Posts

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:

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!

My name is:

Cassandra

My new level is:

A3

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

30 minutes every day

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

1-2 times

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

It’s everything!! Nothing better than conversation. I love how interactive the teachers are.

What are some of your favorite resources?

Babbel, books

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

Thank you for everything!

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

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!

Hola amigos y amigas:

Today we will continue our journey through the PBO levels. This time, we’ll look at how to advance to an intermediate level of Spanish!

 

1 – Increase the complexity of your speech.

How do you achieve this?

  • Start telling stories to a friend, to yourself or in class. You need to talk less about short daily experiences, and tell more stories.
  • Read the news. It might be a bit challenging, but it’s an excellent way to broaden your vocabulary. The podcast News in slow Spanish is also amazing!
  • In addition, start talking about complex subjects. They can be about things you’re struggling with at the moment, controversial subjects, current events, etc.

 

2 – Diversify your knowledge of tenses.

How do you achieve this?

  • To advance to an intermediate level of Spanish, talk about the past more often (to use the preterit and the imperfect). Telling stories, which we advised before, is a perfect way to practice the past tenses, as you will have to use several of the past tenses in each story.
  • Dabble in the future tense. Get used to it, as native speakers use it a lot alongside the construction “ir + a + verb” (voy a beber or beberé).
  • Also, dabble in the conditional tense. It will allow you to put together more complex sentences, and to express things you “would” do.

 

3 – Increase you comprehension.

How do you achieve this?

  • Watch shows in Spanish. You will not understand everything, but you’ll get used to the speed of natives. (Tip: It’s best to start watching series/telenovelas, since the stories develop over time, unlike in a movie, where everything happens so quickly – there are TONS of Spanish language shows on Netflix).
  • Read more in Spanish. It is a great way to get acquainted with verb tenses, learn vocabulary and discover new expressions. Caro is a huge fan of audiobooks, which also allows you to learn to understand native speakers with more ease. She uses Audible, but you can also listen to books for free on some websites and on YouTube.
  • Another way to advance to an intermediate level of Spanish is to talk to Spanish speakers. Go beyond greetings. Try to have longer and more complex conversations. (You could ask them: Why did you move to San Diego? What do you like and dislike about San Diego? What do you miss about your country?)

 

We hope that our How to advance to an Intermediate level of Spanish blog was useful! Let us know what you think in the comment section on Facebook.

For everyone who is in B1: next week we’ll find out ways to move up to B2.

 

¡Les deseo una buena semana!

Octavi

¡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)

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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).

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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!

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Que disfruten de su fin de semana :)

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:

Perspective

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.

Encouragement

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.

Impressive

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!

Octavi