The Best Way to Learn Spanish: From Beginner to Conversational!

  • The importance of having a process for learning a language
  • The 5 steps of learning to move to conversational
  • The best free tools out there to help you master a language

The importance of having a process for learning a language

Madrid skyline
  • It is realistic: Don’t plan to spend 3 hours a day every day learning vocabulary. I promise you, it’s not going to happen. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself to learn too much too quickly otherwise you may lose some of the fun.
  • It is varied: Like above, if you have a chunk of time available to learn then attempt to do a number of different activities. You would be pretty annoyed if you had paid for a language class and the teacher hadn’t prepared an effective lesson plan. You are your own teacher. Keep yourself stimulated.
  • It is progressive: The activities you’ll need to do in the first few weeks will be different to the ones required after 3–4 months. You don’t need to plan your progression exactly; you don’t know what you’ll need to learn at any given time. But you should look to keep the plan flexible and open in order for it to be effective while not becoming restrictive.

The 5 steps of learning to move to conversational

Cordoba bridge

1. Learn the basics in a fun way

2. Build your vocabulary

Setenil de las Bodegas

3. Study your grammar

Segovia aqueduct

4. Get your ‘ear in’

Plaza de España
  • Kerapido — Some good informal language courses
  • iVoox — Loads of Spanish podcasts and audiobooks
  • Lengalia — 30 minute episodes about different Spanish speaking places
  • Ecos del Balon — a football (soccer) podcast
  • HistoCast — History but in Spanish
  • Coffee Break Spanish — Very beginner stuff and not native speakers, but good conversational materials
  • Nadie sabe nada — Two Spanish comedians talk about topics sent in by the audience
  • ERA Magazine — Spanish language Indie music podcast
  • Mi Vida Loca — BBC miniseries for learners aimed at beginners

5. Practice your conversation

Ronda bridge
Idyoma app screens

The key tools to help you on your way

Guggenheim Bilbao
  • Duolingo: Great for starting off. An absolute beginner can use it and take themselves up to being ready for a language exchange. So many languages available.
  • Memrise: Like Duolingo as it’s for everyone. It uses a slightly different teaching style to Duolingo and certain users prefer its approach. I really like their mobile app.
  • Italki: If you want to hire a teacher online then check them out. You can get professional teachers or community teachers, so there is a price point for everyone. Excellent way to get classes online.
  • Idyoma: Language exchange app which shows you users nearby you who you can meet with and practice with in real life. It’s super valuable to learn languages through speaking and listening. With Idyoma you can meet native speakers and learn from them.
  • Meetup: Idyoma is great for one on one language exchanges, and it does have group chat functionality, but if you want to meet big groups of learners at group exchanges then check out Meetup. There are regular language exchanges in most cities.




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Adam Henshall

Adam Henshall

Manage content at, mkt&ops at, and you can subscribe to my email newsletter at

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