternoon Buenas tardes. ¿Cómo estás?
Good afternoon. How are you?
Bien, gracias y ¿tú?
Good, thank you and you?/td>
Night Buenas noches. ¿Cómo estás?
Good evening. How are you?
Bien, gracias y ¿tú?
Good, thank you and you?
Morning / afternoon/ Night Hola. ¿Cómo estás?
Hi. How are you?
Bien, gracias y ¿tú?
Good, thank you and you?

If you are in a formal situation, you simply say “Buenos días”, “Buenas tardes” or “Buenas noches” and the answer will be also “Buenos días”, “Buenas tardes” or “Buenas noches”, respectively.

And now.. the Colombian way! Mostly used between friends (not the boss!)

¡Buenas!
“Buenas” is probably the most common way of greeting someone in Colombia. It is short for “Buenas tardes” or “Buenas Noches” but you can also use it in the morning.

¡Qué hubo!
“Qué hubo” is pronounce like ¡Quiubo! and means What’s been going on?

¿Qué más?
“¿Qué más?” literally means, “What else?” but we use it to say “Hey! How are you?

¿Qué cuentas?
“¿Qué cuentas?” literally means “What do you have to tell?” but we use it to simply ask, “What’s been going on?”

In a conversation with native Spanish speakers chances are you are going to hear cultural expressions, idioms or sayings. Phrases that you have to figure out not by its literal meaning but its relation to the conversation or context.

It is quite important to learn and to be aware of these expressions, they make language more interesting and will help you to immerse yourself in the culture.

Here, you will find 5 expressions that have food related terms in them. Remember, the translation will not make sense at all in most cases, the key to learn them is not to look at them or read them in a literal sense. Enjoy!

1. Pedirle peras al olmo

Food Spanish Idioms: no hay que pedirle peras al olmo

Translation: To expect an elm to bear pears.

English equivalent: You can’t get blood out of a stone/turnip.

Meaning: To ask the impossible

Example:
“No esperes que él corra 5Km, no hay que pedirle peras al olmo.”
Don’t expect him to run 5Km, you can’t get blood out of a stone.

2. Ser pan comido

Food Spanish Idioms: Pan comido

Translation: Eaten bread

English equivalent: A piece of cake / easy peasy

Meaning: Something easy to do

Example:
“¡Ganar este partido va a ser pan comido!”
Winning this game is going to be a piece of cake!

3. Ponerse rojo como un tomate

Food Spanish idioms: ponerse rojo como un tomate

Translation: To turn red as a tomato

English equivalent: go beet red / go as red as a beet / turn beetroot

Meaning: To become very red in the face, usually because you are embarrassed

Example:

“De repente se puso roja como un tomate”
She suddenly turned as red as a beetroot

4. llorar sobre la leche derramada

Food Spanish idioms: Llorar sobre la leche derramada

Translation: cry over spilled milk

English equivalent: cry over spilled milk

Meaning: get upset over something that has happened and cannot be changed

Example:
Sé que perdimos el autobús, pero no hay que llorar sobre la leche derramada, todavía tenemos tiempo.
I know we missed the bus, but there’s no need to cry over spilled milk, we still have time.

5. Donde comen dos comen tres

Food Spanish idioms: Donde comen dos comen tres

Translation: Where two eat, three eat.

English equivalent: There’s always room for one more”.

Meaning: Affirmation that an unexpected guest is well received

Example:
¿Otro bebé? !Bueno, donde comen dos comen tres!
Another baby? Oh well, there’s always room for one more!

Can you use these expressions in a sentence? Write it in the comments section below!

Looking for something to do in Bogota this coming weekend? What about practice a little, or a lot Spanish?

Remember, learning Spanish doesn’t stop when you step outside the classroom.

Here are our 3 top tips to help you get started practicing Spanish in your free time.

1. Keep calm and READ a book

If you want to Learn Spanish in Colombia quickly, make a habit of reading regularly!

Read as many Spanish books, newspapers, and magazines as you can get your hands on, the more you read, the more input your brain gets about how the language works.

2. When the words fail, MUSIC speaks

Demonstrated by science, music helps second language learners acquire grammar, vocabulary and improve spelling.

Choose a catchy song from lyricstraining.com, let’s say… “Mark Antony’s Vivir mi vida Karaoke” practice listening for detail, write down some vocabulary and maybe dance.

3. Binge-watch, yes please!

via GIPHY

Yes, we all have heard the news, binge-watching is bad, but burying yourself in blankets and watch a Spanish TV show or why not, a soap opera, just to improve your Spanish, doesn’t sound too bad, right?

Here is a youtube.com list of one of my favorite soap operas “Betty la Fea”, enjoy!

We hope you’ve enjoyed these tips, we are pretty sure there are plenty more, please let us know yours in the comments!

Spanish is one of the richest languages in vocabulary in the world. Also, it has a good number of long words. The RAE (Real Academia de la Lengua Española/Spanish Royal Academy) has determined a list of the Spanish longest words; here you will find six of longest and well-known Spanish words :

1. Esternocleidomastoideo (22 letters)

Meaning: Sternocleidomastoid, muscle of the neck.

2. Interdisciplinariedad (21 letters)

Meaning:Interdisciplinary, combining or involving two or more academic disciplines or fields of study.

3. Internacionalización (20 letters):

Meaning: Internationalization, to make something international.

4. Desvergonzadamente (18 letters)

Meaning: Shamelessly, lacking any sense of shame.

5. Desconsoladamente (17 letters)

Meaning: Inconsolably, that cannot be comforted

6. Electrodoméstico (16 letters)

Meaning: Home Appliance, electrical or mechanical machines which accomplish some household functions

Bonus:

Paralelepípedo (14 letters)

Meaning: Parallelepiped, a three-dimensional figure formed by six parallelograms

Caleidoscopio: (13 letters)

Meaning: Kaleidoscope, a toy consisting of a tube containing mirrors and pieces of colored glass or paper, whose reflections produce changing patterns.

As you can see, most of them are compound words (adverbs or two based-words). It could be a good exercise you try to practice their pronunciation!

Bogota has plenty of possibilities to get great cultural enrichment. Every day there are 35 to 45 cultural public and private events along with the city, from street theater, concerts, and workshops to art expositions and free exchanges events at cafes and bars.

Here you will find a list of the activities that will help you learn Spanish and enjoy the culture at the same time.

1. Free Dance Lessons:

You can enjoy salsa, tango and milonga free lessons every Sunday morning at Centro Cultural Gabriel García Márquez, in La Candelaria, in the centre of the city.

More info: Fondo de Cultura Económica

2. Language exchange and international party:

Gringo Tuesdays at bar La Villa, in Chicó, in the north of the city, is a language exchange and international party event that takes places every Tuesday from 5 pm to 3 am. This is an excellent opportunity to meet local and foreign people, to practice Spanish and to share experiences.
More info: GringoTuesdays

3.Party nights on a Chiva:

If you want to know how “bogotanos rumbean”, you also can enjoy party nights on a “Chiva rumbera”, a traditional bus with no windows, no chairs that is exclusively designed to go dancing and drinking meanwhile you go all over the city. The Chiva finally arrives to La Calera, a natural and touristic zone at northeast of the city with spectacular sightseeing and rumba zones.

4. Bike Tours:

Enjoy the Ciclopaseos through La Candelaria and other traditional zones. In those you rent a bicycle and with a guide, run through key points and places to know the traditional Bogota centre. If you prefer, every week there are also possibilities to run the centre on foot with a guide visit. Besides, every weekend there are outside walks, in which you can know natural runs and places in Bogota hills and some zones around Bogotá.

Amateur photographers meetings:

On the other hand, at Parque Nacional, near the centre and the Planetario, there are amateur photographers meetings at weekends, in which you not also meet new local people but enjoy routes designed to photograph special zones in the city as parks, graffiti and heritage zones, traditional neighbourhoods and buildings, among others. Off course, you could get good memories and images of all over the city.

These are just a few of many different options that are now available to enrich the learning experiences of Spanish language and cultural involvement in Bogotá. These offers get visitors interact with locals to improve their speaking and listening skills, and off course, to enrich cultural and local lifestyle knowledge at the time they provide practice with vocabulary that is inherently more applicable to your interests.

Living in a different country means not only to know basic vocabulary but to get in touch with contextual words and expressions, which are both interesting and very useful. Here you have 6 words to know and use in your visit in Colombia:

1. Chévere:

it’s a very Colombian expression; you won’t listen to it in other Latin-American countries. It means “cool”. It’s very common y Bogotá and most used by young and adolescents.

2. Paila:

this is a very cultural and routine word. Its original meaning refers to a frying pan, but Colombians use it to mean when a person is in trouble and there’s nothing to do. For example, when your boyfriend or girlfriend leaves you out, “paila”, you can do nothing.

3. Bacana/o:

it’s another informal and routine word; its meaning is very similar to “chévere”, but it commonly refers to a cool person, for example, you can say “that man is a “bacan””. There’s not real difference if you omit “o” or not.

4. Camellar:

it´s a very colloquial expression and it’s used in the whole country. It means “to work”. And “El camello” is the job. For example, you can listen “No tengo camello”, that means “I have no job”.

5. ¡Caray!:

it’s a very Bogotá’s word. It’s a total surprise expression. You use it when you get surprised or even annoyed. For example, “¡Caray!, no puedo ir a la fiesta”, that means “Damn! I can’t go to the party”.

6. !Qué boleta!:

it’s a very Bogotá’s expression and it’s used when you identify an embarrassing person or situation. For example, if you get drunk and fall down, your friends will say “¡Qué boleta!”.

From university courses to private tutoring to chatting up the local next to you in the bar, there are many different great ways to learn Spanish while visiting or living in Bogotá, Colombia.

With the explosive growth in tourism in Colombia in the last decade, as well as the development of new teaching tools over the internet and mobile devices, here are four important trends we have seen here in Bogotá in the Spanish Language learning landscape:

1. Greater Cultural Enrichment.

Salsa lessons in Spanish. Windsurfing in Spanish. Cooking in Spanish. Guitar lessons in Spanish. These are just a few of many different options that are now available to enrich the learning experiences of Spanish language students in Bogotá. These new types of classes get students out of the classroom so that they can interact with locals to improve their speaking and listening skills. And of course, provides practice with vocabulary that is inherently more applicable to your interests.

2. Online Tutoring.

If you find a great tutor, why stop your classes with them when you move? With Skype and other online tools, it is now easier than ever to continue conversational lessons while you are on the move. And with tools like Duolingo and Babbel, there are now even more options than ever for guided self study.

3. Voluntourism Classes.

With it’s 50 year history of conflict in the country, Colombia offers numerous opportunities to get in touch with vulnerable communities at the time you´re practising your Spanish, helping and learning in real context.

4. Business Spanish Classes.

If your interests are on professional growth, language centres take this into account to offer, short, long, specialized, skill focus, individual or group classes, all these in response of students’ needs and intentions, with technical Spanish books and material.

Thinking about immersing yourself in a Spanish speaking country while studying the language? To get the most of your experience, you need to do more than just choose the country where you will study. Sure, the accent you want to develop is important, but choosing a great Spanish program in that country is equally important. Here are the 6 important things to keep in mind when choosing a Spanish immersion program.

1. Qualifications of the institution

First of all, look into the qualifications of the institution that offers the course and make sure it is a DELE certified school. This means they are certified to teach Spanish as a Second Language (DELE is a Spanish acronym, hence the different lettering). This gives you total assurance about the quality and content of the courses.

2. Teachers, materials and programs offered

Ask about the teachers, materials and programs offered. It is vital to have an idea about the people who are going to teach you and what kind of focus the program has. Of course, make sure that the focus is in line with your interests.

3. Course’s curriculum

Check the course’s curriculum and make sure that it covers all the major skill areas: reading, listening, writing, speaking and grammar (as a transverse point). If you are a beginner, look for a course that has a conversational focus. This will give faster results as you gain the skills you need to continue your practice in everyday settings outside of the classroom.

4. Cultural complement

Following point number three, it is important that the course offers a cultural complement as well. There is nothing more helpful than the real life-immersion that a course can give you. In addition to being extremely effective, this will also make your classes a lot more fun.

5. Number of students per course

Check the number of students per course. Depending on your learning style, your time, and the learning rhythm you look for, larger or smaller classes may be better. Of course, programs that offer personalized classes are ideal. That way, your teacher can focus more deeply on your weaknesses and at the same time teach material related to your interests.

6. Do you feel comfortable?

Lastly, make sure you feel comfortable and confident about the school you choose, and that you find it fun! If you don’t like the course, you can always look elsewhere or seek out private tutoring as an alternative. Make sure you answer these 6 questions before you end up inscribed in a lengthy course that you find boring.