Wednesday, August 7, 2013

4 Great Keys to Breathe, Embrace, and Enjoy your Spanish Class!

You know the feeling!  You are on a roll, you are finally "getting it", and now you want to eat, sleep, and dream Spanish!  How do you do it?  Read on mi amigo and discover four key elements to living the bilingual dream!

Key 1  Start using your Spanish with your tutor or instructor in class!  Any  thought that you have, "What was that homework?", "When do we turn it in?"  anything that you normally would ask in English, now ask it in Spanish!  Not only will you be making them work for their money but you will also undoubtedly make their day :) But the real deal** the more that you do it, the more that you lose the translation process and really turn on the Spanish thought process.  (Yes, it sounds deep and it is deep!)

Key 2   Hmmm....This next one is definitely for the 21 and over crowd!  Go "Old School" and get a pen pal.  A couple of ways you can do this, either scour your own facebook, LinkedIn, or Pinterest etc. Probably the, and I say this loosely, "safest" way to find a pen pal.  After you find one, email, im, chat, video chat etc. at least once a week.  and here I put a huge disclaimer! This is just a suggestion and follow your intuition! If the person sounds weird....they probably are!

Key 3 This next Key is one that I get very excited about!  Investigate Spanish speaking conversation groups.  I have one called Café y Español that is attached to my Spanish Tutoring program.  Not a plug! because I am opening it up to basically any Spanish student who would like to sit in and converse.  So, I periodically gather group of students with a fluent moderator  together at a coffeehouse to discuss an amazingly interesting theme.  The best part is that always there is open discussion time when students can chat on anything as a group.   Where can you find other groups?  Check the Community section of your local paper, call your local college or even go online!  Again, there are so many out there, so choose one to stick with that you feel comfortable with. Key factor, speak Spanish!

Key 4  Now is the time to embrace the cultural side of Spanish.  This will only increase your adoration for this beautiful, rich language.  Check out Latino art exhibits in your area, heck, outside of your area works too! Latin Literature and Multicultural classes have always been my favorite go to learning arenas.  If you are local, Palomar College  usually has both of those classes.  She makes the classes come alive and they will stay with you for a lifetime!

Okay, there you are!  Breathe, Embrace, and Enjoy!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Accessing Your Inner Spanish Accent or...Sound as Good as You Look!

It's a fact...If you do not like the way you sound in Spanish you are not going to speak it...chances are even if a mouth watering churro is at stake!

So let's fix that right here, right now with some fabulous tips to accessing your inner Spanish accent.

Tip 1  Get a Tutor!  I know, I know, but again ten fold, ten fold!  But this time choose a tutor based on their accent.  If they don't sound melodic when they speak Spanish then they are not the tutor for this mission. Keep in mind, your tutor does not have to be a native speaker just one that has taken the time to actually master the accent.  So when you are what I like to call "proofing" a tutor, close your eyes and ask them to tell you why Spanish is the Language to learn!  If you don't feel as if you have suddenly transported to the incredible beaches of Playas then again, this is not the tutor for the mission!

Tip 2  Start to really practice the vibrant pronunciations of the alphabet, numbers, and vowels in Spanish. These are at the core and heart of mastering the accent in Spanish and are never given enough tutelage.  You know you are almost there when you can say the alphabet forward and backward!

Tip 3  Now you must absolutely, no questions asked, start to read aloud in Spanish!  Anything and everything you can get your hands...magazines (revistas), newspapers (periodicos), you're getting the picture, right?  But here is the key, you must choose things that you, yes you, like to read!  I know, right?!  I am pretty awesome with the tips!  Really, the reason is that you will not do it unless it is something you enjoy.  So, if you like People in English then definitely pick it up in Spanish! and it will also give you something to talk about with your new Spanish speaking friends!

Tip 4  Spend at least one or two hours a week with your tutor working with you on all of these fabulous tips.  Remember, if you are taking a class at school there is usually a free tutorial program available or  check out the local colleges and of course social media sites.  One last word, if you work with a Spanish speaking friend on these tips, make sure that they are correcting you each and every time you need it.  Otherwise it's just a chat session!!

Okay, there you have it!  Let me know how it goes!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Where to begin........

So, you've just been handed the southern region of Mexico from your sales director and congratulated on your promotion!  There's just one don't speak Spanish!  and sure you have a pretty generous budget but does it include having an interpreter travel with you all expenses paid? Interpreters aren't cheap, I know because I am one as well!
     Let's start with..It's going to be okay!  We are going to talk about a plan that works if you work with it.  There are four major "must dos" to getting off to a good start to becoming bilingual and in this fabulous blog I am going to let go of those four secrets because it has been a really good day!!!

1.  Connect with your local college/university/professional social media site, immediately..right now! and find out "who is who", in the Spanish tutoring/instruction world!  I recommend a private tutor, and yes I know there will be a cost but  the investment is what I like to call "ten fold"
You want a comprehensive tutor or instructor for one on one instruction which will accelerate your studies yet still give you a great foundation! 
2.Check out reviews, personal referrals, in other words make sure that your tutor/instructor is worth their weight in gold so to speak.  Make sure that the tutorial time that you both mutually arrange is going to work consisently. Find out what cancellation policies, rescheduling of classes etc. policies there are and that they work for you.
3. Start to live, eat,and sleep Spanish!!! So......the minute you get home from the office,flip on the Spanish language station and unwind to Camila (an amazing spanish speaking singing group) or Miguel Bose ( a voice like pure butter yet grounded!) It's super important to start familiarizing yourself with the beautiful tones of Spanish..the melodic accent.  This is vital because you will start to hear yourself take on those tones the more that you listen to them.  Watch for future blogs on accesing your inner Spanish accent!
4. Let everyone know that you are studying Spanish...and I mean everyone!  Word travels fast and in this case it is a good thing!  People who are already bilingual native or otherwise will love to help you practice!  It is quite fabulous! how the world becomes a much more friendlier place when you start your Spanish studies!

Well, that's it!  There are other important "must dos" but these top my list!  Trust me I have been doing this for twenty years! Tutoring, I mean not studying Spanish :) just wanted to clarify!!!!