If you are thinking about moving abroad to Ecuador (like I did) or to another Spanish speaking country, you might as well as jump into the cultural richness.
However, I highly recommend doing some sessions with an awesome local tutor before you arrive to make that landing even smoother both linguistically and culturally.
“With just English, my life would be 20% of the richness that I have had.” – Tim Ferriss, Best-Selling Author
Learned By Me is an online language tutoring company that connects top Ecuadorian Spanish teachers with students for $15 one-on-one Spanish lessons over Skype. I am the country director for Learned By Me in Ecuador.
Our tutors often put together custom culturally rich curriculums to help new expats have a smoother arrival – both with the language and the culture.
6 Tips For Learning Spanish Quickly
Here are my 6 tips about how to get the most out of your tutoring sessions!
- Learn the basic phrases: Whether you are a Spanish pro or not, being able to say hello, how are you, I’ll take a canelazo, thanks (that’s a local drink here), etc. will go far in making your new country feel more like home.
- Learn about where you want to spend time: Arriving in a new country is an amazing opportunity, but it is also overwhelming trying to start a life with so many service providers and new friends pulling you in different directions. Use your Spanish lessons as an un-intrusive way to learn what you want about your new home from a local friend. Our tutors have repeatedly given me great tips about galleries, restaurants, and hikes I never would have known about otherwise.
- Develop the vocabulary you want to use: Just because you studied Spanish in school in academic setting doesn’t mean you are practiced speaking about the topics you really enjoy, especially culturally. I am a big food lover and cook, so it would have been a blessing to spend a few sessions with a tutor learning about the local dishes, styles of cooking, as well as things to avoid. (Otherwise, you’ll learn but it will be the hard way!)
- Get your first set of dumb questions out of the way: Part of the fun about being an expat in a new place is the slack you get for being clueless. (I remember repeated failed business lunches with my American coworker who didn’t understand that lunch at restaurants in Quito doesn’t start at noon.) However, being clueless can also be exhausting. Ask your tutor everything you are anxious or curious about – our tutors truly see themselves as local ambassadors and enjoy this process.
- Learn the local narrative: Newspapers are great but they often are more focused on news events than understanding the issues and content that are really engaging the people of the country. Your tutor is an incredible resource for getting you ready to speak about everything
- Make a lot of mistakes: Speaking a language that you didn’t grow up using is always challenging. The sooner you get comfortable and have fun making mistakes, trying new culturally appropriate words, and being outgoing about all of it – the more fun you’ll have when you get here.
Author Bio: Michelle is a North American expat living in Quito, where she works as the Country Director for Learned By Me.
She enjoys exploring outdoor markets and experimenting with local foods.