Our students on Spanishviaskype.com ask us for tips to speak Spanish during summer. How can I improve my Spanish speaking skills if I travel to Spain on holidays? Well, the answer might seem simple: mix yourself with locals and just speak Spanish.
Actually, this is not always so easy to accomplish. Either for our shyness, or for locals’ impatience, it can be hard to strike up a conversation in Spanish. In addition to this, Spaniards try to take advantage of tourists in order to practice English. So, today we’ll give you some tips to speak Spanish during Summer and not to speak English trying it.
1. Choose your prey to speak Spanish
If you are strolling along the street, ‘choose your prey’. He or she needs not to be in a hurry, playing with a cellular or talking with someone else. A retiree sitting on a bench should be fine, unless you don’t want to spend all the morning listening to his or her stories; a middle-aged person carrying shopping bags and watching a shop window can be another option. Try to avoid very young people (they might be shyer than you), other tourists (tall, blonde and red-faced people with a camera are good evidences of their condition) and workers (they are wishing to finish their workday rather than helping you improve your Spanish level).
2. Make contact in Spanish
Search for some excuses to Speak Spanish with ‘your prey’. The easiest topic is to ask for directions.
–Disculpe, señor, estoy perdido. ¿Puede decirme cómo llegar a la catedral?
–Claro, siga esa calle y coja la segunda a la derecha. La catedral está al final de la calle.
–Muchas gracias. ¿Me puede aconsejar otros lugares típicos de la ciudad? ¿Dónde puedo comer comida típica?
You just need an excuse to start. Then, if the other people is receptive, ask them about their opinion about the monuments, the food, the weather…, it doesn’t matter the topic, just make them speak. Their advises about restaurants, shops and nightlife are always better than official guides. They know the cheapest and most traditional places, just because they live there!
3. Pretend not to know how to speak English
If you didn’t choose ‘the proper prey’, that person might reply you in English. This is a critical moment; if you give in, the local will know your weakness and he or she will always try to persuade you to continue the conversation in English. How to solve this problem? Easy, you don’t even know a word in English. Invent your nationality; try to avoid Romance languages, because here, we can find people who speak French, Portuguese, Italian and, nowadays, German, too.
–Perdone, señora, ¿puede recomendarme un restaurante tradicional, por favor?
–Yes, sure. Go straight…
–Perdón, no hablo inglés. ¿Habla usted esloveno?
–Ufff, no. Mejor se lo digo en español, ¿vale?
4. Choose a non-crowded place to speak more Spanish
If these tips to speaking Spanish in Spain do not work for you, we have a very good backup plan. Choose a non-crowded place to stay. Madrid is amazing: tons of monuments, museums and events… but tons of people from all around the world, too. If you stop somebody in the street, you have many options to find a foreigner.
What if you try a small place this time? We have beautiful towns in the mountains, quiet rural houses next to natural swimming pools and charming ‘white villages’ next to the beach. In a village with less than 1,000 thousand people, we guarantee you that you will need to speak Spanish to survive.
I’m from Extremadura, a rural region in the west of Spain. If you come here as a tourist, you will have found a local person that would never use English with you!
5. Leave your shyness at home
It’s the last of our tips to speak Spanish during summer in Spain, but it’s also the most important. Don’t be shy. Well, we know that shyness is a character trait. However, we don’t mean you have to change your personality, just pretend to be outgoing during your stay here. Probably, nobody knows you in Spain and you will never see those people again in the future. Don’t care about what they think about you, your Spanish level, your clothes or personality. Just speak with them in Spanish. If they refuse to do it, don’t worry, as we say in Spanish ‘a rey muerto, rey puesto´ (the king is dead, long live the king!); look for another prey.
In conclusion, what is the easiest way to learn Spanish? Very easy, try our Spanish for different levels lessons on Spanishviaskype.com. After some months, you will be able to travel to our country and put in practice all our tips to speak Spanish in Spain!