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:

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!

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 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

¡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