One way to learn another language is by throwing yourself in to the language of the locals.
If you want to study Spanish in Tarifa, you should tell yourself to make the most of every second and you will go back to your country with a native accent, lots of native friends and a total Spanish experience. It is an excellent theory, except that if you spend all your time in Tarifa, surrounded by sun, sea, Kitesurfing and a group of non-Spanish friends, you will most probably have a great time, but in terms of improving your Spanish, it might be the wrong path to take.
Luckily, many of you have had the chance to immerse yourselves in all the above and to have received quality Spanish learning from a professionally qualify Spanish private tutor. Here is some advice when making the most of your time studying Spanish while living in Tarifa.
When you first move to Tarifa, focus on finding Spanish native speakers to live under the same roof as you because it will do wonders to your fluency, as you’ll easily spend a minimum of half an hour a day using your language skills. The living experience doesn’t have to be one of “new best friends”, whether you’re looking for a family with a spare room or a student house share. This is especially effective if they don’t speak any English because if you need something, you’ll learn pretty quickly how to ask for it, and it’s a great way to practice speaking a language even when you don’t feel like it.
Tarifa people are known for their hospitality and warm welcome to those studying Spanish, so you will most likely get invited to family events like Sunday lunches or weddings. As long as you feel fine and not under pressure, even the strangest suggestions are great opportunities for language practice. And you never know, you could end up having a great time. Imagine relaxing at the beach while eating a delicious potato omelet and practicing Spanish.
When you are in Tarifa you’ll quickly discover what a valuable skill English is, a skill that people are going to try and practice with you. It might be on your benefit to not ignore demands of “I need to practice my English!’ Don’t forget to be consistent and continue to speak Spanish, even if your replies keep coming in English. This could also be a perfect chance to broad your Spanish friendships in Tarifa.
There are excellent bars in Tarifa that offer language exchanges. If you decide to go to one of them, it could be quite useful to take a vocab notebook and also to keep it with you at all times. Note down anything you hear and don’t understand, even if it’s a phonetic guess at the right spelling. If you don’t feel comfortable asking then and there, this is a great way to learn new, random vocabulary in a natural setting and pick up colloquialisms. Make a habit of referring to it often to refresh your memory.
Learning a new language is hard, and it can feel like you go from confidently chatting one day to not being able to string a sentence together the next. Sometimes you might have a total mental block. If you’re having one of the latter, just think of how far you’ve come, and where you want to be when it’s time to go home Just take a break from formal study Spanish, although it doesn’t mean it’s time to put the grammar books away for good.
Putting your languages into everyday use is a great way to pick up on the areas that still need practice, try a good verb drill activity! Don’t give up and please take learning Spanish as a fun activity in your life, full of new experiences and friends.