Category: Spanish Language

10 Ways to Practice your Spanish Before You Study Abroad

I definitely made the mistake of studying abroad without having brushed up on some very out of date high school Spanish. My host family brought me into the living room, chattering away and asking basic questions while I stared back at them with my mouth open. It was several days before things started coming back to me and I was able to get through basic conversations. Whether you have some Spanish under your belt or are starting out with nothing, there are hundreds of ways to start practicing before you come. Learning basic greetings, how to count to 10, how...

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My favorite Spanish word is: “¡Vale!” “Vale” was the first new word I learned when I arrived in Barcelona. You traditionally won’t hear it in other Spanish-speaking countries. It is exclusively indicative of Spain. At first, I thought the word was “bale” because it sounds similar to the English word “ballet,” but that’s just wrong. Its literal translation is “okay.” “Vale” could also mean: “sure,” “yes,” “I understand,” “I agree,” “Do you understand?” or any other use of the English “okay” as a statement or interrogative. Someone told me that it could also mean “whatever,” but that’s only when...

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Four Favorite Phrases to Use in Barcelona

Maybe you’re somewhere between beginner and bilingual; whatever your language affinity with Spanish, here are the five sentences I have found most useful during my internship in Spain this summer and why they work well. ¿Dondé está el metro? I’ll admit I’ve gotten lost more than once in this colorful metropolis. Unlike the U.S., there are no street signs to tell you what avenue you are on or crossing at every corner. Instead, street names are written on inconspicuous plaques posted on buildings. Without a careful eye, they can be easy to miss and difficult to get used to...

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Can you Learn Spanish in Barcelona? ABSOLUTELY!

Barcelona is a multicultural city with two official languages: Catalan and Castilian Spanish.  As an organization that focuses solely on Barcelona, we often are asked “Can you learn Spanish in Barcelona?” by advisors, faculty, parents, and students.  Our answer?  ABSOLUTELY! With that said, I’d like to share with you a letter from Dr. Carolyn Nadeau, a Spanish professor at Illinois Wesleyan University.  Dr. Nadeau has led faculty-led semester programs with Barcelona SAE for the past two years. By Dr. Carolyn Nadeau, Illinois Wesleyan University I too had my reservations about learning Spanish in Barcelona (and the fact that I am at heart a...

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