Of course, you will be studying Spanish during your classes at Salamanca University, but you may be wondering how you can supplement this by learning outside of the classroom. Being in Salamanca will provide you with the opportunity to apply your Spanish in all sorts of real-life situations.
Before arriving in Salamanca, it may be a good idea to buy a pocket-size Spanish vocabulary book or download a Spanish dictionary app onto your phone. Carrying a small notebook is also helpful for when you want to jot down any words and phrases you pick up whilst out and about that you wish to remember or look up later.
Out and about
When staying abroad, almost every single daily activity, no matter how mundane, presents itself as an occasion to practice the language. Whether dining out in one of Salamanca’s many restaurants and cafés, buying food at the supermarket or purchasing souvenirs, you will be required to read Spanish menus and labels, decipher phrases and interact with waiters and shop assistants. By starting off small, say with something as simple as ordering a drink, asking for the price of a specific item or where a particular food is located is an effective way of getting to grips with speaking the language, improving your accent and, most importantly, building up your confidence.
Keep an eye out for adverts in shops and restaurants or on notice boards that publicize language exchange nights. Usually, certain establishments arrange nights where foreigners and Spaniards that wish to practice foreign languages can get together, in order to spend time speaking both their native tongues. This is a great way to improve your Spanish with a native speaker, as well as make Spanish friends. You could also look online for a language exchange partner, below are some useful websites specifically for Salamanca to get you started:
My Language Exchange:
Open Language Exchange:
A fun way to socialize whilst learning Spanish is by watching a film. Listening to Spanish helps you to pick up the accent, as well as allowing you to get accustomed to the speed of spoken Spanish. Don’t worry if you don’t understand much- although the visual should help you to grasp the general gist of the plot.
- Cine Calderón - Peñaranda de Bracamonte (Calle Cerrajeros, 2)
- Cine Juventud - Ciudad Rodrigo (Calle Campo de San Vicente)
- Megarama Salamanca - (Plaza de la Estación, Centro Comercial Vialia)
- Cine Van Dyck - (Plaza Doctor Torres Villaroel, 40)
Make a real effort to immerse yourself in Spanish- watch television in Spanish, listen to Spanish radio stations, pick up a Spanish newspaper and download Spanish music onto your iPod. Strike up a conversation with the person sat next to you on the bus, with the taxi driver or with the shop assistant. It’s a great way to pick up colloquial Spanish, too.
A good tip is to look up phrases and words beforehand- for example, if you know you are going to go shopping, look up useful relevant vocabulary beforehand and practice some typical phrases. Language learning depends on how much you yourself put in to the process- the students that make the most progress during their time spent studying in Salamanca are the ones that make a genuine effort to immerse themselves in the language.