The Fun, Easy Way to Learn Spanish From Home
Let me start by saying that I have no natural aptitude for languages. I’m a 59-year-old retired police detective who still has vivid memories of trying, and failing miserably, to learn French in high school. But once I retired, my wife and I thought we’d like to travel to warmer climes during the bitterly cold winters here in my native Canada. And it occurred to me that actually being able to talk with the local people might be a huge benefit. So, I decided to try and learn Spanish.
About a year ago, I was reading my copy of International Living magazine and I found out about Warren Hardy’s system to help people learn Spanish, either at his school in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico or through his online course. Since we’re in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, the online option made the most sense for me.
Now I should point out that by this time in my life, I had tried Duolingo, Rosetta Stone, and a lot of YouTube videos. I’d even worked with a Mexican tutor three to four days a week on Skype for three months. But nothing has helped me more than Warren’s online classes.
With this program, you simply log on and you have his entire course available to you through a series of approximately 20-minute videos, as well as downloadable and printable copies of worksheets. The one thing about this course that stands out in comparison to all the other ones I’ve tried, is that it seems to be geared to the, shall we say, mature student.
Like I said earlier, I have a 59-year-old brain and it doesn’t respond well to grammar tests or long vocabulary drills. Luckily, Warren’s system doesn’t use this traditional approach.
Instead, Warren starts out teaching you what he refers to as the power verbs. They’re the ones you really need to know, such as want, like, have, and need. They’re the building blocks of a functional learning experience. And as you progress through his courses, you learn the multiple tenses and forms of speaking Spanish, all in easy-to-understand videos.
The program is also really encouraging. When I finished with level two, I thought I needed to take a short break, but I was so inspired by Warren’s last two videos in the series, it truly lit a fire inside me and I jumped back in and started on levels three and four.
There are a couple of videos of Warren’s that have really stood out to me. His short videos on social protocol and how to have good relations through Spanish showed me that not only does he want to help you speak the language, he wants you to fit into and understand the rich culture of Mexico. And I love the comical videos of Warren’s alter ego, the tequila-drinking, Panama hat-wearing Don Juan de La Boca.
Over the last year, Warren’s videos have helped me advance so much that I’ve joined two Spanish conversation groups in my area and my confidence for learning the language is at an all-time high.
Yes, there are days where I walk away thinking “I’m never going to get this,” but by the next day I’m back at it and ready to try again. That’s a tribute to the accessibility and fun of Warren’s program. It’s just so nice to start the day by hearing Warren say “Buenos días amigos, bienvenidos a la clase.” (Good morning friends and welcome to the class.)
I think we can all agree that there’s nothing good about this pandemic, but if there is one tiny silver living, it’s that it has given me the time and motivation to learn this language. All I need to do now is get through a few more months and I’ll be able to apply all that I’ve learned on my exciting travels overseas.
By Jamie Grant