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Spanish for beginners

April 10, 2011

We cannot thank BBC enough for putting up an amazing set of immersive language learning tools on their website. And they make it all available for free! Anybody can go to BBC Languages and start learning French, Spanish, Greek, German, Italian, Chinese, Russian, Japanese … the list is endless and it’s all at your fingertips!

For Spanish in particular, the website has a set of interactive episodes that focus on teaching beginners with an immersive drama based on YOUR life, called – Mi Vida Loca (My Crazy Life). You are the person all the experiences in the drama are happening to, you go to Spain to stay at a friends place, you meet her sister, you walk around Spain talking and interacting with people, taxi drivers, shop keepers, tour guides, make friends, order food etc … and it’s ALL in Spanish! How much more immersive and effective can a language learning experience get? It’s absolutely mind blowing. Mi Vida Loca is an award winning concept that is so effective, I wish they had this for other languages too.

In 12 weeks, you could be conversing in basic Spanish with this program. They have episodes that teach everything a beginner would need to know, starting with simple greetings, introductions, numbers, times and days, ordering food, buying a ticket and moving on to progressively more complicated interactions in common situations one finds when traveling. It’s a great way to review your Spanish too, if you’ve taken classes a long time back and need to dust away the cobwebs from memory.

It’s still too early to say how good our Spanish will be at the end of the course, but there’s already evidence of improvement. During our first visit to the Peru consulate, we sat there dumbstruck as everybody around us spoke in rapid Spanish and we couldn’t make head or tail of what they were saying. Everything was a singsong blur. Our conversational skills started with Hola and ended with Gracias.

Two weeks later and with episodes 1-12 of Mi Vida Loca under our belt, we visited the consulate again for visa purposes, and could barely hide our excitement at how much we were able to understand now! Agreed that most sentences went by too fast to grasp in their entirety, but we understood many of the words, and could make out what was being said based on context. It’s such an intoxicating feeling when you’re learning to speak a new language. Like a window of communication has been opened to an exotic country and it’s people.

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