Learning Spanish by yourself can be a fun hobby that has big rewards.
You have a nice addition to your resume, confidence from achieving a goal, and you can communicate with more people around the world. That will come in handy when traveling.
What options do you have if you’re in a place where there aren’t that many Spanish speakers or classes available to learn Spanish?
It is possible to learn Spanish on your own. Want to find out how?
Keep reading for the top 5 ways you can learn Spanish by yourself.
Set a Goal and a Time to Study
As you start any endeavor, you need to set a goal. Learning Spanish is no exception.
A study by researchers at the University of Nebraska shows that the combination of persistence and goal setting helps language learners immensely.
How can you set goals? I talked about setting SMART goals in my 90 Day Challenge to learn Spanish.
The key to goal setting is to be specific. It’s not a good idea to say “I want to learn Spanish in 3 months.” It does help to break up the language learning process in stages.
For example, you can set a goal to know 500 vocabulary words in 60 days. You can also set a goal to have a basic conversation in 30 days.
Once you set a goal, you need to nail down the persistence part of the success equation. That means scheduling time for yourself to study.
You might find that an hour a day works well for you. If an entire hour is difficult to cram into your schedule, try two 30 minute sessions a day.
Focus on Grammar and Vocabulary
Studying Spanish by yourself can be challenging if you don’t know what to focus on. An easy place to start is by starting with grammar and vocabulary.
For vocabulary, I highly recommend using visual flash cards. You want to have pictures to relate to, instead of words.
If you use flash cards with only words on the front and back, you’re teach yourself to translate Spanish, instead of internalizing Spanish.
For grammar, it’s best to study with a book. It might take a few books to find the right one for you, especially if you haven’t studied grammar since the 4th grade. From my personal experience, I tried different books and found them some of them to be dry.
Start with a basic grammar book like Just Enough Spanish Grammar Illustrated by Gabrielle Stobbe. It was a very easy book to digest to review grammar concepts and learn Spanish grammar.
Then you can move on to more challenging grammar books. Pick books that have grammar and sentence structure exercises.
That will help you learn verb conjugation faster.
Watch a Lot of TV & Film
Do you have Netflix? If so, that’s a great start.
You can start with your favorite movies that you know by heart.
I’m a huge Star Wars fan. I’ve seen the movies so many times, I know most of the lines by heart. I watched it in Spanish with Spanish subtitles on. That helped me make the connection between certain words and phrases between English and Spanish.
"Que la fuerza te acompañe."
Are you drawn to one Spanish speaking country over another? If so, learn how Spanish is spoke in that country by watching TV shows in that area.
Most public TV stations have websites with TV shows available to watch.
You can also subscribe to a streaming service such as Sling TV, which features channels from Spain and Latin America.
Talk to Yourself
The one drawback to learning Spanish by yourself is that you have no one to talk to for feedback. The next thing you know, you could be thrown into a situation where you have to speak Spanish.
If you’ve never had a conversation before, then you could be overwhelmed and frustrated. The pace of Spanish being spoken will probably be faster than you’re used to hearing.
Then you have to make the connection between the words in your head and your mouth. That can be a tough ask when you’re on the spot.
There are a couple of ways to prepare yourself for those situations when you’re learning on your own.
The first is to talk to yourself. It may seem silly, but this is a form of visualization, which has been proven to speed up language learning.
Seriously, put yourself in situations where you’re having conversations with people.
What are they saying to you?
Be sure to respond out loud so you can make the connection between your mind and mouth.
There’s an App for That
The most challenging aspect of learning Spanish by yourself is speaking it.
It helps to start to learn by reading about Spanish pronunciation and how it differs from English.
You can visualize conversations and have conversations with yourself, but how will you know that your pronunciation is good if no one is listening?
That’s where an app like Speechling comes in because you learn pronunciation by getting feedback from a native language coach.
With Speechling and other language apps, you can get the feedback you need to learn proper pronunciation.
Learning Spanish by Yourself is Entirely up to You
When you start to learn Spanish by yourself, remember that it’s a process.
I was talking to a friend who’s trying to learn English. He said when he puts his mind to something like learning a language, he does it.
You need that level of persistence to learn Spanish by yourself.
It’s not impossible by any means. With the right tools at your disposal and a little extra motivation, you can learn in no time.
What motivates you to learn Spanish on your own?