If you are thinking of learning a new language, it’s time to start! Not only will you expand your knowledge and will get to practice a different part of your brain that you may not be using on a daily basis, but you can also add a new skill on your resume that can open doors.

If you are already working in a workplace where many employees speak Spanish as their mother tongue or understand Spanish well, knowing some Spanish can make you feel included if these employees decide to talk in Spanish amongst themselves instead of English.

For those of you living in the city of Philadelphia and are thinking of taking a Spanish class or two at a school or college near you, you are reading the right resource! Below are some of the ways you can find these learning resources near you from private tutors to program courses and study groups for languages, as well as some tips and tricks that you can use to help you accelerate your learning progress as a dedicated student.

Is Spanish the Right Language for You?

Perhaps you have just made up your mind to pick up a foreign language, or if you already know some Spanish and have made it goal to become fluent in the language, understand that mastering a language is not exactly easy even with the help of a teacher or a tutor. It requires a lot of time and dedication before you can become fully fluent or reach your desired level of comprehension. That’s why it’s important to understand why you are learning Spanish in the first place as your time is finite and precious.

Consider these other reasons why Spanish is the right language for you.

Make New Friends

Living in the United States, you may find a large Latino population in or around your neighborhood. In fact, Latinos are one of the fastest-growing populations in the United States. Though English may be the country’s most commonly spoken language, many Latinos in the U.S. come from Spanish-speaking households. Studying Spanish on your help or with the support of dedicated teachers and private tutors may help you get to know your neighbors and make new friends.

two girls sitting down talking
Photo by Trung Thanh on Unsplash

Connect to a New Community

If you are not born with Spanish as your mother tongue, you may not have the same connection with those who grew up speaking Spanish. Yet with Spanish being the second most spoken language in the U.S. You’re bound to run into someone who speaks a lot of Spanish or is very involved in the Spanish community. Gaining fluency means you will get a chance to connect with these people.

Improve Your Brain Health

Brain health is important to avoid having memory issues later on in your life and to avoid illnesses such as dementia. But did you know that learning a second language can help your mind stay sharp for longer? In fact, several studies have shown that being bilingual or learning a new language can improve your cognitive skills and improve your brain health.

Getting a Spanish Education in Philadelphia

Founded in 1682, Philadelphia is one of the oldest cities in the United States and today it is the fifth most populous city in the country. Living in this populous city, you are bound to run into native Spanish speakers during your day-to-day life. If you are interested in picking up some Spanish skills to connect with the local Spanish community, or if you are looking to buff up your resume or just to learn for fun, we have some resources for you!

In such a large city, you have many resources available to learn Spanish in Philadelphia such as tutors and schools. If you are looking for a community of learners to support your progress, consider enrolling in a university or college course near you in Philadelphia to keep yourself on track and enjoy structured lessons. Here are some ways you can find Spanish courses near your neighbourhood.

Word of Mouth

Using word of mouth can give you many recommendations when it comes to looking for a Spanish school near you. As a starting point, try talking to representatives from these Spanish courses and schools or ask to speak to teachers who teach at the school. If you are able to locate actual students who have attended the school in the past or are still attending the school now, it may be worth it to speak to them as well to get a real impression of what it is like to attend a their Spanish school.

If you are not sure where to start looking for Spanish course recommendations near you, consider sharing your goals or wishes to improve your Spanish to everyone you know around you. Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations directly so that those around you who have taken Spanish courses can share their experiences with taking Spanish lessons.

Online Spanish Education Resources

If you don’t know a lot of people because you are new to Philadelphia, or if there are nobody in your immediate friend and family circle who have taken Spanish courses, try joining a Spanish learners in Philadelphia group on Facebook where you can ask fellow students for Spanish course recommendations.

Boy staring at laptop concentrated
Photo by Wes Hicks on Unsplash

Living in the digital age means you also have access to a vast amount of resources online via the internet. Digital platforms such as Superprof now exist to help many Spanish learners to connect with qualified Spanish teachers and schools to meet your needs.

Other digital resources include websites and forums run by your local public library. These public forums and posts will have advertisements from local and online classes which may also include postings from Spanish language schools near you.

Aspects of Learning Spanish

Before you can become fluent in any language, you need to build enough vocabulary as words are the foundation blocks of any language. Also, know that some words occur more frequently in Spanish than others, so to save some time and reach your desired skill level in Spanish faster, consider focusing your attention on these frequently-occurring words.

After you have mastered a vocabulary list of frequently occurring words, you can move on to phrases and short sentences. You can pick up these bits and pieces of phrases from children’s books or T.V. shows. Overtime, you will learn enough to string along these words and phrases into complete sentences.

Of course, another important aspect to remember is to not be afraid of making mistakes! As long the basic order of your words and phrases make sense, you are good to go! Don’t get too caught up in having the correct grammar in your sentence structure, as you will be more afraid of making a mistake. The more you practice with what you already know, the more comfortable your experience will be.

Tips for Your Spanish Learning Journey

If you are getting frustrated in your Spanish studying or tutoring progress, understand that mastering any language can take years - even decades. Rome was not built in one day and neither are your Spanish language skills, so it’s best to be patient and to set small but achievable goals for yourself. Your four areas of focus should be reading, listening, speaking, and writing when it comes to mastering a new language.

For your Spanish reading skills, you can easily make improvements by making a regular habit of reading Spanish magazines, newspapers, and publications whether in print or online. If your reading levels are not high enough to understand these publications, you can switch to children’s short story books or consider hiring a tutor to help you start. If your reading levels are highly advanced, consider reading feature-length articles or investigative journalist pieces as well as literature pieces from famous writers like Gabriel García Márquez.

For the listening portion, you can use audiobooks or Spanish podcasts. You may struggle a lot in the beginning, so don’t get discouraged if you are having a difficult time understanding each sentence. A trick you can do is to play the recordings at half their normal speed and gradually speed things up as you become better at listening in Spanish.

Practising your Spanish speaking can be quite difficult in the beginning, as it takes courage and you need to be unafraid of making mistakes in front of other Spanish speakers. To get yourself to feel more comfortable, try talking into a recording device first and then playing it back to yourself so you can perfect your pronunciation. If you are interested in practising with real people, you can find language practice partners everywhere from your Spanish school or online.

Two girls sitting at a table talking
Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

As for practising your writing skills in Spanish, a great tip is to start off writing to-do lists or grocery lists. This way you can practice the basic spelling of words and become familiar with them on a daily basis. Once you become more fluent in the language, you can move on to writing journal entries that record what you do daily or to note down your complex thoughts and feelings.

No matter what methods you use to improve your Spanish skills, it’s important to find ways to incorporate your education in your everyday life. And one last thing, don’t forget to have fun! Language learning can be challenging at times but the end results are also highly satisfying, so go out and start today!

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Former high-school tutor with a passion for science and technology, I now work in the software industry and enjoy reading and learning about all kinds of topics.