A good portion of people throughout the world are practicing social distancing or distanciamiento social to slow the spread of COVID-19 or corona virus. This mostly means that we are staying home as much as possible. But what can you do with all this time not only to feel productive, but also to keep a sane mind? In this post, I give some examples of creative ways you can practice Spanish while maintaining distancia social.
Aprende algo nuevo!
Working on your Spanish doesn’t mean you should only work on grammar and learn new vocabulary. If you feel comfortable with the level you have, how about trying a new skill in that language. I recently took up piano and I take my classes in Dutch. I am not only learning to play the piano, but for the same price of the piano class, I am constantly practicing the language.
The inspiration of this post came from all the videos circulating of people in Italy and Spain getting together (with distance) to play music or to dance the macarena. This is why I am starting con un instrumento musical. If you have always wanted to play guitar, and you have in your house or know someone who can lend you a guitar, the video below is a great way to start. What I liked about it is that he starts by explaining the different parts of the guitarra like las cuerdas, la caja, la boca, el puente, el brazo o mango, las clavijas. He also explains the postura correcta or the posture you should have when playing.
My whole life I have seen my grandmother spend hours entertained knitting or tejiendo. She has been doing this since she was young and has developed incredible skill. More importantly, she enjoys doing it. Staying indoors means that you can finally get to that chunky blanket you have been wanting to make or perhaps you want to make a spring sweater for when we can finally go out. I liked the video below because she speaks at a good pace and shows you paso a paso or step by step. You can order your materials online and start practicing.
Staying indoors means that we are getting little or no ejercicio and this next tip will not only entertain you but keep you fit in case you have been eating too many galletas while watching Netflix. My next sugerencia is for you to learn a style of dancing. Part of knowing a language is knowing the culture and dancing is such an important part of Spanish-speaking countries. The video I selected teaches basic salsa steps, but you can look for videos for flamenco, tango, bachata, cumbia or any other dance you have ever wanted to learn. Once you learn some steps, you can just put on some music and start a solo dance party at home. The advantage of this new skill is that there is no additional equipment needed.
If you are sharing a home with several people and you need to mentally get away, audiobooks or audiolibros are a great way to do it. You just need some headphones and a comfy place to sit or lay. You can choose to start easy with a short story like El Principito or perhaps with something you are familiar with like Harry Potter. You can also take on the challenge and start with something completely new. There are several apps and major book sellers with countless of audiobook options. I also found several on YouTube that you can access for free. In the video below, you can hear Cien Años de Soledad by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, but there are countless options.
Clases de Español en Linea
If you want to take this time to really dive deep into a language, the best way is to start or retake classes. Transparent Language have several tools, some free and some that require payment, that will help you further your Spanish. You can check out old blog posts that cover grammar. For this, I highly suggest any post by Laura who comes up with some pretty unique listening blog posts, Anais who takes turns writing grammar and cultural posts, or Sasha who writes about his journey learning Spanish. You can also sign up to receive the word of the day on your email, and then make it a point to use it X times throughout the day. Meal times might be the easiest. If you are alone, try writing a short paragraph using the word X times. This can be in a cuento or story, diario or journal, or just your old fashioned sentences. My two cents on the sentences is try to make the sentence as realistic as possible. For example, the word of the day while I write this post is pescar. My sentences could be about my friend Sam who likes to go fishing (true story, I have a friend Sam who goes fishing a lot!).
If you want something more structured to learn Spanish, you can try out Transparent’s monthly or yearly programs. If you live in the US and have a library card, check with your local library if they have a subscription to Transparent!
What are other creative ways to improve and practice your Spanish during distanciamiento social? You can find more ideas and share what you are doing using the #yomequedoencasa or #istayhome.
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