Four ways to learn Spanish on your way to work

Learn languages January 12, 2023

It’s common and understandable to view the time of your daily commute as “wasted hours”, but you can turn this time into anything you want! One amazing way to make this time worthwhile is to improve your Spanish skills! Read on to find out how you can learn Spanish on your way to work.

1. Create a game plan and stop the scrolling

You’re stuck to a seat on public transport, your car, or the confines of your daily walk – it’s normal to want to fill that time with entertainment like music, a book or even a movie.

There’s a way to turn this time into a productive part of your learning schedule, but to achieve this, you need to plan your time wisely. 

If you’re already taking language lessons, planning simply involves checking out what you’ll be studying in class that week and shaping your personal study schedule around this. A great way to do this is to approach the general overview of your classroom topic in the morning and then go over what you learned in class in the evening. You’ll be impressing your teacher and saving yourself some time when you get home!

If you’re not already taking language classes, the best way to plan your commute-learning is to make your own curriculum. Divide your weeks into different aspects of your target language, such as one week of listening practice, one week of reading practice, one week of writing and one week of speaking – and you’ll see that your hours of commuting are not “wasted” anymore!

2. Language learning apps and audio lessons

So, now you have plenty of newfound time for language learning – all you need to find is an effective way to fill it!

Luckily, you’re not alone in your quest. Plenty of students have been looking for convenient language learning methods. With the internet, you have a literal world of engaging, easy-to-use, and free language learning resources available at the click of your mouse! 

Here are some resources that you can put to good use during your daily commute:

  • Language learning apps: for quick, fun, free lessons for listening, reading, writing, and sometimes speaking, if you’re quiet enough! 
  • Spanish-learning podcasts – there are several podcasts on Spotify that provide basic and intermediate listening lessons.
  • Spanish books – for as long as students have learned Spanish, books have been available to help them learn both reading and writing!

Overall, all of these resources function similarly to in-class lessons, but you don’t need a teacher or classroom to make use of them!

3. “Organic” sources 

While dedicated language-learning resources are a great tool for your studies, they sometimes can lack a certain authentic touch. Because example texts are “artificially” created with the sole intention of teaching, you may not get some of the more nuanced aspects of Spanish that you can only gain from living the language. 

This issue is not exclusive to commute learning – in fact, most language teachers will also face this issue in their classes. So, how do they solve it? 

Most language schools will use a mix of dedicated language-learning resources and organic sources (e.g. texts aimed at native speakers). These sources will require you to already have at least a basic command of Spanish, but once you’ve got the hang of it, they can be both extremely useful and genuinely entertaining! Here are some of our favourites:  

  • Spanish fiction books: normally, these provide the best mix between helpful vocabulary and entertaining subject matter – all of which you can explore at your own speed
  • Spanish-speaking podcasts: there are tons on Spotify! Simply pick a topic you’re interested in and find a Spanish channel that corresponds
  • Spanish music:  this is a great way to learn colourful metaphors and interesting phrases to spice up your vocabulary
  • Spanish kids shows:  this is the perfect beginner option for you to start on simple concepts and vocabulary in a cute, simple package.
  • Spanish news and radio: if kids’ shows are “beginner” difficulty, this is the “expert” difficulty. As Spanish-speaking newscasters are notoriously fast speakers, it provides a worthy challenge for those who are brave enough.

All of these sources are great ways to boost your vocabulary, but they also give you a perspective on what you’re learning and how you can use it in your day-to-day life.

4. An online language course (for public transport only!) 

While free resources provide a great overview of your target language, they can only get you so far in the long term! At some point, you’ll need to find a full language course with a professionally created curriculum to fill all the gaps and continue your education to the highest levels! 

While classroom learning is out of the question during your commute (unless you plan to carpool with your teacher!) There are plenty of online language courses for you to choose from.

While these courses should really only be taken if your commute only involves you sitting (e.g. public transport or carpooling) they’re a great way to turn those hours on the bus or train into an actual certificate!

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By Christopher Robinson

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