self study spanish

How to make the most of your spare time self-studying Spanish

So you started learning Spanish but can’t come to classes. Don’t worry there are lots of self-study options to ensure that you keep learning and don’t lose your hard earned vocabulary. The trick is to find a method that you find fun, and schedule some time for it every day. Perhaps 20 minutes of Spanish every morning as you drink you morning coffee – what a way to start the day.

So we asked our friendly Barclay professors what were the top 5 Spanish learning resources to help students self-study from the comfort of their own home.

5. Podcasts

Podcasts are fun, are educational, and very convenient as we can listen to then while we are literally doing anything else. We revised and chose the best ones based on their similarities with the communicative approach we use at Barclays So check out:

They all come together with exercises, glossaries, lists of idioms, tests, and many other learning resources that will help you learn faster.

And a final advice: Do not be scared of listening even if you don’t understand everything – you will be surprised how much your subconscious is absorbing and almost like magic one day you will start using words you didn’t know you had learnt.

4. Apps

There are no doubts Apps are one of the most convenient and highly used resources to learn languages. Just as podcasts, modern language learning Apps provide comprehensive practice opportunities in one single learning space. Plus, they are interactive, challenging and fun!

There are tons of great apps for learning Spanish. However, we chose these three based on their neat and simple layouts and the extra practice chances they provide including lists of vocabulary, idioms & slangs, and tests to self-evaluate progress.

So, if you decide to go for it check either your Play or Apple store for:

These three have very unique approaches. Duolingo, for instance, is like a social media, you get to post your questions, there are free short stories to learn, you see your rank in comparison with other users and you get a great chance to practice grammar and vocabulary. Fluent U focuses on videos, ads and real life situations to improve listening and speaking skills and Memrise is perfect for adding more words to your vocabulary.

3. Songs!

We all love music!  Songs have the power to stick in our minds like nothing else does; therefore, listening to songs we love or we know is a great way to start learning Spanish. While listening to songs our brain starts decoding the words and its concepts.

The list of songs that can be used for learning Spanish is huge and it keeps growing every moment. However, it is best to start with songs that are familiar, and that have a clear pronunciation. As a starting point you can try very famous songs such as:

  • La Macarena
  • Living la Vida Loca
  • Bailando

Once again, remember it is ok not to understand 100% of the song, the coolest part is that you can always look for the lyrics online. Check , this is a great site to find the transcripts of your favorite Spanish songs and they even take requests for providing those that are not initially available.

Also if you are a lover of the contagious rhythms of the Caribbean do not forget to try Cuban Music – check out music by Decemer Bueno, Van Van and Habana de Primera.

2. Studying Grammar

Practicing grammar is usually one of the most intimidating tasks in the process of learning a language. We are not going to lie to you: studying Spanish Grammar will not be a bed of roses, and it might need a little bit of old –school approach.

Whereas we totally recommend you to make the upmost of technologies, getting to fully understand grammar may need you to sit for a while with a book and a notebook. Again, how to do it depends entirely on what kind of learner you are, but if you are feeling clueless you may start by:

  • Online Summaries: There are plenty of summaries online to help you learning prepositions, nouns, and the uses of most parts of the speech. One we like is
  • Notebooks to track what you are learning: There is nothing better than making your own interpretation and summary of a content. And… A friendly advice: Keep a notebook solely for the nous and their corresponding genders. You will need it!
  • Books: It is time to download a Spanish book onto that ipad / kindle of yours. Try a famous novel like Don Quitote!

1. One-on-one online lessons

If you really feel like you want to rocket charge your learning, there is no better way to do it than one-on-one conversations with natives.

At Barclay we have just introduced on-line classes with our famous Cuban professors. We can adjust the class to your level and your learning interests and best of all you don’t even need to get out of your pajamas to have a Spanish lesson. To schedule your lesson just send us an email or visit our website at

Whatever method you choose, remember to choose one that is fun for you. Learning a language is a marathon and so it is important you enjoy the journey.