University shut down, so I started learning Spanish #BaseLangStories

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Meet Joe, a student from Scotland whose university was shut down due to the Coronavirus –  that’s when he decided to use the time in lockdown as an opportunity to learn Spanish.

BaseLangStories series puts the spotlight on BaseLang students – asking them about their motivations for learning a foreign language, what impact learning Spanish has had on their lives, advice they have for fellow students, and more.

So, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Hello, my name is Joe and I live in Edinburgh, Scotland. I am currently studying full-time for a MA degree in Philosophy and Politics and have been a student for the last five years.

Why did you want to learn Spanish?

After the end of my fourth year of university was cancelled in April due to the coronavirus. I found myself in a situation where I could not travel as originally planned but with an even longer time than I would have with a usual summer holiday. I decided that the second-best option was to dedicate my time to doing something constructive that would benefit me in the long-term. I chose to learn Spanish to achieve a conversational level before I had to return to university for the next semester because of the large number of Spanish people in Edinburgh. I was always hearing Spanish people at bars, in the street or even in my classes – I wanted to find a way to connect with these people and I thought that being able to talk to them in their language was surely the best way to do this!

In the past, what did you use to learn Spanish?

I started out engaging with free resources online, such as watching video lessons about grammar on Youtube as I wanted to have a good base before starting to have conversations with native speakers.

Before BaseLang, which part of learning Spanish did you struggle with the most?

Before BaseLang, I had never had a conversation in Spanish. I knew basic sentence structures, but never had the confidence to stop someone in the street and practice physically. I needed to find a way to practice in a more comfortable environment with patient people who would correct me when speaking so I could improve. Since my objective was to speak, I decided to place a large amount of focus on talking about a range of different topics and using the vocabulary I had learnt in my free time.

What did you find as a result of signing up?

I was immediately impressed by the flexibility of the platform. With as little as five minutes notice I was able to start speaking with native speakers from all across Latin America as much or as little as I wanted. It was amazing how I could get used to listening to a range of accents, which would prepare me for real-world interactions. I still find this as something unique and special to BaseLang that I could not find offered by competitors which is why I decided to sign up in the first place.

How has learning Spanish impacted your life?

The short answer is a lot! Apart from now being able to talk with Spanish people in their language, which was a goal of mine. It has opened up many doors; I can watch T.V. shows that I never thought previously would be possible to understand, I have met and continue to speak with Spanish friends that live in my city – I am now considering visiting Latin America or Spain to stay and practice what I have learned after graduating.

Would you recommend this course, and if so, why?

A platform like this, you genuinely cannot find anywhere else. For me, the main benefit is being able to practice my speaking which I continue to do every day for a couple of hours. Since my work schedule is constantly changing it allows me to book classes around that with little notice or booked well in advance. BaseLang works perfectly for me!

Before you go, any advice for fellow students?

Be sure to test out a range of different teachers, find a handful that you like the most and use them regularly. They will get to know your strengths and weaknesses – and even customise the lessons you have based on this. Also, make sure you change your time-zone appropriately on the platform to where you live (I was a good five hours early for my first class!). Good luck!

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This blog is presented by BaseLang: Unlimited Spanish Tutoring for $149 a Month. Learn more here.