Posts

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 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

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