Monday, September 14, 2015

Surround Yourself with Spanish

by Ann Abbott

One of my students told me that she felt her Spanish was a little rusty and wondered what she could to get back into the swing of things.

I'm so glad she asked! Simply wanting to improve your Spanish is one of the most important parts of actually improving your Spanish.

Here are a few resources I suggest.

At the University of Illinois

  • Tutoring Room. If you have specific problems, you can go to the Spanish Tutoring Room on the 4th floor of FLB.
  • Mi Pueblo. This is one of the best resources because you can meet up with other people who are practicing their Spanish--and actually speak Spanish in conversations with real people. Nothing beats that.


  • MySpanishLab. In this particular course, my student has access to everything that is MySpanishLab. That includes grammar tutorials, verb charts, videos and sound files for everything that is in the book and workbook. There's no way we can cover everything in the book or in MySpanishLab, so taking advantage of all that extra content is just smart. Of course if you are using a different textbook, your online resources will be different, too.
  • You can join the site, and you can also simply go to the SpanishPod101 YouTube channel and listen to the videos. Go to "Playlists" and listen to a few in each level to see where you feel most comfortable, though a little challenged, too.
  • The Spanish Blog. This is another good online source. (There are too many to list here!) You can sign up, or you can use their many free videos.
  • Get hooked on a show. One of my friends said that Gran Hotel is a great show to watch on NetFlix.
  • Listen to music. So many of my students walk into class with their earbuds in, carrying their device in their hands. They're listening to something! It might be podcasts, but it's probably music. Why not just switch it up and make the music Spanish? Here's a comment that my colleague Florencia Henshaw left on my Facebook Page a while ago: Florencia Henshaw Listen to music in that language! But not just once or twice. Learn the lyrics and listen to those songs often. Sing along in your car or in the shower. Here's our SPAN 204 Spotify playlist to help you discovernew artists and songs in Spanish
There are many, many more resources. I've tried to include things that are specifically helpful to intermediate students, like my student who asked for suggestions.

Please add to the list!

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