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Why is learning Spanish important?

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Why is learning Spanish important?
One of the biggest challenges newcomers in Madrid face is the Spanish language. Castillian to be more specific. Many newcomers cannot speak Spanish, feel very frustrated and express their amazement with other expats how it is possible that so many Spaniards speak so little English. Moreover, some expats - expecially the British - are not used to learning another language. I think it is important to overcome the frustration and learn Spanish. I would like to tell you why.

1. You will integrate easier in Madrid. It will be easier to make yourself understandable in your work (if you have Spanish colleagues). The contact with Spaniards will be easier, as will organising practical issues.

2. It benefits your self confidence. If you speak the language of the country where you live, you will have more confidence in yourself. You will notice that you feel much more comfortable with everything you do and that you can be very proud, like...look at me, this is what I did and what I can do.

3. You will learn a complete new language. A language that is the most important world language after English, Mandarin (China) and Hindi (India). Just to give you an example: in the United States an average of 37 milion people speak Spanish (in 2010 29 million people).

Nevertheless, please realise that you need perseverance. A new language is something you don´t learn all at once. It takes time. It depends on your motivation and the time you dedicate to learning Spanish. You will improve. However, it´s normal to feel like it´s two steps forward, one step back.

It is also important to speak Spanish as soon as you are able to. Don´t wait until you master the grammar. Make mistakes and just do it, just communicate in Spanish. Even if the other person suggests to switch to English. By not impeding yourself with fears like: I don´t speak Spanish good enough or what will they think of me? or they won´t understand me you will speak Spanish in the end. And this will make you feel good!

How do you learn Spanish? There are many options. I think it is important to do something where you have the chance to practice. Here are some possibilities:

1. Do an intercambio (face to face or long distance, via Skype). In this context, intercambio means exchanging 2 languages, Spanish and English. Some language schools set up intercambios. You could also get in touch with someone through websites such es Or even through a group on Facebook.

2. Take conversation class. For example, take conversation class via

3. Follow a language course either long distance or in Madrid. In Madrid, in your homecountry or at distance. Below are some suggestions:


Instituto Cervantes has been established by the Spanish government in order to promote the Spanish language. It is a renowned institute. Search for an online course of Cervantes via Google on "Cervantes online AVE" or visit

In Madrid:

4. Take private lessons. In Madrid, several teachers offer private lessons. Although more expensive, the advantage is that you can learn Spanish at your own pace.

If you follow a course, then in my opinion it is important to find one where the 5 aspects of learning a language are considered:

  • speak


  • write


  • grammar


  • read

    comprehensive reading

  • listen


This is the best way to learn Spanish.

© 2010 - 2015 Quilantro, Lilian Hermans



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