Posted by: SSU Lingua Franca | May 4, 2021

Keep Practicing Spanish During the Summer

By Michele C. Dávila Gonçalves

Everybody loves to have vacation from school, and the desire to not think about classes, if you don’t need to, is very real. But, if you are taking a language course, being three+ months without practicing it is not such a good idea. To retain what you learned throughout the academic year, you need to practice every week. How to practice a language in a fun way that doesn’t seem that you are studying? I will tell you about several ways you can keep up with your language skills during the summer, and entertain yourself to boot.

The first way is listening (and singing, or dancing) to Latin American or Spanish music, and watching the music videos online. All of the following artists can be found in Spotify, and Pandora. Here some contemporary artists you can look by music genre:

  • For Reggaeton and Trap (a subgenre of hip hop) you can find from Colombia (besides Shakira), J. Balvin, Karol G, and Maluma; from Puerto Rico, Calle 13, Bad Bunny, Ozuna, and Daddy Yankee; and from Spain, Rosalía, Omar Montes, and Bad Gyal.
  • For Bachata the king is still Romeo from the Dominican Republic, but also see Antony Santos and Prince Royce.
  • For Latin Pop you can explore Camilo, Elsa y Elmar, and Sebastián Yatra from Colombia; Luis Fonsi and Pedro Capó from Puerto Rico; Cami and Nicole from Chile; Beret from Spain; and Mau and Ricky from Venezuela.
  • For Mexicans, genres such as Regional, Corridos, and Banda norteña music you can find Cheli Madrid, Adrián Chaparro, Jorge Almir, and Grupo Firme.
  • For Pop Rock Latino see the groups Maná and Reik from Mexico, plus the artist Julieta Venegas; the classic band Enanitos verdes from Argentina, and Aitana from Spain. And for TechnoTango the groups you can look for are Gotan Project, Otros Aires, and Tanghetto from Argentina.

Another way to maintain your language skills is to watch series, movies, and podcasts in Spanish. Some popular series in Netflix are: from Spain you have to see the thriller La casa de papel (Money Heist), the feel good Valeria (something like Bridget Jones meets Girls), and the roaring twenties drama Las chicas del cable (Cable Girls); from Mexico La casa de las flores (The House of Flowers), a dramedy in the style of telenovelas, and Ingobernable (Ungovernable), a la House of Cards; and if you want to understand the world of narcotráfico (drug trafficking) see Narcos, a joint effort between USA and Colombia, and the more recent El Chapo. Remember to cancel the dubbing to English before watching!

Some of the best movies in Spanish in Netflix in 2021 are: from Mexico Roma from Alfonso Cuarón, which received the Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 2018; from Spain Contratiempo (The Invisible Guest), and Durante la tormenta (Mirage), both mystery films, the wonderful El laberinto del fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth) by Guillermo del Toro, the romantic drama Palmeras en la nieve (Palm Trees in the Snow), and the musical teen movie La llamada (Holy Camp!).

If you like to listen to Podcasts these are a few you might be interested in: “News in Slow Spanish,” to help you improve your Spanish while listening discussions about current topics; “In The Thick,” hosted by journalists María Hinojosa and Julio Ricardo Varela, discusses race, identity and politics; “Latina to Latina” by Alicia Menendez, an interview series about being women of color; “Spanish aquí Presents,” a comedy show with improv; and “Alt.Latino,” an NPR Latino podcast. You can find them here… and more! 

The third way is to look for Apps that can help you maintain your Spanish skills during the break. A popular one is the engaging “Duolingo.” This app has hundreds of languages and it is tailored to each individual. Others are “Spanish Translator +” (with personalization features), “HelloTalk” (connects you with native Spanish speakers around the world), “Learn Spanish +” (good for vacation trips), and “Memrise” (with games and quizzes). Check others here

I hope this gives you ideas for not only maintaining your language skills but also having fun while you learn about the cultures that make the Hispanic world so interesting. ¡Diviértanse!

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