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Expert Author Steve DolanLearning Spanish Abroad

Spanish is one of the most popular languages, and it is used in many countries around the world. The best way for you to learn Spanish is to immerse yourself in a Spanish-speaking country. Although normal Spanish classes are adequate, in order to totally envelope oneself in the language and pronunciation of Spanish, a trip to Latin America or Spain is in order. This is called the "total immersion" method of learning a language. Not only does it include attending classes, but also using Spanish in day-to-day life.

Learning Spanish abroad is the most efficient way to learn. Many people who have taken Spanish courses for years still feel lost while having a simple conversation with a native Spanish-speaker because Spanish-speakers use a different slang and speed than what students learn in class.

Learning Spanish abroad forces you to use your knowledge in real-life situations on an everyday basis. Also, while studying abroad, you will find learning Spanish extremely important because you are surrounded by the language. Therefore, you will make a bigger effort to improve your fluency to make your visit more pleasant. Instead of learning basic verbs and grammar which can become quite tedious, you can see how the language is used in normal circumstances which will help you learn quickly. Best of all is that you can speak the same as a native from day one, which is important because speaking like the natives will help you more than speaking broken Spanish you learned from a book. Learning Spanish abroad is also a way to learn more about the culture and the people of a country, especially if you travel to a number of places in the country.

Language Immersion Schools

There are people who hope to learn Spanish abroad by simply visiting Spain with an English-Spanish dictionary and assuming that they will pick up the language, but this can be an awkward way of learning. Staying in the country and attending proper Spanish lessons is probably the best way to learn, especially if you avoid the temptation to visit tourist areas where English is predominantly spoken.

There are many schools in Spain and Latin America that arrange for people to travel simply to learn the language. There are Spanish immersion schools in nearly every Spanish-speaking country. These schools usually organize accommodation and daily Spanish classes in the vicinity. Most schools offer the option of staying with a local host family. In this way you can learn Spanish abroad while having a vacation at the same time. It is important to find the classes and living situations that will best help you learn Spanish.

Making an Extended Visit in a Foreign Country

There are certain preparations you must make for a long trip to another country. If you are going to visit a country for more than a few weeks to learn Spanish, you may need to obtain a student visa. Student visas are sometimes hard to get. Check with the country's consulate to see how long you can stay in the country without a visa, and to find how to go about applying for a student visa. There are different rules for citizens of each country. If you need to get a student visa, the school you pick should be able to help you. If not, at least ask them for recommendations on the application process. Never try to stay in a foreign country illegally!

See the World

There are different forms of Spanish due to differences in pronunciation in different parts of the world. Which variation of Spanish do you want or need to learn? What part of the world would you like to visit? Spanish is spoken in 21 countries around the world, so you can choose from among a large variety of locations. Do you want a European metropolitan experience, or warm beaches, or high mountain peaks? Learn Spanish in the country that suits your tastes.

Learn Spanish in Mexico

For people living in the United States, going to Mexico to attend a Spanish language immersion school is the easiest and cheapest choice. Since Mexico is an entirely Spanish-speaking region, you will be constantly exposed to the phonetics of the language. It is very easy to pick up a language when you keep hearing it over and over.

There are many places in Mexico to learn Spanish. If you are a student, your university may already have an exchange program with another school; then you have little to worry about in planning. Otherwise, it is time to do some research. The internet will be the best tool to find a school in Mexico to learn Spanish. First, look at American university web pages and where they send students in their intensive Spanish programs. Many American universities send their students to special language institutes, not necessarily a Mexican university. A partnership with an American university is a recommended way to find a Mexican school.

You can also do a simple internet search for colleges in Mexico. You will get thousands of hits, so narrow your search with words like "recommended" or "testimonials," to get schools that have endorsements. Be sure to actually check out the recommendations and send emails to former students listed as references. At a reputable school, all this information should be on the web site or available via email.

Narrow your search again by schools in the area of Mexico where you want to study. If you are going to Mexico to learn Spanish for the hospitality industry, for example, it might be best to study at Acapulco or Cancun. If politics are more important, head to Mexico City. If you need to stay close to the states, look to Tijuana. You should compare prices, packages, meals, lodging, and schedules to help you choose the program that is best for you.

Learn Spanish in South America

South America is a great and beautiful place to learn Spanish. Spanish is the official language of all South American countries except Brazil.

Peru especially is a wonderful and intensive country in which to learn Spanish. Because not many people speak English in Peru, travelers will find it more necessary to learn Spanish and therefore will learn quickly. Just like in most countries in South America, Peru has schools to help people learn Spanish. The courses are usually more reasonable than they are in the United States. Therefore, someone can learn Spanish more effectively and somewhat cheaply by studying abroad. Students can learn Spanish in South America in a classroom in the daytime from their teacher, peers, and books, and then can learn Spanish out on the town in the evenings by interacting with the local people. You will spend every waking hour among people who speak Spanish. Every time you want to interact with someone, whether it be to buy a cup of coffee or get on a bus, you will be able to practice your Spanish skills. A student who wants to learn Spanish in Peru America will learn very quickly.

Learning Spanish in Argentina will prove to be easier and less stressful, not to mention fun and cultural as well. Argentina is situated in South America with Buenos Aires as its capital. Although Spanish is Argentina's national language, almost everyone also speaks English because of Argentina's huge number of year-round visitors. Therefore, learning Spanish in Argentina is easy and enjoyable.

Learn Spanish in Spain

There are seventeen regions in Spain, and each has its unique subculture. Barcelona is known for being a fun, international city, but many people there speak primarily Catalan. Madrid is known for its beautiful art and museums. Think about what you want in your area of study and find the region of Spain that is most appealing to you.

One city I strongly suggest learning Spanish in is Andalusia, which is tucked into the province of Granada. In this southern-most and densely populated region of Spain is the fascinating, ancient, and beautiful city of Andalusia. Since Roman times, people have enjoyed its climate and culture. Its alcazar, ancient quarter, mosque and other sites draw thousands of tourists. The city has been the subject of painting, opera, and literature. But it is not just a beautiful vacation destination. There are many Spanish immersion schools. You must pick a program that suits your needs and schedule. Are you an advanced Spanish student looking for a long immersion experience? Are you more of an informed tourist that wants to learn about the language and culture of a place? Think about how long you can spend in Granada and how many hours per day and days per week you want to study. If you must seriously learn Spanish in Granada very quickly for school or work, look for the most intensive programs. Some programs hold classes for eight hours a day then send students to live with Spanish-speaking families. If your interest is more of a hobby or personal interest, you might enjoy something more leisurely that leaves time to explore Andalusia.

The greatest thing about learning Spanish in Granada, however, is that most schools offer field trips. Small group excursions go to sights around Andalusia and the rest of Spain. When three or four students and a teacher go to a village bullfight, an olive farm or a winery, the experience is much better and more intimate than anything a tour company can provide. These field trips are usually optional and cost extra. Be sure to ask about them when you are shopping for a school.

There are also "traveling" Spanish schools based in Granada and other parts of the country that combine an extended bus or train tour with Spanish lessons. These programs are usually geared more toward culture and sightseeing rather than quickly instilling a strong grasp of Spanish. Depending on what you need to know, a traveling school may or may not be what you need.

Learning Spanish abroad in a different country and a different culture is fun and exciting. It is also the fastest way to learn Spanish, and you will learn to speak like a native. Learning Spanish using the total immersion method lets you live the language rather than just study it.

Steve Dolan is a European who has traveled extensively across Europe and understands the value of languages. Find out how to learn Spanish quickly and easily at Learn Spanish [http://www.foreignlanguageslive.com/learnspanish] and for other languages try Foreign Languages [http://www.foreignlanguageslive.com]

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