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:

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:

Jenna
My new level is:
B1
Approximately how much time do you dedicate to working on your Spanish outside of class?
30 minutes to one hour daily
On average, how many times per week do you take classes @ Pura Buena Onda?
One
What role has Pura Buena Onda played in helping you improve your Spanish & advance to the next level?
PBO has helped me immensely! The classes have given me the confidence to speak more and to practice with my Spanish-speaking friends. All the teachers are so helpful and supportive.
What are some of your favorite resources?
Quizlet, CoffeeBreak Spanish, Duolingo Podcasts, and I also use the verb workbooks
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Classes are so much fun and I have really enjoyed getting to know my classmates.

Thank you Jenna!

¡Felicidades a Jenna por avanzar al nivel B1! ¡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!

My name is:

Margaret 

My new level is:

A3

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

one hour or more per day

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

1 group class but am thinking of adding a semi-private twice a month

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

I have been working on moving beyond the present tense and tourist Spanish since last fall. When I first started, I realized that I could barely form even simple sentences even though I understood quite a bit more. My classes have allowed at least some things to become semi-automatic.

What are some of your favorite resources?

Duolingo Spanish Podcasts, Coffee Break Spanish, Notes in Spanish, Breaking Out of Beginner’s Spanish by Joseph Keenan, SpanishDict.

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

It’s great to have a safe way to take classes during the pandemic.

Thank you Margaret!

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

Hola alumnos y alumnas:

In today’s blog, I’ll share three things with you to help you become an advanced level Spanish speaker. Level C1 is a fairly advanced level, so remember that it takes time and a lot of effort to get there.

 

1 – Use all the tenses fairly well.

How do you achieve this?

Read literature. You’ll see all the tenses being used in novels, plus a lot of vocabulary.

Talk about things in the past, in the future, and use the commands. Do not avoid certain phrasing because you don’t want to use a certain mood or tense.

Choose to use complex sentences instead of easy ones.

 

2 – Be able to talk about complex topics.

How do you achieve this?

Don’t stick to just the topics you like to talk about. Share your opinions on politics, feelings, emotional personal experiences, current issues, etc. You will never achieve an advanced level of Spanish by only talking about the day to day.

Read and listen to all kinds of material, especially biographies, magazines about current issues, news, debates, and TV series.

Talk about things that are hard to talk about, even in English. For example: a very sad memory, a painful experience, a moment when you were extremely nervous.

 

3 – Switch from being a Spanish Student to a Spanish speaker.

How do you achieve this?

This is the time to stop studying so much Spanish, and to start living in Spanish. Let go of the textbook, and pick up a book for native speakers. Stop reading the news in English, and read it in Spanish. Let go of a magazine written in English, and find one that you enjoy in Spanish…etc.

Use your Spanish every day of the week. When you can’t talk with somebody, talk to yourself, read or watch something in Spanish. Or keep a journal and write about EVERYTHING, specially

Go to events in Spanish, meet Spanish speaking friends, use Spanish at your workplace (if possible). Be active and look for all the possible chances to use the language.

 

As I said in the beginning, getting to C1 is not an easy matter. Many people need years to reach an advanced level, and many students don’t ever get there (which is ok).

The only way to do it is being super active in Spanish, every day, and making it a very big part of your life.

 

I hope you find this information useful. Remember: keep calm and speak Spanish :)

 

Have a fabulous weekend!

Octavi

Hola a todos:

This week, we’re taking a look at moving past a mid-intermediate level of Spanish.

Advancing out of a mid-intermediate level of Spanish and into a high-intermediate level is a pretty big deal, as B3 is a pretty advanced level! Be aware that it is not easy to move up to B3. A lot of people stay in B2 for a long time, most, forever. The reason why is mainly one: you have to incorporate Spanish into your daily life to move past a mid intermediate level of Spanish. Otherwise it’s going to be very hard to reach B3. Your mentality needs to change from that of Spanish student, to Spanish speaker.

 

Now, if you know that you want to be one of those students that doesn’t get stuck in B2 forever, here are a few tips to make that happen:

1 – Focus on improving your grammar and all the verb tenses.

How do you achieve this?

  • Put yourself out there, and use more complex sentences. Just try, even if it’s wrong. Your teacher will help you. Don’t shy away from it.

  • Read all kinds of books and magazines in Spanish. Watch all kinds of TV shows and movies in Spanish, all the while, being aware (not analyzing everything, just paying attention) of the grammatical structure of the sentences, the choice of vocabulary, etc.

  • Don’t study the language, live in the language. Practice all the verb tenses by living in the language instead of studying them out of a book.

 

2 – Start speaking about more complex subjects, more often.

How do you achieve this?

  • When at PBO, pick subjects that are more complicated. Talk about current issues, politics, controversial topics, the news, etc. It’s great to talk about your day to day, but if you’re pretty comfortable talking about that stuff, it’s time to dedicate more time to complex subjects.

  • Read newspapers in Spanish and watch the news in Spanish. You can also watch documentaries and debates.

  • Be curious about the world around you. If you don’t like the news, you can read science related articles, for example.

 

3 – Talk, talk, talk, and talk some more.

How do you achieve this?

  • Talk to as many native speakers as you can. Try to have deeper and more meaningful conversations with them. It will not only help you with moving out of a mid-intermediate level of Spanish, but will also allow you connect with other human beings on a deeper level :)

  • Participate actively in class. That doesn’t just mean talking. Ask questions to other students too. Just think of it as a conversation with your friends, not like a class.

  • Meet Spanish speaking friends regularly, participate in PBO events. Don’t miss a chance to speak in Spanish.

 

In conclusion, you need to turn Spanish into a big part of your life, if moving out of a mid-intermediate level of Spanish is important to you. This is the point where you start to study less, and live in it more. Stop practicing with books all the time, and start using Spanish resources for learners. Start to use the media that native speakers would use.

Let us know what you think about this blog in the comment section of Facebook.

Have an amazing week!

Octavi


PS A note from Caro:

I feel that it’s important to say that for most language learners, moving past a mid-intermediate level is not necessary. Once you reach B2, you can pretty much talk to anyone, about anything. It may not be perfect, but you are able to communicate VERY well by level B2. So please remember that if level B2 suits your needs, you absolutely do not need to make advancing into a higher level a priority. Maintaining your Spanish might be just what you need!

¡Bienvenidos a todos!

I hope you’ve had a good week so far :).

Today, we are going to look at 5 reasons why you should read in Spanish; why you should be reading books, articles, poetry, and whatever crosses your way, in Spanish.

1 – You will learn a lot of vocabulary, because many English and Spanish words are very similar. Many expressions are very similar too. This means that you’ll be able to guess their meaning without having to use a dictionary.

2 – You’ll become familiar with verb tenses and conjugations. This doesn’t mean you will be conjugating correctly when you speak. Despite that, when you see verbs conjugated over and over, you develop an intuition that tells you when a tense or conjugation is right or wrong. As I said, this will not enable you to speak without mistakes, but it will help.

3 – At some point, you realize you can’t expect to understand everything that is being said in Spanish. The same applies to reading in Spanish. You will learn that you can’t and shouldn’t look up every single word you don’t understand. That is certainly time consuming, frustrating and not effective.

Furthermore, you will gradually become used to ignoring words that don’t seem important in order to understand a text. You will guess the meaning of others by the context, and you will look for the meaning of only some words that are crucial to understanding the gist of what you read. This is an excellent skill to develop!

4 – Another of the 5 reasons why you should read in Spanish is that there’s so much you can read, and in so many registers. Reading is not limited to books. You can read articles, the newspaper, texts you find on the Internet, etc.

Languages have many registers, or ways in which they are used. To be competent in a language, you can’t limit yourself to one or two registers. You have to be familiar with formal and informal speeches. The register used for the news is not the same as the one used for literature. Reading all kinds of texts will allow you to learn all the different ways Spanish is used in all of its registers.

5 – When you read a lot, you have more knowledge of the world. It becomes an excellent source of conversation topics, in any language.

If you start reading more in Spanish, you’ll be able to bring more topics to the conversation in class, or to participate in conversations taking place in or out of class. Besides, since you will have been reading in Spanish, you will already know the vocabulary pertinent to the topics you share with your classmates.

If you think reading in Spanish is a little overwhelming, don’t worry! Start from the bottom: books for children. I’m not joking!

If you are a beginner to Spanish, your level is probably that of a 2 year old. Thus, you need to read what a 2 year old would read. As you progress and learn more, you will be able to switch to fairy tales and such, and later to novels for adolescents.

Take your time and make sure you find something that fits your level. You will know it is your level when you understand 70 or 75% of what you read, but it still represents a bit of a challenge :)

There you go! 5 reasons why you should read in Spanish!

Have a great weekend!

Octavi