Whilst the study of Spanish might seem intuitive there are a number of common mistakes that often hold back even the best students.
1. Frustration at the inability to communicate from the very first class.
Of course you want to be talking fluently from day one, but relax, speaking spanish takes time. Congratulate yourself for small steps like asking the time or introducing yourself. You need to be patient with yourself and accept that there is a learning process that works.
2. Overdependence on technology
Whilst looking up every word in your ipad might seem like a good idea, you are probably missing the context that the teacher is trying to give you. Most Spanish classes throw lots of new words every class at their students – it is not necessary to understand all of them in that moment, it is just to get your ear used to hearing them.
3. Forgetting to do your homework
The brain needs constant repetition and practice, a once a day class unfortunately is not enough. So take a Spanish book to bed or just practice with a friend over some drinks and you will be supercharging your learning in no time.
4. Thinking in your native language
We all do it, but to be a fluent speaker you need to stop translating sentences from your home country and instead embrace phases in Spanish. Your Spanish will be more natural and you will learn faster (though it will be harder to start with)
5. Being a classroom Spanish speaker
Sometimes a lack of confidence means students speak Spanish only in the presence of the teacher or in the academic environment. Throw caution to the wind, accept you are going to make mistakes, and use your Spanish everywhere you go. In the street, at the hairdressers or speaking to your dog!
Finally, it is only with continuous practice, without the fear of making mistakes, that you will dominate the study of Spanish.