A Note On Becoming Bilingual

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Venezuelan flag at a fort, while on a visit to South America

So, as I’ve mentioned in my last post, I’ve become determined to grasp a really good understanding of the Spanish language.  I have some previous education with the language, and although it was eight years ago since my last Spanish class, there are some things that I haven’t forgotten.  The most important skill which I’ve held onto was ‘pronunciation’.

Based on that, it’s been making the learning process a whole lot easier.  New words stick quicker, and once I repeat them a few times out loud, they ‘usually’ roll off the tongue.  However, this isn’t to say that I’ll be bilingual in a few short weeks at all.

I’ve been studying really, really, really hard.  As in, 4-6 hours a day.  I’ve been immersing myself with the language as much as possibly while currently residing in an English speaking country.  Thankfully, there’s a large population of people from Santo Domingo living in Antigua, and they even have their own radio station.  While I’m in the car, the radio is constantly tuned into the Spanish station, and I try to pick out as many of the words I can.  This helps in getting an ‘ear’ for the language.

Reading and writing can be practiced with a fair sense of commitment.  There are countless books to assist with Grammar and Vocabulary online.  Here’s a list of the resources that I’ve been using so far:

1.  Fundamental Spanish by Barbara Bregstein – A great ebook on Amazon for only $3.03

2. http://www.spanishdict.com – This website has an awesome translator, a help forum and even flashcards! There’s also audio buttons which pronounces words for newbies.  How cool is that?!

3. Youtube – Yep.  This helps a lot with my listening skills.  By simply watching cartoons in Spanish, I learn a lot of words everyday by watching the videos with the Spanish subtitles….sort of like being a kid again!

It’s not easy by any stretch of the imagination, but this is something I really want to do.  At the rate which I am currently learning, I should be at a proper conversational level in about 3 months. This of course, is considering that I don’t slow down my pace.  Giving myself a deadline to reach a particular level in a definite amount of time is an effective way of staying motivated.

By learning Spanish, the value of my travels will heighten exponentially.  I’ll be able to meet far more persons than I ever could with only my English tongue.  Thankfully, I have two friends who are perfectly fluent, so when I feel as though I’m ready to step up a bit, I’ll begin to have regular conversations with them for practice.

I’ve been making a lot of progress, and not a day goes by without at least 3 hours of dedicated focus.  I’m aware that 3 months sounds like an impossible timeframe, but others have done it.  This guy at http://www.fluentin3months.com swears by it.  Thankfully, with my previous education, I know that I can pull it off.  Will keep you guys updated on my progress! Have a great weekend 😀

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About Jodi

I absolutely love to travel. Most days, it's hard to focus on anything else. However, I'd like to change my travel style from now on. I have always been a 'safe' traveler, with hotel reservations made, cruise vacations and a set timetable. I want to break out of that habit, and become an independent backpacker. This blog will serve to document my aspirations to experiment with traveling solo, around the world!

Posted on August 30, 2013, in Planning and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. I would highly reccomend keeping a video diary in Spanish. I’m in the same learning boat as you. I returned from a 3 month latin america trip August 1st to the US and since I’ve had to be proactive in practicing my Spanish,

    I started doing the video diaries about a week ago and it helps a lot. Just say whatever in it. It might feel a little strange at first but just go with it, great way to practice. I am pretty sure Benny from fluent in three months advocates it as well. Plus you can track your progress. Buena suerte con tus estudias!

    • Thanks a lot for reading and commenting! I haven’t given thought to creating video diaries, but I agree that it would be an interesting way to track my achievements. I’ll give it a shot! Where in Latin America did you go?

      • Colombia, Panama, and Guatemala. If you want to go to school for cheap, Guatemala has really good, cheap language schools. In terms of culture though, Colombia was the best imo.

  2. Spanish is the language I want to learn the most right now. I really can’t go to South America without being able to speak the language and it also happens that my best friend speaks Spanish fluently. So I have tons of reasons to start. 🙂 Keep up the spirit in learning Spanish!

    • Yes! I agree that you should learn Spanish even just for the sake of being able to get around efficiently in South America. That’s the very reason I’m making this effort. Hope you start soon! 😀

  3. Wow, good for you, Jodi! If you ever decide to learn French, je parle en peu de francais! I studied it in university and it helped a lot during my travels in France 🙂

  4. Reblogged this on travelpopjunk and commented:
    Great photo and entertaining post which I thought might be a good re-blog to save for myself. Thanks.

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