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How Social Media Can Be The Key to Your Learning and Growth in Spanish

17 Dec, 2015

  

Social media is straight up addicting. In fact, you may already spend most of your day checking your friends' Facebook feeds, catching the news on Twitter, and following your favorite Instagram accounts.


But wouldn't it be great to use that social media time for productivity? Or better yet - using it to learn to speak Spanish? Let's learn how to turn your social media check-ins into Spanish learning sessions. Our goal is to integrate Spanish learning seamlessly into your social media usage; your personal interests will determine which learning methods are best for you. Let's take a look at various Spanish learning methods and see which ones align with your interests.


Spanish Learning Methods

News Websites


Do you like staying up-to-date on the news, especially when it's about Spain and/or Latin America? Try following various news media outlets; you'll learn thematic vocabulary by reading news stories. You'll also be informed about news throughout the Spanish-speaking world. Some media I suggest include El País, CNN en Español, and BBC Mundo.


Twitter


Do like to learn by interacting with Spanish speakers in real-time? Twitter is a great place to interact with native speakers on a variety of topics.


Just choose a specific topic that interests you, find the related hashtags, and start tweeting en español! You'll find this to be a rewarding educational experience as you pick up new vocabulary and practice conversation.


I also suggest you follow major figures of the Hispanic world so you can read interesting views and pick up some culture at the same time. Some Twitter users I like to follow include soccer superstar Lionel Messi and his rival Cristiano Ronaldo, Argentine president Cristina Kirchner, Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro, and leading journalist Jorge Ramos.


Blogs


Do you want to learn vocabulary essential to daily life and better integrate Spanish into your experiences? Whatever hobbies you like, whether it's crafting, cooking, or traveling, there are Spanish-speaking bloggers who cover these topics beautifully.


Try Googling your interests plus the word ‘blog' to find bloggers you'll enjoy learning from. After you find ones that you like, follow them on Facebook or Instagram for their latest blog posts - they're often accompanied by gorgeous photos.


If you want to take your Spanish learning a step further, you can try cooking a blogger's recipe or following their crafting instructions; engaging your Spanish skills in a fun way will help you learn the language while creating something great!


Travel Guides and Countries


Are you interested in traveling or expanding your understanding of culture within Spain/Latin America? Try following airlines like Iberia or LAN to experience the latest dose of culture. You'll learn about various holidays, exciting places to practice your Spanish, and cultural sites of interest.


What if you want to learn about a specific country? If you're particularly fascinated with a certain Spanish-speaking country, try following cultural topics and figures specific to the country.


For example, if you've fallen in love with Argentina, you could follow “La Gente Anda Diciendo” (a blog of speech heard on the street, often full of Argentine slang); Mafalda (a famous Argentine cartoon); and Festivales de Buenos Aires (a government organization that produces cultural events of all kinds). Before long, you'll be speaking and thinking like an Argentine!


Films and Shows


Do you like learning through audio and visual cues? If you already watch films or TV shows (telenovelas) in Spanish, try following the network that produces the show, or even follow the characters if they exist as public figures.


Not only will you be reading Spanish, but you'll also be connecting the dots through the personality of the characters. This is also a good way to keep each episode (and anything you learned from it) fresh in your mind each week.


Literature


Do you prefer learning through literature and other reading materials? University Spanish departments, as well as authors and poets who exist as public figures, can provide a daily dose of intellect on social media.


Even better - as you explore new literature, try posting your own short excerpt of what you're reading. This will attract the interest of Spanish speakers and help build your network of Spanish language speakers.


Friends


Lastly, make friends! They're likely the best resources you'll have available.


As you follow various topics and individuals on social media, don't hesitate to friend or follow those who you meet along the way. You can even include a short note if it's someone you don't know, explaining that you're a Spanish-language student and would like to follow them.


The above suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to using social media for learning Spanish. You can also try following blogs and sites that cover Spanish language learning, such as this blog, TakeLessons, and FluentU. And most of all, enjoy the unique opportunity to see the world (or at least Facebook/Twitter) through the eyes of Spanish speakers!


Joan B. is a Spanish tutor with TakeLessons, teaching in Carmichael, CA. A lover of language, Joan has also studied French, Arabic, and Italian. Learn more about Joan


17 Dec, 2015