Learning Spanish Online Vs. Learning Spanish in Spain

Learning Spanish Online Vs. Abroad - imagen by imgcrunchWas it the excitement of the exotic, passionate culture that first led you to study Spanish? A fond holiday memory of fun in the sun perhaps? Maybe your work requires it, or you’ve met a significant other from a Spanish-speaking country?

Whatever your reasons for deciding to learn Spanish, it was a commendable choice, congratulations! With Spanish being the second most spoken language in the world after Mandarin, there are in fact more Spanish than English speakers in the world – and with you joining them, there’ll be one more.

As you’ll know by now, learning a language requires many hours of dedication. Even if the ability comes to your naturally, you need to be able to practice all the time to keep your vocabulary expanding and your fluidity going. There are many different methods available to Spanish students, but two available nowadays are studying online and attending courses in a Spanish-speaking country. The question is, which of these two popular methods is best?

Online Courses

Learning Spanish Online Vs. Abroad - imagen by ehowThe main factor about online learning is that it allows you to study at your own pace.

This is ideal if you are juggling work and home and have only a few hours a week to spare. Picking an online course to suit you will usually depend on two factors: which course you perceive as being the best value for money, and which learning style used is the one that suits you best.

The good news is of course that many of the Spanish language online courses includes a demo version that allows you to try before you buy.

Additionally, some of these sites will include the personalised services of a tutor or an instructor, who’ll give you say, an hour a week. This kind of one-on-one attention can be extremely helpful when you are studying on your own, because the difficulty of course with solo studying is not being always able to check mistakes or practice oral skills. Having an opportunity to clarify doubts, ask questions or just practice a little, will be helpful.

Also, what you might be missing out on, compared to a language immersion situation on a study trip to Spain, you might be given access to a student chat room or forum, to reach of other people who are willing to practice the language, even via Skype or other video conferencing methods. This could be particularly useful if you are doing a more advanced Spanish course for professionals, for example legal or medical employees, and need to practice specialised vocabulary.

Online courses usually also come with ‘added extras’, like links to Spanish television shows, newspaper articles or interesting blogs. Most sites will also give you tips and access to other popular language learning sites with free resources like quizzes, entertainment and light reading – anything to get you stuck into the language.

Studying Spanish in Spain

Learning Spanish Online Vs. Abroad - imagen by spanish-in-cubaOne of the most obvious reasons for choosing to do a language course in Spain is that you’ll have easy access to native speakers and cultural situations, from ordering your breakfast coffee or lunch at the local cafetería, to reading the labels of exotic foods in the supermarket.

This provides not only a chance for you to talk, but the the opportunity to fine tune your listening skills. Understanding a carefully enunciated Spanish accent during an online practice session is not perhaps the same as working out what the vivacious Andalusian check out lady at the till is trying to tell you.

You will also inevitably come across funny but useful everyday words that you wouldn’t find in an online class, like “cline” (paper tissues, derived from “Kleenex”!), cereales (breakfast cereal) or lentillas (contact lenses, not to be confused with lentejas, or lentils). Of course also in terms of the speed at which you will learn, there is no doubt that few weeks in Spain will do for you what even several months of solo studying may not achieve.

The language or people skills and the experiences a trip abroad will offer are second to none. Being immersed in a new language and a completely different culture is very exciting! Not just a possibility for developing Spanish language skills, it’s also an opportunity to discover new abilities and conquer challenges. When we step outside of our comfort zones, we discover new strengths and become more confident.

A Spanish language trip is also an excellent way to make new international friends from around the world. When you go on a language course in Spain, you will not only meet Spanish people, but also students from other countries.

Learning Spanish Online Vs. Abroad - imagen by conflitmondialHaving been abroad will also make you more employable. Potential employers will not only value your extra language, but also perceive you as a person prepared to explore new territories and take on challenges.

Our world is more and more multi-cultural and globalised, and despite the current flat economy, companies and countries are investing abroad more than ever. A new boss will see a person who has studied abroad as brave, independent, self-motivated and able to deal with diverse people and situations.

Also, what’s a better excuse to travel, than going to Spain for a week or two, or even longer? A study trip to Spain will allow you to explore new worlds, whilst learning some totally unexpected things and having the opportunity to discover places you might otherwise never have known.

Learning Spanish Online Vs. Abroad - imagen by spectacle-de-danseUnderstanding a language also requires and understanding of cultural differences and values, like those of food, music, appearances and people’s personal habits. People’s specific cultural backgrounds reflect their deepest beliefs and values and affect the way they think on every level. Experiencing a culture personally can really open your mind to understanding where other people are coming from.

One of the most welcome aspects of learning Spanish in Spain is to give yourself an opportunity to break out of your academic or daily routine. The trip might not be a holiday in the sense that you’ll spend all day every day on the beach, but the language learning trip will offer you much more than a vacation ever could.

New teachers will introduce you to new ways of learning, as well as a new academic system and there will be chances to discover nuances to a language you’d never learn on a set online program. Of course, it is also a great way to break away form the monotony of a study program at home, or even just your ordinary everyday routines!

In conclusion

There are of course huge advantages to learning a language anywhere, whether online or abroad. If you are reading this post, the likelihood is of course that you are considering a trip to Spain to build your language skills here.

A course in Spain does not have to cost a fortune and UniSpain can confidently say that they provide the lowest prices for the best quality Spanish courses currently on the market – and if you find any of the courses UniSpain offer advertised anywhere else at a lower price (at either a school or via an agency), we will match that price and lower it by a 5% discount. But if you are simply debating the pros and cons of an online course and a trip to Spain, why not do both? When you book a course with us, we will also give you a free month Spanish online course worth $79.

There is much evidence to show that communication (listening and speaking) is the most important factor in learning a new language. Being exposed to an environment where everybody talks to you in Spanish and expects you to say words and sentences in the same language, you are simply forced to become as fluent as possible, very quickly.

In a nutshell, even though both online and in-country learning have their benefits, learning Spanish in Spain is, without a doubt, ¡mucho mejor y mucho mas divertido!

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