Since that first trip I’ve checked out a number of different ways of learning Spanish online. Because I live in a town where there is no Spanish school, and not even any Spanish speakers, I’ve had to do with online resources.
My Spanish is pretty good now – but it’s been a long, hard road.
First, I ended up spending a lot of money on courses which really didn’t teach me that much. Then I found it really hard to learn without an actual teacher. It’s fine learning the grammar by yourself, but it’s very hard to have a conversation with yourself!
What I found after a while was that I really needed someone to practice with!
Anyway, I thought I’d share with you the method that I finally came up with that enabled me to become an (almost) fluent Spanish speaker.
Learning Spanish Online:
There are basically two ways to learn Spanish online:
- Self-paced courses which incorporate grammar, videos, audio, quizzes etc.
- With a teacher using video chat software.
From my experience, the best thing to do is a combination of both. You can learn the grammar and vocabulary at your own pace, but then you really need a live teacher to help you put it all into practice.
Self-paced Spanish Course Options:
Rocket Spanish is a very good platform from which to start learning Spanish. It’s not the best option for high level learners, but if your level is high then you probably want to consider some face to face classes anyway, as I mentioned above. I have done this course, and found it was well worth the $99. It has a range of great games and quizzes that really help you to practice by yourself. Click here to go to the Rocket Spanish website.
The Spanish Cat
The Spanish Cat is a Spanish school with real schools in both the UK and Australia. They also have an online course that covers a large range of topics and is designed specifically for beginners. The cost is only $49, so it’s very reasonably priced.
I’ve taken this course myself and found it excellent. The only shortfall is that it is really only for beginners, and they don’t have a self-paced option for advanced students.
For more information, visit www.thespanishcat.com
The Rosetta Stone course is very comprehensive, but it’s one of the most expensive in this market (12 month access costs around US$600). The course has been developed over many years though and is a good way to learn Spanish online. The main advantage is that it does include a lot of material for advanced students – and once you get to a higher level it’s probably a course that you’ll want to invest in. Click here to go to the Rosetta Stone website.
The Pimsleur approach is a well known learning method, based around listening to native speakers and repeating what they say at various intervals, slowly building on vocabulary and structures learnt in previous lessons. It is a reasonably effective method although can get a little boring at times. Like the Rosetta Stone course, it’s not cheap at around US$450 for all levels, but it’s still worth a look. I bought it and found it didn’t really help much more than the courses already mentioned. Click here to visit their website.
Learning Spanish online via video chat
This is actually one of the most effective ways of learning Spanish outside the classroom. Because learning a language requires not only knowledge but practice, both listening and speaking, learning with a real teacher is far superior to audio courses which don’t actually give you the chance to do speaking practice (unfortunately voice recognition software is not that good yet!)
A really great way to learn is to combine a self-paced course like those discussed above with video chat classes. This way, you can learn all the grammar and vocabulary from the self paced course, and then practice it with a live teacher via skype.
The best place I found offering video chat classes is www.ispanishschool.com. I have taken many classes through this platform, and my Spanish improved in no time.
Is it worth it?
It’s taken me a few years go get fluent, but it’s really been worthwhile. Not only have I enjoyed my trips in Spain and Latin America a whole lot more, but I feel I’ve really been able to be a part of the culture and community there. Not only that – but on my last trip I met a fantastic woman who is now my beautiful wife!
So yes – keep at it and you too will become part of the amazing community of people who speak this language!