¡Hola, amigos! I am now self-studying to broaden my knowledge about the Spanish language, particularly conversational Spanish. I am taking a pause from my formal classes to test myself and to save some money.
What I did first was to memorize the three important prayers for Catholics— The Lord´s Prayer, Hail Mary and Glory Be to the Father. I recite these prayers every day but in English, so I had to research for the Spanish version on the Internet and found it easily. It took me some days before it became a part of my system. What I mean by that is; to pray firm in Spanish with less as possible ¨uhmm¨ or pauses.
To discover new words, I read the dictionary or stories in Spanish. Then I mentally translate each sentence. If I am not sure, I check out online translators. If I feel playful, I do vocabulary games. I use both Duolingo and Memrise for this purpose. But I have ended up using Memrise most because I can observe that the prompters are pronouncing the words well.
The internet is also a rich source of Telecourses. From Youtube videos to bloggers´ websites, many telecourses can be downloaded for free. I have to check them well because I want to get the most credible ones. It may be a small matter but I also check the dates of the courses because I want updated resources.
When my eyes are sensitive, I turn to podcast listening. There are many online and it´s very relaxing for me. My brain seems less distracted and it makes me attentive to the audio lessons. Afterwards, I chat with Spanish people and observe how they respond. I often ask for tips and corrections from them. From time to time, I check my grammar notes which I have summarized for guidance before I practice with them.
For relaxation, I listen to Spanish songs and I am taking note of the pronunciation. My favourite is Color Esperanza by Diego Torres. I found it on Youtube with lyrics that I can sing along. As a member of many language forums as well as social networking sites, I easily find Spanish newsfeeds and I read them. When I have a lot of time, I watch movies with English subtitles and sometimes I remove the subtitles trying to understand as much as I can.
I also have the tendency to talk to myself in Spanish. But only when I am alone 🙂 Anyway, I vary my activities based on whatever I feel like doing in a day. I spend a minimum of two hours for these. The two levels of Spanish I took at the University helped me a lot to swim alone in deeper waters. It may appear very difficult in the beginning, but if there is a will, there´s a way. And I am trying the best I can to find what works for me.