¡Hola a todos los alumnos de PBO!

Today, the journey continues! This time, I’ll give you some tips on how to advance to Spanish level A3. Let’s see what will help you getting there:

You need to increase your fluidity to be in A3.

How do you achieve this?

1 – Speak, speak, speak and speak some more Spanish.

You can start talking to yourself in Spanish. It might be weird at first, but you’ll get used to being a weirdo, for the benefit of your language skills :)

Put yourself out there and have short conversations with Spanish speakers. This will get you used to the way native speakers talk.

Listen to podcasts or audiobooks. Once you are done, give a summary of what you’ve heard out loud. (News in slow Spanish for example, is a fantastic podcast)


Avoiding using English 99.99% of the time

Not using English is a key ingredient in the how to advance to Spanish level A3 journey. How do you accomplish this?

1 – Make sure you are constantly learning vocabulary. There’s plenty of apps, youtube videos and web sites for that. Also, take hand-written notes in class (there are many studies that say it is more effective for learning than typing notes).

2 – Very important! Be a master of description. This skill is super important, not only in class, but also out in the real world (a lot of Spanish speakers don’t speak English).

3 – Choose words that enable you to communicate. Don’t try to say in Spanish exactly what you would like to say in English. Use simple concepts and general words (for example, don’t say oak tree or pine, just say tree).


Use the past tenses in your speech

How do you achieve this?

1 – You need to work on the preterit tense and the imperfect tense. These two past tenses are used constantly when talking in the past. Use them as much as you can. Also, pay attention to how they are used in class. Preterite vs Imperfect in Spanish

2 – Learn the easiest of the past tenses, and use it as often as possible: the present perfect. Spanish – Present Perfect of the Indicative

3 –  Work more on your comprehension by listening to anything you can get in Spanish. The radio, Netflix shows, podcasts, etc. Pay special attention to the use of the past tenses.

I hope these recommendations give you some ideas on how to advance to Spanish level A3. Next week we will continue the journey through levels!


Que disfruten de su fin de semana :)


La tarea opcional de esta semana es escribir cosas que han hecho recientemente. Les recomendamos que también hablen de otras personas, para practicar las conjugaciones. Por ejemplo:

Recientemente he empezado a hablar con mi familia todos los días.

Recientemente mi amiga ha tenido una hija.


Para los que les interese hacer más tarea: continúen con el capítulo 17 “The present perfect tense” en Spanish Verb Tenses de la serie Practice Makes Perfect de McGraw-Hill. Por favor, lean la páginas 182 y hagan los ejercicios 17.2 a 17.4

La tarea opcional de esta semana es escribir una lista de 5 experiencias interesantes o nuevas que has tenido en tu vida, usando el presente perfecto. Por ejemplo:

He estado en un templo lleno de monos en Tailandia.

He vivido en casa de mis tíos en París.


Para los que les interese hacer más tarea: Empiecen el capítulo 17 “The present perfect tense” en Spanish Verb Tenses de la serie Practice Makes Perfect de McGraw-Hill. Por favor, lean las páginas 179 y 180, y hagan el ejercicio 17.1

¡Hola, alumnos fabulosos!


This week I’m going to start a series of mini-blogs. In these blogs, you’ll find out what you need to work on to move up a level.


In each one, I’ll tell you 3 things you need to do to achieve that. Today, we’ll look at how to move up from A1 to A2.


1 – To be in A2, you need to avoid using English at least 90% of the time.

How do you achieve this? There are a few ways:

a) Learn more vocabulary (by reading, writing, taking notes in class, etc.)

b) Become a master of description (“What do you call that thing that you use when,” etc.), and

c) Keep your sentences short and to the point. Do not attempt to tell complicated stories in level A1/A2.


2 – You should be able to have a short interaction with your teacher. You will know you are ready when the teacher asks you 2 or 3 things in Spanish to follow up on whatever you said, and you understand him/her, and can answer in Spanish without checking your notes. Basically, in level A2 you should be able to start having basic back and forth interactions without having to write it all out first.

How do you achieve this? Make sure that you’re participating in class, and not giving up when you’re not sure how to say something. Use the words you know, work around the ones you don’t, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.


3 – Another thing you need to work on to move up a level is your present tense conjugations, and have the past tenses on your radar.

How do you achieve this?  You can do this organically by paying attention when your verb tenses are corrected in class, or you can do it by studying it (This is a good resource: Present Tense (Spanish Dict)

One more thing: the fastest way to move from level A1 to level A2 is simply to do your daily homework, that should take 10-15 minutes a day. If you do this every single day, you will move up a level in no time.


I hope this advice helps you in your first steps of the Spanish journey! A2 students, be ready for next week. I’ll be sharing with you how to move up to level A3 :).


Que pasen un buen fin de semana,


Carolina & Octavi

Hola a todos mis queridos alumnos y alumnas:

Have you ever asked yourself why you continue to learn Spanish? I think everyone questions their motivation at some point; it’s pretty normal.

It’s personal

Today’s blog is about something special to me. When we learn a new language, and many times in life, we question why we are doing what we are doing. We falter, we lose direction, and we wonder if it’s worth it.

I’ve come across many students who tell me they feel discouraged in the process of learning Spanish. People who tell me that they feel as if they are not improving. Naturally, in those moments we might feel like giving up.

Don’t lose hope, my friends! Here are some reasons to remind you why you continue to learn Spanish:


A new language is the door to a new world. You’re not only learning words. You learn a vision of the world. It gives you a new perspective. You learn terms that don’t exist in your own language, to describe things for which there might not be a word in English.

You get to understand the mentality of the native speakers of the language, that is reflected in and influenced by the language. By learning Spanish, you’re immersing yourself in multiple cultures across the world. Isn’t that fascinating?

Since we mentioned people and cultures, remember that Spanish allows you to communicate with around 500.000.000 people in the world. How awesome is that? Besides, don’t you love talking to people in their own language? I always thought it was very rewarding and consider it an excellent reason to continue to learn Spanish.


Spanish speakers tend to be encouraging by expressing how impressed they are when they hear you speak Spanish. Take it as a reason to keep learning.

Enjoy the journey

Remember it’s not about getting to the finish line. You will always learn Spanish, there’s no end to it. Even I keep learning new Spanish words every day! So, if a native speaker keeps learning Spanish, don’t feel like you need to know it all or that you’re lacking something.

The beauty of it is in the journey, the little victories and satisfactions. For example, when you learn a new word that becomes super useful, or when you realized that you have gone up a level or improved within your current level. That is a great reason to continue to learn Spanish!

Just enjoy being able to speak in another language every time you do it. Like the way people enjoy exercising because of how it makes them feel (and learning a language is very much like exercising; it’s something that will always be a part of your life).

Your brain

Another reason why to continue learning Spanish (any language really) is that it’s a fantastic method to keep your brain sharp and young. It helps prevent and delay Alzheimer’s and dementia. Spanish is good for your health too!

Your job

Apart from all of the reasons listed above, it’s being required more and more in the work place, especially in Southern California.


Never forget how amazing it is that you can communicate in another language. I will share with you something that Carolina posted in PBO’s Instagram a few days ago. It is truly inspirational:

“Imagine if you decided you were going to pick up golf in your 30s, and you got to the point where you could keep up in a game with professional players. You’d think that’s actually really good. But for some reason, just being able to keep up in language feels not as impressive.”

It should be just as impressive to ourselves. We are learning an entire new language!!! That is impressive people!


Alright, everybody; this is it for today. I hope you found some motivation in the above lines to keep you excited about continuing to learn Spanish. Let us know what you think about it in the comments section, on Facebook’s PBO page.


¡Les deseo una buena semana!


La tarea opcional de esta semana es escribir una lista de 5 cosas que siempre has querido hacer, y que nunca has hecho. Las frases pueden empezar con “Siempre he querido…” o “Por muchos años he querido…”, etc.

  • Por ejemplo: Siempre he querido aprender a bailar el tango – o – En los últimos años he querido estudiar en Italia por un mes.

La próxima semana les vamos a pedir que compartan sus sueños son nosotros :)

Para los que les interese hacer más tarea: Terminen el capítulo 9 “Irregular verb groups” en Spanish Verb Tenses de la serie Practice Makes Perfect de McGraw-Hill. Por favor, lean las páginas 82 – 85 y hagan los ejercicios 9.11 a 9.13.

La tarea opcional de esta semana es escribir entre 3 y 5 preguntas de conversación. Luego pónganse el botón de PBO (“Hábleme en español”) y pídanle a 3 hispanohablantes si les pueden hacer las preguntas. Y si les dejan, graben las conversaciones en sus móviles.

Pueden pedirlo a un amigo, un compañero de trabajo, un familiar o a alguien que oigan en la calle que hable español.

Por favor, preparen entre 3 y 5 preguntas y hagan las mismas preguntas a las 3 personas que elijan.

La próxima semana les vamos a pedir que compartan las conversaciones con la clase. ¡Qué entrete!


Para los que les interese hacer más tarea: Continúen el capítulo 9 “Irregular verb groups” en Spanish Verb Tenses de la serie Practice Makes Perfect de McGraw-Hill. Por favor, lean las páginas 79 – 81 y hagan los ejercicios 9.7 a 9.10.

Hola de nuevo, chicos y chicas:

In this new blog entry, I’ll give you 5 reasons to participate in PBO’s workshops. Have you ever been to one? Maybe not? Let’s see why you should come:

1 – Have you ever noticed that it takes a bit of time to get into the rhythm of speaking Spanish when you get to class? Some students say that halfway through class they finally get in their groove. Well, PBO Workshops are longer than a regular class. Allowing yourself to immerse yourself in the Spanish language for a longer period of time, is always beneficial.

2 – PBO’s mission has always been to create a fun, relaxed, un-intimidating environment in which to become comfortable speaking Spanish. And I believe that we do that exceptionally well; but sometimes students want to learn more about a particular subject. Workshops are more academic than an event or a class. If you’ve ever been curious about one particular subject, and want to explore it in depth, a workshop is the perfect place to do so.

3 – Another of the 5 reasons to participate in PBO’s workshops is that whatever the topic, you will learn a lot of new vocabulary and/or grammar. And who doesn’t want to learn more vocab & grammar??

4 – We usually have two kinds of workshops. We have the ones related to culture and the Hispanic world, and the ones related to grammar. Those two things are covered in our regular classes, but not in depth. Whatever your interests, we’ve got a workshop for you!

5 – They say it takes 10,000 hours of doing something to become an expert. Adding in a few workshops (and possibly immersion weekends) per year will help you reach expert level at a faster pace, while learning about more about one particular subject, and meeting new friends with a shared interest.

Those are my 5 reasons to participate in PBO’s workshops. If you have attended a PBO workshop before, let everybody know about your experience! You can always leave a comment in the comment section on Facebook.

Have an amazing week!