Posts

My name is:

Aaron

My new level is:
A3
Approximately how much time do you dedicate to working on your Spanish outside of class?
20-30 minutes per day
On average, how many times per week do you take classes @ Pura Buena Onda?
1 group class per week
What role has Pura Buena Onda played in helping you improve your Spanish & advance to the next level?
Pura Buena Onda has helped me “get serious” about learning Spanish. I’ve played on language learning apps for many months, but PBO helped bridge the gap between knowing words and phrases and comprehension and conversation!
What are some of your favorite resources?
The SpanishDict app has been my rock for verb conjugations. I also enjoy listening to the Coffee Break Spanish podcast on my way to work.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
PBO has been the BEST way to practice speaking because it’s a judgement-free group of students on the same level. There is no fear of making mistakes and we have great conversations together!

Thank you Aaron!

¡Felicidades a Aaron por avanzar al nivel A3! ¡Bien hecho! We are so happy to have you in our online Spanish classes!

My name is:

Penny
My new level is:
C1
Approximately how much time do you dedicate to working on your Spanish outside of class?
I try to practice or listen to some Spanish every day, but the bulk of it is on Sundays when I lead our Spanish-language worship service and preach every other week.
On average, how many times per week do you take classes @ Pura Buena Onda?
Once
What role has Pura Buena Onda played in helping you improve your Spanish & advance to the next level?
PBO has been everything! Having the weekly class and the homework keeps me moving forward.
What are some of your favorite resources?
I enjoy the daily Facebook question, even if I don’t always write a response. Adri is an incredibly gifted and creative teacher, and the conversations in her class are very enriching. I listen to the Hoy Hablamos podcast regularly and watch occasional TV shows and TED talks.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I remember my first classes very clearly from 4 1/2 years ago: I was almost a total beginner and I was really scared to actually speak Spanish. Susana was my first teacher and she was very kind and patient. I am thrilled to have reached the advanced level. PBO offers exactly the kind of encouragement that adult learners need.

Thank you Penny!

¡Felicidades a Penny por avanzar al nivel C1! ¡Bien hecho! We are so happy to have you in our online Spanish classes!

My name is:

Paula 

My new level is:

A2

Approximately how much time do you dedicate to working on your Spanish outside of class?

I work about 30 minutes per day on homework and I try to think in Spanish as much as possible throughout the day.

On average, how many times per week do you take classes @ Pura Buena Onda?

I take classes once a week but more often would be better.

What role has Pura Buena Onda played in helping you improve your Spanish & advance to the next level?

I’ve spent many years learning grammar in a classroom setting and i knew that i needed more practice speaking. The teachers at PBO are amazing, they work together so well and provide feedback, and have helped me with my confidence to speak. So happy that my Spanish speaking ability is improving.

What are some of your favorite resources?

For fun I follow PBO on Instagram and now the blog, but mostly the teachers and fellow students are my favorite resources.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

Congrats on 13 years!! So glad i found you when I did!

 

Thank you Paula!

¡Felicidades a Paula por avanzar al nivel A2! ¡Bien hecho! We are so happy to have you in our online Spanish classes!

My name is:

Quan 

My new level is:

A2

Approximately how much time do you dedicate to working on your Spanish outside of class?

0

On average, how many times per week do you take classes @ Pura Buena Onda?

1

What role has Pura Buena Onda played in helping you improve your Spanish & advance to the next level?

Listening and responding to questions.

What are some of your favorite resources?

wordreference, google translate

 

Thank you Quan!

¡Felicidades a Quan por avanzar al nivel A2! ¡Bien hecho! We are so happy to have you in our online Spanish classes!

My name is:

Missy 

My new level is:

C1

Approximately how much time do you dedicate to working on your Spanish outside of class?

10-15 hours per week

On average, how many times per week do you take classes @ Pura Buena Onda?

Recently 2

What role has Pura Buena Onda played in helping you improve your Spanish & advance to the next level?

PBO has played the most important role in my journey. From the beginning, they made it more comfortable to start speaking which was the hardest part and from then on, everyone has been patient and encouraging along the way and has offered multiple different types of opportunities to improve. The teachers are incredible and the community that Caro has built is the best part. I have an amazing group of friends to learn and practice with because of PBO. 

What are some of your favorite resources?

I’ve been into listening to a lot of podcasts lately, I started with News In Slow Spanish a few years ago but now try to listen to Buenos Días America most weekdays. I also love No Hay Tos, Platicando, and Hoy Hablamos and have made it a recent goal to listen to all available episodes of Radioambulante. Netflix has so many good shows in Spanish (my favorites include La Casa de Papel, Gran Hotel, Las Chicas del Cable, El Internado, there are many more). The McGraw Hill books are great if you are a nerd like me. 

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

PBO has changed my life and I can’t thank them enough. I would never have imagined 4-5 years ago that I could now have a coherent conversation with someone in Spanish and love the process so much! 

Thank you Missy!

¡Felicidades a Missy por avanzar al nivel B2! ¡Bien hecho! We are so happy to have you in our online Spanish classes!

My name is:

Sean

My new level is:

B2

Approximately how much time do you dedicate to working on your Spanish outside of class?

~6 hours a week

On average, how many times per week do you take classes @ Pura Buena Onda?

1

What role has Pura Buena Onda played in helping you improve your Spanish & advance to the next level?

PBO is the main reason I have improved at all since I started learning Spanish

What are some of your favorite resources?

es.thefreedictionary.com, spanishdict.com, Youtube, Twitter, BBC Mundo, Yahoo Noticias en Español, Netflix, Books, Podcasts, Music

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

Incorporating Spanish into many aspects of my life has really helped me out. Instead of just setting aside “study” time for Spanish, I make it a part of my routines, so that more things that I hear, watch, and read are in Spanish and keep me learning about the language. 

Thank you Sean!

¡Felicidades a Sean por avanzar al nivel B2! ¡Bien hecho! We are so happy to have you in our online Spanish classes!

¡Hola a todo el mundo!

Did you know that every single day of the year Pura Buena Onda has an interactive question of the day? La conversación del día on Facebook is a fantastic way to practice your Spanish. Let’s look at five reasons why you may want to dedicate 5 minutes a day to this:

 

1 – Usually, students read and talk a lot in Spanish. Writing is another important skill, but we rarely practice it. With our question of the day, you can practice your Spanish writing skills.

FYI. There are 4 skills when it comes to learning a language: reading, speaking, writing and listening. Writing and speaking are what I call “active skills”. Those skills demand more from us. We need to use our brain and put sentences together. That’s why it’s good to write and speak in order to learn Spanish.

 

2 – You can do it every day or whenever you like. It’s not like a 60 or 90 minute class. You choose the time you want to spend with it. You can also choose the length of your text, or what you want to write.

 

3 – Writing is an active skill, but unlike speaking, you have more time; time to think how you put sentences together. You can look for words in the dictionary. You decide if you want an elaborated sentence or a simple one. It’s still an active skill, but not as demanding as speaking.

 

4 – A teacher will correct one or two mistakes on the following day. This will enable you to find mistakes that you often make. You’ll learn what you might need to work on in order to improve. Just make sure you answer la conversación del día on Facebook on the day it’s posted, if you want to be corrected.

 

5 – It’s a good way to make sure you’re practicing your Spanish even on the busiest day. You don’t need much time and you can do it on your phone. It’s easy and convenient, so you can turn it into a consistent habit.

 

Now that you know what you know, I hope that you will try to answer la conversación del día on our Facebook page. Let us know what you think about it :)

 

Have a good week and see you next time!

 

Octavi

Hola de nuevo, chicos y chicas:

How are you doing today? Have you been studying Spanish? Good for you!  Or should you NOT be studying in order to improve your Spanish???

If you are a beginner or lower intermediate student, yes, keep studying! But maybe you need to stop if you are an intermediate student trying to reach an advanced level, or an advanced student trying to become fluent. Why do I say this? Let’s find out in today’s blog.

The language learning journey begins…

When we start learning a language, we use many resources. We usually have books, we use apps like Duolingo, we listen to podcasts like Coffee Break Spanish, and we watch Youtube videos for language learners.

All those things are very useful. However, once you get to an upper intermediate/advanced level, it will not help you to advance.

Think about it: most of those resources and tools are aimed at beginners and intermediate students. If you are not a beginner or a low level intermediate student anymore, it’s not suited for you. At that point, you need to do something else. Otherwise, you end up being stuck in the same level for YEARS, potentially forever.

What do you have to do once you get to an upper intermediate level?

Should you NOT be studying in order to improve your Spanish???  Well, you kind of have to forget about studying Spanish. Yes, that’s right! When you get to that point, you shouldn’t learn Spanish in the traditional way. What you need to do is to incorporate the language into your life.

Incorporating Spanish in your life doesn’t mean more studying. What you need to do is to start living your life in Spanish. How do you do that?

Instead of reading books on HOW to learn Spanish, you read books IN Spanish. Don’t to Podcasts that TEACH Spanish, listen to podcasts for Spanish speakers. Instead of watching Youtube videos about grammar, follow youtubers that do their videos in Spanish for a Spanish speaking audience.

So basically you have to ditch the student mentality and make Spanish a part of your everyday life. Read the news in Spanish, watch TV in Spanish, Listen to Spanish-language radio stations…live your life in Spanish everyday like a native speaker would. You should NOT be studying in order to improve your Spanish!

Have a good week and see you soon!

Octavi

Hola queridos alumnos y alumnas:

Today I’d like to talk about a very important underestimated language learning skill.

Drum roll please…can you guess? It is L I S T E N I N G!

In my experience, people who like to talk a lot, but don’t listen, need to spend more time improving their listening skills when learning a language. When someone listens to other students, they learn new vocabulary and new expressions. If they don’t listen, they just hear words, but don’t stop for a second and think: “I didn’t know that word!” or “That expression is very useful!” You need to take that moment to input that new information in your brain. Also, write it down if possible. Learning to speak is incredibly important, but remember that conversations go two ways, not one.

There is another issue that comes up with students who don’t see the tremendous value in listening.  When corrected by the teacher, some students just nod and say: “Yes, right”, and then keep talking without focusing on the correction. What happens when we do that is that we keep making the same mistakes over and over again. If you want to sound better/more polished when speaking Spanish, remember to stop and take the time to repeat the correction; then you can move on with the conversation. You can study grammar until you’re blue in the face, but if you don’t learn to use it when you’re speaking, you will not improve. Listening, the most underestimated language learning skill, will help you improve your grammar more than you know.

Personal tips:

  • When someone says a word or uses a grammar structure that I don’t know, something I do is to try to use it immediately after. For example, if we are talking about things we did last night, and someone says: “justo después de llegar a casa me fui a dormir” (Just after getting home I went to sleep), and I didn’t know the expression “justo después de”, I would wait until the person has finished talking and then say: “Yo llamé a mi esposo justo después de salir del trabajo” (I called my husband just after leaving from work). It’s good to use the expression we learned at that moment, for practice. If you’re not listening to others, you may never learn these expressions.
  • We can also practice the underestimated language learning skill of listening, by watching TV shows in Spanish, by listening to a podcast, or listening to other students when we are in Spanish class. That is very helpful, but you have to remember one thing: don’t get frustrated and give up when you can’t understand everything. You will not understand everything, especially if you’re watching a TV show with fast dialogues full of slang, or listening to a podcast for native speakers about complicated subjects. Still now, after learning English since I was 8 years old, there are parts of TV shows and movies in English that I don’t understand, and it’s ok. If I hadn’t practiced listening for years, my comprehension skills would not be as developed as they are, and I would understand much less than I do.
  • If you have less opportunity to speak during class one day, maybe you’re learning a lot from others that day.
  • Don’t listen to things that are way beyond your level. That’s not going to help!

 

Alright, everyone; I hope this blog will help you. Have a great week, and maybe try listening extra hard this week!

Octavi

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!

Octavi