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Speaking Spanish can lead the way to great experiences in your work, education, travel, and leisure.
As an official language of 33 countries across the globe, Spanish is one of the top choices for language learners, and its many unique benefits could make it the right choice for you.
According to Ethnologue, it is estimated that there are more than 480 million people who speak Spanish as a native language, being the second language spoken in the world.
If you are considering learning Spanish but are still unsure, we have three great reasons that will convince you to start taking Spanish classes today, according to our students!
1. Travel with confidence
Even a basic knowledge of Spanish can make traveling more enjoyable and easier.
Although English is the third most spoken language in the world, you cannot travel with the confidence of always finding someone who speaks English.
2. Speak fluently with the natives
Beyond the numbers, the students affirm that they want to learn Spanish because they want to speak with natives, not only to survive the airport, hotels, and restaurants without problems but to open the door to a genuine interaction, and a genuine connection.
3. A new culture
Other students say they want to know the culture because they find it very attractive and fascinating.
They claim that Latinos have something they like very much. Some of them have even fallen in love so they have a Colombian partner or plans to work in a Spanish-speaking country.
At the end, learning a new language changes your life.
I have students who have discovered a new facet of themselves: as if their “spontaneous” part has been released thanks to the Spanish language.
They are different people when they speak Spanish. So I guess Spanish has something that can impact, even, the way you live or see life.
Last week our students had the opportunity to make a long-lasting, positive difference in the lives of some children in Bogota.
As part of our cultural activities, they volunteered as English teachers for kids.
Hence this time we went to “La Perseverancia” Farmers’ Market and with their help, 17 kids enjoyed a wonderful afternoon of English oriented activities.
Our students became teachers for one day and with the help of our staff, they led interesting and engaging activities for the kids.
Due to they also had the opportunity to practice their Spanish, furthermore get to know our culture and definitely have fun.
So, why Volunteer While Learning Spanish in Colombia? Here are some of their answers
“Get to Know the community”
“Finding out that actually I’m making a difference”
“See their smiles and interest in learning something new”
What do you think are some good reasons for volunteering while learning Spanish abroad? Please let us know by tagging us on Twitter using the hashtag #volunteerColombia #ilikespanish
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:
|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” 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” is pronounce like ¡Quiubo! and means What’s been going on?
“¿Qué más?” literally means, “What else?” but we use it to say “Hey! How are you?
“¿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
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
“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
Translation: Eaten bread
English equivalent: A piece of cake / easy peasy
Meaning: Something easy to do
“¡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
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
“De repente se puso roja como un tomate”
She suddenly turned as red as a beetroot
4. 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
“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
Translation: Where two eat, three eat.
English equivalent: There’s always room for one more”.
Meaning: Affirmation that an unexpected guest is well received
¿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!
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!
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.
For every Spanish learner, to master the accent and the language’s highly regional vocabulary, it is essential to immerse themselves to achieve fluency. But there are so many amazing countries to choose from, how do you pick where to study?
Colombia is a fantastic place to learn Spanish, and here are the top 3 reasons why:
1. The accent and culture
The Colombian Spanish accent is well recognized as being both neutral and very natural at the same time. For a foreign Spanish learner, accent and word use is essential in order to achieve good pronunciation, and the Colombian accent makes it easier to understand others and be understood as you are learning. Specifically, the Bogota accent is considered to be one of the best examples of spoken Spanish in the world, and the cultural variety provides an excellent backdrop for practicing the language in new and exciting environments.
2. Availability of learning institutions
Colombia has a culture of high-quality education. Colombia’s capital Bogota is called the “Athens of South America”, named for its huge number of educational institutions and high student population. In Colombia you will have access to high quality learning available through university programs, Spanish schools and institutes, and a massive population of highly educated teachers and tutors.
3. Learning Spanish in Colombia is extremely affordable
And as the Colombian Peso continues to fall vs. the Dollar and Euro, it is becoming even more so. Whether you prefer a formal classroom setting in a university or private tutoring, you can find prices ranging from $10-$30 per class hour.
So remember, when you ask: Where should I learn Spanish? The answer is Colombia.
We recently posted on our Facebook page about Palindromes. We think is such an interesting topic that we would like to talk a little bit more about it.
Memorizing palindromes in the language you are studying is a great way to increase your vocabulary and your understanding of the grammar. And for those who like to play word games, palindromes can be fun to play with in either Spanish or English.
A Palindrome is a word, phrase or sequence which reads the same in both directions. Words or sentences that use the same letters both backward and forward; spaces and capitalization don’t count, and neither do accent marks.
One of the most famous palindrome phrases in English is “Madam, I’m Adam.”
In Spanish, the word is “palíndromo” and probably one of the most popular phrases is “Dábale arroz a la zorra el Abad”. A rough English translation could be “The abbot gave rice to the vixen”
How to pronounce “Palíndromo”?
“Dábale arroz a la zorra el Abad” pronunciation
Here is a list of palindrome words and phrases in Spanish
- Amada dama
- Amor a Roma
- Ana lava lana
- ¿Somos o no somos?
- Yo soy
Can you think of any other palindrome in Spanish?
There are many types of palindromes from many fields including math, language arts, history, music, poetry and biology.
A palindromic number or numeral palindrome is a number that remains the same when its digits are reversed, like 1646. In Spanish it’s called “Capicúa”
Finally, to put you in the mood for palindromes in Spanish, here is “Anina”, an animation movie from Uruguay who introduces us to the world of “capicúas”. Enjoy!
Sometimes our students ask us about the difference between the Spanish spoken in Spain and the one spoken in Colombia or Latin America
The first difference between Latin American Spanish and the Spanish of Spain is the pronunciation of a few letters.
In Latin America the soft “c” and the “z” are pronounced with an “s” sound while in Spain they are pronounced more like a “th” sound.
There are also some differences when using some expressions, but in general, we can understand each other; it’s like the differences between British English and American English.
To illustrate this we have 2 clips from the same movie, our beloved Shrek, can you tell the difference?
Shrek 4 Trailer for Latin America
Shrek 4 Trailer for Spain