Are you thinking of learning a new language? If you are, we highly recommend taking the time to learn Spanish.
Why? Knowing more than one language allows you to not only make more friends, but it also improves your job chances and may give you a higher income. Plus, as the number of Spanish speakers continues to rise in the U.S., and considering the fact that Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world (ahead of English, mind you), you will be able to communicate and network with a larger pool of business contacts.
What does that mean? Business opportunities galore!
To ensure that you efficiently pick up the language without stressing out about it too much, follow these four steps.
If you are a beginner, it is important that you first look for Spanish learning resources, as this gives you an outline of what is expected to become proficient. You can consult books, scope online resources or seek audio lessons—like Rosetta Stone—to frame your studies. Make sure to look for resources/lessons that teach you to think in Spanish and stress conversation; not just memorizing vocab.
Remember to remain patient. Don’t expect that everything will happen overnight. Take your time. Reward yourself every time you make progress as motivation to keep going.
And on the plus side, because Spanish and English both come from Latin and are very similar in nature (both words, sentence structure, and grammar), the transition won’t be as hard as you might think.
Spanish requires a lot of practice. You can easily forget what you learned if you do not keep on practicing and building on what you learned the previous day. Create a specific schedule of the time you will be practice Spanish every day, and stick to it. After every study session, take your time to go through what you have learned and try to tie it in with what you had learned the previous days. Organize your work in a way that you can easily understand it so you don’t stress out and lose motivation to keep pushing forward.
Another major step is joining a local Spanish-speaking group or club and meeting regularly. This reinforces your learning and makes you practice it in a conversational way, which is vital for memory retention. It will also open you up to meeting new friends and make your studies fun, which is what it’s all about. If you’re not having fun, odds are you’re not absorbing as much as you could be.
In these groups, you will also improve on your Spanish by gaining new insights into how to learn and what to say by discussing with others. While working with others however, make sure to stick to the learning style that works best for you.
As you continue learning Spanish, try to look for more resources—especially interactive games and tutorials online—and Spanish translators so help is always just a click away.
When you’re feeling more comfortable in your progress, start watching Spanish TV shows and listening to Spanish radio stations and try to follow along with what they’re saying. This also includes Spanish movies—foreign flicks are always fun to watch, right?—and the daily news. Even if you only understand some parts, it is still reinforcing your learning and will help you pick up the language even faster.