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How a Canadian Kid Learned Spanish in Ecuador (Process and Tools)

Posted in: Cuenca Ecuador, Ecuador Travel, Language Learning, Living in Ecuador, Traveling Kids

We have been here in Ecuador for over 4 years. And now I know Spanish pretty well.

  • But what is it like to learn a new language?
  • What do you have to overcome?
  • And how can you do this?

In  this post I will answer these and some other important questions.

What is it like to learn a new language?

Honestly, it is kind of hard.

But when you are a child… like most of you are, it isn’t as hard as when you are an adult. To be completely fluent in a language, you have to know that language from the age of 5 or younger. I am above that mark, I was 8 years old when I started to learn Spanish. But, at that age and up, you still have a pretty good chance :).

Before we moved to Ecuador, I took a children’s course for learning Spanish. It really helped me because it was fun and easy. It wasn’t just boring repetition.

It was built like a mystery with kids from the USA that had to go to Mexico to find a buried treasure.

As they searched for the treasure they had to learn more and more Spanish. It was a fun adventure!! It is called Powerglide Spanish.

I also found Standard Deviants helpful because they are funny and not based on memorization. There is a Basics and Beyond and a Advanced Verb dvd.


What did I have to overcome?

Mostly my own fear. I had a really hard time speaking at first.

For about 3 long months I didn’t say anything in Spanish! But all at once, I started talking. It felt pretty good! But what got me through those 3 months?? My puppy of course!!!!!!!! We got her only a month after we arrived and she became my super puppy!!!


Her name is Chica

How did I do it?

Here is a small list of how to make things easier, it worked for me!

  1. Take easy spanish lessons
  2. Start talking
  3. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes
  4. Ask for help
  5. Be kind to everyone. Even if they don’t understand you, they will appreciate that you are nice to them because they know how you feel about them.

If you do this it makes things a lot easier! Trust me!! 😉

My experience

When we got here and everyone was speaking Spanish, I felt a little overwhelmed. All I heard was gibberish. I couldn’t understand a word. But little by little, I began to understand, and speak, Spanish. Now, people here tell me that I speak like I’m from Cuenca!! (in Cuenca people have a distinctive accent, they kind of sing their words).

Now I feel comfortable speaking the language! So if you are learning a new language, don’t give up! I’m sure that you will be able to learn it!! 😀 (but don’t worry… I still make mistakes :))

Google Translate is Awesome!

There is one more thing you should know. If you are traveling you will probably use Google Translate. While this can be helpful, it is not always accurate.

Here is an example: Have you ever heard the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song? Probably. Here is the best parody of the song… put through Google Translate!!!!!!!!! cdza Fresh Prince Google Translated. Enjoy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So I hope that you will take on the challenge and try to learn a new language. Life in another country is so much richer when you know the language!! Until next time and happy travels!!

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Meet the Author

Drew Haines is an animal enthusiast, travel writer, and content marketer. She loves to share her passion through her writing. She is the founder and owner of EverywhereWild Media, EverywhereWild, and co-founder and owner of JustBirding. She also writes on GringosAbroad and Storyteller Travel. She lived in Ecuador for 6 years and explored the Galapagos Islands. Currently based in N.S., Canada.

3 comments… add one
  • Larry Jan 6, 2014, 7:34 pm

    Good job, it does take lots of practice. I am trying different courses.

  • John Humphreys Dec 29, 2013, 1:58 pm

    Hi Drew; I like the way you explained about not to worry about mistakesw,When I first went to germany, I tried to learn but could not get t6he language strait so I started to freqent a little Sporst cafe once a week where nobody spoke english, and you know just like you said, if people realize you are seriouse about learning they will help you even if they laugh at your blunders
    Great Job
    Love Big John

  • Becky Dec 25, 2013, 10:20 am

    Excellent job, Drew. I have to tell you that your list of how to make things easier (how you did it!) is a very mature way to look at this challenge. If everyone who was learning a new language followed that advice, they would do well. Thanks for your great tips. We can tell they come from experience. Hugs, Beckens.

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