Perspective Collective is an ongoing series of articles that aims to widen the lens of language learning by highlighting the approaches and ideas of successful language learners across the globe.
I’ve invited several language bloggers who I admire to answer the following six questions. It is my pleasure to feature the following contribution from Toby from Travels With Toby.
Tobyo lives in the twin cities area of Minneapolis/St. Paul with her husband, daughter and two cats. Her passion is Spain and the Spanish language. She has a degree in Spanish but has worked with numbers her entire career either in an accounting role or as a financial analyst. She and her husband fell in love with Málaga Spain when they visited in 2010 and are planning to retire there. Once there she plans to teach English, travel and work on her blog. Until then she’s saving all her pennies for the big move to Spain! You can find her blog here: www.travelswithtoby.wordpress.com
What languages do you know?
English is my native tongue. Spanish is the second language I know best. I’ve studied French and Italian as well and can understand them a bit.
What languages are you learning?
Even though I began learning Spanish in junior high, I call myself a lifelong learner of Spanish. So, I’m still learning Spanish. When I move to Spain I hope to learn Portuguese.
What is your language learning style?
This is an interesting one for me. I first started learning Spanish in junior high as previously mentioned. I continued through high school and then in college I decided to make it my major. I loved it and enjoyed it and I am the proud owner of a Spanish degree – that I basically did nothing with sadly. I’ve worked in accounting/financial analyst positions pretty much since leaving college. I did not keep up my Spanish for most of that time. Then we were planning a trip to Spain in 2010 and I felt it was my duty to be the guide/translator for my family so I started studying a couple of years prior to our trip. I got myself a couple of pen pals and I made sure I read something in Spanish every day. Right now I continue to try and read something in Spanish every day and then I discovered the RNE (Radio Nacional de España) app for my phone. Every night I listen to the radio direct from Spain! And I understand most of what they’re saying. I recently discovered a Spanish conversation group and I had planned to attend weekly but other things have taken priority at the moment. I do plan to go back in the near future so that I can practice my speaking skills as well.
What approaches / methods do you use?
How do you stay motivated?
My husband and I hope to retire to southern Spain in about 5-6 years. And since he doesn’t know Spanish (yet!) I feel I need to be nearly fluent by that time. It’s really not terribly difficult to keep me motivated as I love the language so much. I follow several Spanish blogs as well and have even made a few friends so it helps to stay in touch with these new friends via their blogs.
What is your advice to language learners just getting started?
Find something that works for you. Everyone learns things differently so what works for me may not work for you. I loved going to class at the time I was taking classes. I now love the app for my phone. There are so many resources on the web to help people learn all kinds of languages. I created a page on my blog of resources that I have found over the years to learn Spanish. If anyone is interested, please click on the link. Once you find something that works for you, stick with it. Learning a language is not something that happens overnight. Indeed, I have studied Spanish most of my life and I still don’t know it all! If you are serious about learning a language, make a commitment to study a certain number of hours each week. And make sure that you practice it. Find a conversation group or a one on one exchange. When I was a student in Madrid a lot of us had intercambios. We would meet up with a Spaniard who was learning English and we’d spend time speaking in each language. It’s a great way to practice and I highly recommend it. Of course you need to be living in the country where your language of choice is spoken. I would love to find an intercambio here in the U.S. I did come across Interpals where you can converse via skype, however, I haven’t found anyone to converse with just yet.
Would you like to be a part of the Perspective Collective on Language Boat? Email your answers to the six questions above to email@example.com. Thanks for being a contributing member in the Language Boat community! Show your love by subscribing to the blog. Thanks for reading!
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