Esta semana, la tarea opcional es escribir una lista con 5 cosas que hiciste en 2018 y 5 cosas que no hiciste en 2018. Por ejemplo:

  • El año pasado viajé a Seattle
  • El año pasado no fui al gimnasio

Para los que les interese hacer más tarea: Empiecen con el capítulo 13 “The preterite tense” en Spanish Verb Tenses de la serie Practice Makes Perfect de McGraw-Hill. Por favor, lean las páginas 109 a 113 y hagan los ejercicios 13.1 a 13.3.

Por favor, háblame en español

¿Cómo están, estimados alumnos y alumnas?

This week we got the inspiration for the blog “Por favor, háblame en español” from one of our students. During class, this student was sharing with everyone how frustrating it is when all the people talk to him in English when he tries to speak Spanish in Mexico. I’ve heard similar stories from several students in some of my classes too. I completely understand the frustration students experience, and let me tell you, it happens to me too!

Sometimes I say something in Spanish to people who are speaking in Spanish, and they look at me as if they had seen an alien. Most of the time they look bewildered and hesitate before choosing a language in which to reply to me.  I would say that 80% of the time they choose English. Then they compliment me with this: your Spanish is really good! Usually I just say that I’m from Spain and then they switch back to Spanish before I have to say “Por favor, háblame en español.”

I had the same experience when I was living in South Korea, so I found a way to make Koreans talk to me in Korean.  I also came up with a trick or two in case my method didn’t work.

First, I made sure that the first sentences I would say before addressing someone were as grammatically correct as possible. Then I tried to pronounce them very well. I chose simple sentences, in that way I was able to say them pretty past, with confidence and with good pronunciation. I think it worked because Koreans couldn’t hear any English accent in my Korean, so they thought that I either spoke Korean so well that they could use Korean with me, or that I wasn’t an English speaker.

My method usually worked, but in some cases I got answers in English. What did I do then? I used one of my few tricks. Trick number 1 consisted of saying (in Korean): Sorry, I’m from Spain and I don’t speak English. ¿Do you speak Spanish? I used that trick for 5 years and nobody ever said they spoke Spanish, so they did not keep using English; except once or twice.

I remember a man who worked at the snack bar of a cinema I used to go to. He was very stubborn, and always talked to me in English, even though I kept speaking to him in Korean. That was the kind of situation where I used trick number 2. This trick consists of saying that you are a Spanish (it was Korean for me) student and that your assignment is to speak with a native speaker for 5 or 10 minutes. I love trick number two because people almost never refuse to help you. You can usually practice and ask questions freely, knowing they won’t switch to English.

I would also like to say that this is the perfect time to announce that the Pura Buena Onda pins are coming soon! Have you seen them on our Instagram or Facebook page? They say: “Por favor, háblame en español, soy estudiante de Pura Buena Onda”. What a great idea, right (thank you Jean E. for suggesting it!!)!? Now, when you wear the pin, people will see it and they will be more prone to talk to you in Spanish. They might even strike up a conversation in Spanish with you before you know it!

Muy bien, chicos y chicas. As always, I hope my little method and couple of tricks work for you. Give them a try, they always worked for me ;)

See you next week! ¡Nos vemos la próxima semana!


Cada semana les daremos una tarea opcional.  Si quieren mejorar de manera más rápida, les recomendamos hacerla.  

Esta semana la tarea es hacer una lista de sus metas con el español para este año, cómo las van a alcanzar, y luego van a grabarlo.  La próxima semana van a compartir sus metas con la clase.

También les vamos a pedir que escojan 3 temas de los que les gustaría hablar este año.  Tenemos un documento donde pueden anotar sus temas: 3 temas de conversación

Para los que les interese hacer más tarea: El libro de gramática que les recomendamos este año es la tercera edición de Spanish Verb Tenses de la serie Practice Makes Perfect de McGraw-Hill. Esta semana lo pueden comprar y la siguiente semana empezaremos. Lo pueden encontrar en Barnes & Noble y Amazon.

Spanish students: Ready to get back on track and learn faster?

¡Hola a todos y a todas!

PBO is open again! Yay!!! How has the first week of 2019 in PBO been for you? Did you miss taking classes with us? Was it hard to start speaking Spanish again after 4 weeks of no classes? It’s always a little hard to speak a language after long periods of not using it, right? Well, for those of you who want to be back on track, and for those others who want to learn Spanish faster, here are some tips:

1 – Many of you take notes during class. That’s very good! However, do you ever review those notes after class? Or later? I encourage you to take a look at the things you wrote after the class is over, or when you get home. Besides, it is also good to read the notes you took during the last several classes right before the beginning of your next class. It will help your brain get ready for Spanish and the things you’ve been writing down that you reviewed will come back to you more easily during class.

2 – You probably know that we have many events at PBO, like the Buena Onda Social Club events. Make sure you participate in those social gatherings, because they provide an additional chance to practice your Spanish, and to get to know other students and teachers. Remember, the key to learning a language is: talking (and listening)! (Our next event is on 2/2 – please check the newsletter for details)

3 – Do you participate in the PBO’s facebook question of the day? Every single day of the year we offer you a chance to write in Spanish, which allows you to improve your vocabulary and writing skills. The best part of it is that the following day, one of the teachers from PBO will correct your comment, so you’ll be able to learn from your mistakes. It only takes some minutes to write something, just try it! Also, it’s free. Participate in La conversación del día!

4 – A language is a very complex system of elements. Many of our students focus on the grammar and the vocabulary, but there’s one thing that will make you sound much more natural when speaking any language: expressions and idioms. Several times per week we publish idioms or expressions on Twitter. Make sure to check them out and learn something funny and useful that will help you take your Spanish to the next level. Follow us on Twitter!

5 – You can also learn faster by doing the optional homework assignment that we have for you as part of the weekly PBO lesson. It is clearly optional, but throughout the years we’ve seen how the students who do the optional homework improve faster than the ones that don’t do it. Any extra work you do is going to be very rewarding in the long run, so do your homework, even if it’s not every week! The homework will be reviewed in class every week and will also be posted right here in the blog on Saturdays for the following week.

6 – Talk to people in Spanish. San Diego is full of Spanish speakers, and they tend to be very nice and kind. Tell them that you’re learning Spanish and that you’d like for them to speak to you in Spanish a little bit. I know it’s hard to approach strangers and talk to them in another language, but remember that Spanish speakers who live here know very well how it feels having to use another language they don’t master to communicate with people, so they will never make fun of you because of your Spanish, quite the opposite, they will appreciate the fact that you’re learning their language. Plus, our new “Háblame en español” pins will be here soon, which should help!

7 – Listen to the radio in Spanish. Again, we live in San Diego, so you can tune to a Spanish language radio station and listen to it when you drive to work or when you go somewhere else in your car. Songs in Spanish are great, but don’t forget to pick some shows where they talk, or the news. You don’t need to understand everything, just get used to the normal speed in which native speakers talk, and to the fact that we don’t always understand all that is being said, and that’s ok too, as a big part of learning a language is being comfortable with being a bit uncomfortable!

Alright, these were some tips on how to improve your Spanish skills faster. I myself use most of them for the languages I learn, and they have helped me, so hopefully these tips will help you too in your Spanish language journey. I hope you have found these ideas interesting!

Nos vemos la próxima semana,


Please tell us what conversation topics you would like to chat about in class this year!

They should be conversation topics, not grammar topics. For example: Your neighborhood, your childhood, immigration, local news, what you like to do on the weekends, your favorite sport, the wall, etc.

Gracias :)