One of the biggest challenges is studying a language, like Spanish, while on a vacation. I recently faced this challenge, but was still able to get in several minutes (even hours) studying Spanish while on the trip.
Here’s some tips to help you make the most of your down time while you are on vacation so you boost your Spanish language skills too:
1) Use spare time for Spanish study
It may be weird to think that you will proactively study during your trip during your vacation, but there will be times even on your holiday, in which you will have idle time. I’m in the USA right now on a vacation, before I head to Sydney, where I will be doing the DELE Spanish Exam. I’m doing the exam in under 2 weeks, so I’ve got it on my mind.
Even though I’m on a long needed break, there are still several times when I’m just wasting time, and I could be improving my Spanish language skills. For instance, there were hours waiting at the airport during a transit at Miami, Florida. There were several hours, sitting in the car while my uncle was driving us from New Jersey to Washington D.C. Also, there were times when there was nothing to watch on TV, and my family was asleep, but I was still restless, and felt like doing productive in that time.
There certainly are opportunities to study Spanish on your vacation trip. Just don’t make it the top priority. Your priority is of course to enjoy and have fun on the trip and take it all in, and spend time with friends and family. But if there are moments that are just idle, dull, spare minutes or hours, then you might as well study Spanish.
2) Write about you trip in Spanish
One activity that I did was write about the trip during my boring moments sitting in the car, while on a road trip from New Jersey, Washington D.C. and Virginia. I had about 6 hours of car time. Of course, I took in the sights, and talked to my family in the car, but after a while, I had some quite time in the car. So one thing I did was simply write about my trip all in Spanish. Here’s some specific things that you can write about, which I did myself:
- What sights you currently see or have seen in your new environment
- What activities you’ve done, are doing or will do on your trip
- How you feel about your trip so far
I’ve used Google Drive and Google Sheets to write out my sentences, and I’ve used the “Offline” mode. The great thing about it, is that I can write the sentences offline, but then my files are automatically synced to the cloud once I get wifi access.
3) Study Spanish flashcards
I have a massive Spanish Anki deck of flashcards. In fact, at the time of writing, I have about 13000+ cards. Sounds like alot, but I built it over 1 year, and I’ve built a daily habit of studying it. I actually now feel anxious any day I don’t study it.
So I studied my Anki flashcards on my laptop or smartphone when I had spare time. Specifically, I studied my flashcards at nights when I was staying at the time-share resort with my family in Virginia, USA. The others were really tired and sleeping already, but I couldn’t sleep, so I revised my Anki flashcard deck. It only takes a maximum of 30 minutes to study my Spanish cards so it’s pretty easy to keep as a daily habit, even on my vacation.
4) Play Spanish language games and apps
Another activity you can do to study Spanish on your trip is to play Spanish language games or interact with other Spanish language apps on your smartphone. For me, I played the Word Game on the SpanishDict iPhone App.
It’s a great game where it tests your Spanish vocabulary, starting at easy levels and the progressing to harder, longer Spanish words. I easily reached up to levels 13 and 14 in the game, but at that level, I began getting words I didn’t recognise.
There are other Spanish games and apps you can play on your smartphone, but that was the only one I had on my one. Check out Google Play if you have an Android Phone or check our the App Store if you have an iOS device.
5) Have conversations with Spanish speakers
I also met up with a friend in New York City. We met up around Washington Square because he’s currently on an international study exchange at New York University (NYU). He introduced me to some of his friends, including a Peruvian friend, Juan, who was also studying at NYU. I told Juan that I had lived in both Ecuador and Chile recently, and he asked me whether I spoke Spanish.
“Sí, puedo hablar español”, I said. Then we proceeded to talk in Spanish about my travels in Peru (such as in Ica, Machu Pichu and Lima) and how I liked to eat Peruvian food.
It was really spontaneous, and my brain got a sudden jolt from speaking English to Spanish, as I didn’t expect to pull out my Spanish all of a sudden. I was happy to be able to use it, and to get in some speaking practice (for free), while getting to know someone new in their native language. It built great rapport.
6) Listen to Spanish language music
Another fun and easy activity is to listen to Spanish language music. You can do it while you’re in the car, waiting on a line or even packing your bags. Listening to music is fun because youcan choose your favorite genres, but in the Spanish language.
Currently, I am really into Reggaeton, and I’ve been looping the albums of Yandel and Nicky Jam. Reggaeton is a Latin American Spanish language music genre that mixes R&B, Hip Hop and Reggae. Check it out especially if you like listening to R&B and Hip Hop in English.
Studying Languages while on Vacation is Possible
As you can see, there are so many types of activities that you can do in your spare time during your holiday in order to study Spanish. I did all of these activities myself, and I feel like I still was able to make the most out of my vacation trip.
I still made sure to put my quality time with my loved ones first, and I put priority on actually visiting the tourist sites like visiting the White House, Lincoln Memorial and Jefferson Monument, as the most important things to do. However, when I did have spare time, I made an effort to study Spanish, and I think it will help especially as I do my DELE B2 Spanish Exam next week!