Looking for the best way to learn Spanish on your own? – Check this list of tips that helped me to learn Spanish in 4 months before turning into an expat in Spain.

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Best Way to Learn Spanish on Your Own

Tips and Ideas for Learning Spanish

Why to learn Spanish

Did you know that more than 20 million people are studying Spanish right now and 595 million are already speaking it (according to the Cervantes Institute)?

Therefore, Spanish is the second most spoken language across the globe. So, learning it definitely enhances anyone’s resume. But there are way more inspiring reasons that keep people gravitating back to Spain.

There’s a special pleasure in reading contemporary Spanish novels or watching local TV shows in their original language. Then there are endless cultural and travel opportunities for those who can easily interact with locals. Plus, understanding Spanish songs is always a fun extra.

My Story of learning Spanish

How it all started

Before I moved to Spain, the cultural side was the one setting my soul on fire.

My present-day passion for Spanish Ceramics and Artisan Gifts from Spain derives from my first job in the Spanish ceramic tile industry. Therefore, I initially planned to learn the language for work, but it ended up as an inspiration to get a one-way ticket to Spain.

My first trip to Spain

I still remember in detail my first trip to Spain – back then I thought I would be fine with English, especially since it was a business trip. While it was true that many people within the business setting knew English, it was also true that no one else outside of it did. I mean, if you travel to Barcelona or Madrid, you will rarely have problems with English. But once you leave the main capitals, the Spaniards in taxis, cafes, bars, gas stations, and even governmental institutions DO NOT speak English.

In a nutshell, I was honestly so disappointed I could not make the most of that first trip. It was all narrowed down to meetings and a few touristy landmarks the inviting side took us to visit. Nevertheless, that day I promised myself that on my next trip to Spain, I would be able to interact with locals easily so that I could go beyond all those cliche tourist activities.

And so it was…

Learning Spanish On My Own

As a result, I have learned Spanish in 4 months (not perfectly, but to the point I could easily travel across Undiscovered Spain and talk to locals). One year later, I passed the official DELE exam for B2, where I got 30 out of 30 for the speaking part. Even for my TOEFL, I got 28 out of 30.

While I was taking private classes in the beginning, most of my studying happened solo. You just can not dedicate to your Spanish one hour per week and expect outstanding results – no teacher can do miracles.

Later on, I stopped with the classes and kept improving my language skills independently. Real success in learning languages involves a lot of personal decisions, effort, and time.

Most of my free time included activities with a Spanish twist. Believe me, there are so many things one can do in 10 minutes – read a few paragraphs of a Spanish book, check out a soccer journal, find new Spanish recipes on Pinterest, follow Spanish blogs, practice via apps, learn new sayings or tong twisters…

typical sunday in spain
Read more about my family and how we make a paella in the Valencian countryside every Sunday

Of course, all this occurred before I met my Spanish husband, Carlos (who knew basic English). Nevertheless, I feel we would have never genuinely connected without my Spanish. Not to mention that his parents did not speak English at all.

The seniors in Spain (those who had access to decent education) used to learn French. So, did my mother-in-law. My father-in-law comes from a very modest background. So, he had no opportunity to study beyond school.

Tips for Learning Spanish on Your Own

1. Create the perfect environment for learning Spanish on your own

Whether you are learning Spanish for work or pleasure, motivation is always the key. Some people are goal-oriented and need to know what they will achieve with Spanish, others follow their heart and just want to immerse themselves in a new culture.

However, creating the best environment for learning Spanish on your own is the pillar of success.

Integrate Spanish into your daily routine as much as possible – watch movies in Spanish, read Spanish blogs, set your phone menu to Spanish, download language apps… Love literature or poetry? – Read a paragraph daily in Spanish (and try to memorize it). No matter whether you like sports, cars, or cooking – find the Spanish YouTube channels, IG, or TikTok accounts, on the topic you like and follow them. If you enjoy magazines (I like Ethic), you can check this list to discover more interesting editions in Spain.

Also, do not miss my Flipboard collection of inspiring travel articles in Spanish (it is the best way to keep learning Spanish and embracing your Spain Bucket List at the same time).

These are the small things that end up making a big difference. Think of your daily habits, routines, and interests, and try to make Spanish a part of them. If you lack discipline, I recommend reading Atomic Habits. Can´t find time? – Try Time Management From Inside and Essentialism. If you are a creative soul, check out  The Creative Habit and Motivation for Creative People ( find what motivates you personally: you can learn new words your way). Coloring books, art channels in Spanish, coffee table books – learning Spanish does not need to be boring: there are lots of ideas to make the whole process fun and creative.

If you want to learn Spanish on your own, there should be no excuses. Whether you lack skills, persistence, or motivation, know your weaknesses and work on them.

best spain virtual tours
For some extra inspiration, check Top Spain Virtual Tours

2. Watch Spanish Films and TV Shows

With a day job, there might be evenings when you won´t feel like reading or learning. Then just watch one of the Spanish TV Shows or Movies. It is way more important than you think – you need to train your ear right from the start.

Understanding Spaniards might be one of the most challenging parts of learning Spanish on your own. Spanish Grammar itself is easier than English, French, or German, but the conversational speed is a motivation-killer for many.

Locals do speak extremely fast, so it will take time to adjust. Do not give up on it.

Watch Spanish TV shows and movies with English subs, then try to switch to Spanish subs. Focus on general comprehension – it will take time. Later on, you can pause and write down phrases you liked from the film. But the most important part here is getting used to the pace ( so that you won’t get intimidated once chatting with the Spaniards).

favorite spanish tv shows
Read more about my Favorite Spanish TV Shows

3. Label Things in Your House

To embrace your vocabulary, you can easily get colorful sticky notes and label objects surrounding you – doors, books, lamps, gadgets… Vocabulary awareness is essential, you need to accustom your brain to think in Spanish as much as possible.

With the help of sticky notes, you can indirectly memorize new words throughout the day.

learning spanish on your own tips
The best way to learn Spanish on your own – labeling things at home

4. Listen to Spanish Music

I did learn lots of words and phrases via popular Spanish songs.

There were times when I had only Spanish songs on my phone. Back then a Spanish band, El Canto del Loco, was really popular: I still remember the texts for most of their songs (lol).

Let me emphasize that listening to Spanish music does not replace movies or real conversations. You might get a few useful phrases from the songs, but they are the best for joy and keeping you within the Spanish context during your free time.

You can check my list of Romantic Spanish Songs and Christmas Music of Spain.

record player music in spain
The best way to learn Spanish on your own – My Vintage Spanish Music At Home

5. Get the Spanish books you like

These days there are lots of handy editions to help you succeed in learning Spanish on your own.

Also, check my articles: Best Contemporary Spanish Books and Writers, 6 Spanish Cookbooks You Will Enjoy Having In Your Kitchen, Cute Spain Books for Kids, Unique Spain Coffee Table Books, 10 Fascinating Legends from Spain, and Top Spanish Romantic Legends.

Best spanish books and writers
Great Spanish Stories – read more about my favorite reads & experiences of 2023

6. Keep a Journal to track your success

The reason so many of us quit halfway through is that we lack personal success stories: deep inside we simply do not believe we can make it.

If this is your case, get a Spanish diary, a language-learning planner, or a success journal, where you can track your achievements, and write down things you managed to nail down (or even favorite phrases and dream experiences in Spain).

Anything that will help you to strengthen your connection with learning Spanish. You need to teach yourself to focus on the good and value any progress in learning Spanish on your own.

best way to learn spanish on your own
Read more about my favorite self-care essentials at home

7. Language Apps

Language apps are great for practicing Spanish on the go.

Whether you accidentally get 5 minutes of free time, do not go on Instagram (unless it is for your favorite Spanish channel) – download apps like Duolingo, Mondly, SpanishDict, or Memrise.

But let me warn you that these are not enough to learn Spanish on your own – you really need to have a diversified approach and do a bit of everything.

8. Spanish Games

Games are always fun, but they also increase brain function, embrace patience and strategy skills, and simply make us spend fun quality time off screens in the company of people we love. Here are a few handy games to embrace learning Spanish on your own.

KLOO Learn Spanish Board Game Race to Madrid

KLOO Learn Spanish Board Game Race to Madrid is one of the handiest Spain board games for those learning the language. While having fun with family and friends you keep acquiring Spanish vocabulary and practicing your español.

spanish board games camino de santiago
Buen Camino Card Game and Buen Camino (walking The Way of Saint James is in my travel plans for 2024)

Card Games

Alternatively, you can also check Lingo Spanish Playing Cards, ¡Dios Mio! Bilingual Fun Card Game, or AGO Spanish Card Game for Beginners, which are all easier to bring with you on the road.

Editions in Spanish

Another alternative is a Spanish Monopoly, especially if you already know the rules, or Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza – Spanish Edition.

For more ideas, check my posts about Spanish Board Games and Things to Buy on Spanish Amazon.

Do you have any other tips for learning Spanish on your own? – Please, let us all know in the comments below.

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best way to learn spanish on your own-2

For more tips about Spain check my Pinterest boards Life in Spain and Travel to Spain

at lifestyle crossroads travel blog resources
  • Accommodation: For short stays, I usually book via Agoda, Booking, and Hotellook
  • Tours&excursions: My favorites for guided tours are GetYourGuide, Viator, and Klook
  • Museums&attractions: Get mobile tickets for attractions via Tiqets (use ATC5 code for a 5% discount via this link)
  • Semi-private & private tours: LivTours is my favorite place for unique & crafted experiences in Europe
  • For Foodies: Eatwith is a unique platform for finding culinary experiences with locals around the world
  • Audio guides: Book audio excursions & tours in 35+ countries via WeGoTrip
  • Flights: Find the best deals with Skyscanner, WayAway, and Kiwi
  • Driving in a new country? – Check out Tripiamo guides (do not miss Tripiamo Driving in Spain Guide)
  • Train&bus tickets: Currently, I book via Trainline, Busbud, and Omio
  • Car rental: To find the best deals, I use Rental Cars and Discover Cars
  • Top E-Sim: GigSky helps me to avoid roaming fees and provides connectivity everywhere (even on a cruise ship)
  • Internet Security on the road: Connect safely to public Wi-Fi and bypass censorship with NordVPN
  • Transfers: For individual transfer services, I like GetTransfer and Kiwitaxi
  • Suitcases&Luggage: Discover where to store your luggage on the go with Radical Storage
  • Travel Insurance: Find the best trip insurance plans via VisitorsCoverage and EKTA
  • Compensation for delayed/canceled flights: Check out AirHelp and Compensair
  • Valencia Tours: Get an extra 5% off any Valencia&Go tour with the code crossroads5
  • Renting Bikes: To find motorcycles, scooters, quads, and bicycles, I use BikesBooking
  • Package Tours: Head to CheapOairExpedia, and Tourhub
  • For Bloggers: To monetize my blog, I work with Travelpayouts and Stay22