Spanish school in Costa Rica | Pura Vida

Tips and Unorthodox strategies to learn Spanish

Have you tried to learn the Spanish language and you’ve have had many difficulties? Don’t struggle anymore.

Learning a new language requires you to embrace a strategy. There are many effective and best ways to learn the language. From carrying a dictionary to binge watching Netflix, there are many strategies to follow that will help you in your journey of Spanish mastery. It is worth to mention that the best strategy by far is to visit a Spanish speaking country, like Costa Rica.

This article will look at different tips on how to learn Spanish, some of them may surprise you.

Find a Spanish Speaking Partner

girls using an app to exchange languages

To tell the truth, this is a fruitful and effective strategy. A partner or a friend who speaks a different language always sounds funny. There is a sense of attraction that develops and brings a desire to know the language. Finding a partner is not as difficult nowadays with all the tools and platforms available.

You can try sites like iTalki or apps like Tandem, there are plenty of options.

When you find the right partner, ask them to speak Spanish with you as much as your schedule (and theirs) allow it. You can tell them to teach you the basics, explain to you some difficult grammar and the best of all, you will get to know their culture.

In most cases, these people are thrilled that you’re trying to understand and learn their language and they are expecting an exchange, meaning you will have to exchange your knowledge of your own language to help them learn it, believe me; this will be a very rewarding experience.

Eventually, this will help in mastering the language in a faster, more enjoyable way.

Keep in mind that most of the times, your partner will not be a teacher per se. If you are actually looking for a teacher and to learn Spanish in a structured way, you can always try Spanish classes online with professional institutions. There are a lot of options to do this.

Label Your Surroundings

Here comes another action that can make the learning experience look trouble-free and uncomplicated. Labeling things around the house is fundamental towards learning the language. By doing this, the learner should try to speak and pronounce the Spanish words regularly. This acts as a great visual reminder and monument of Spanish words. For example La Mesa (table), la pared (wall), la Puerta (door) among others. Once the vocabularies are understood and mastered, labels can be removed.

Use Flashcards

Making flashcards is truly another very best method to help with memorizing difficult words. These flashcards should be small enough such that one can carry and walk with them during leisure time.

Also, this help in storing them inside the bag efficiently during an adventure. These flashcards should bear Spanish words, numbers, and information. Anytime one has free time or some downtime, he or she can practice by whipping them out. Day by day, the Spanish language will look simple to those who want to learn it.

I recommend you trying Anki if you are looking for a great flashcards app


Be Consistent and Patient

Learning a new language may take you some time.

Commitment and consistency are some of the essential characteristics that play a vital role. Every day, sacrifice a few hours to practice Spanish. Just make it a daily habit. This delivers dramatic results than sporadic cramming will. Patience is the key. Don’t expect to follow a typical straight line graph when learning the language. There comes a time you feel frustrated, tired and discouraged. But, stick with it!

So, por el amor de Dios, ¡no te olvides de estudiar todos los días! (For God’s sake, don’t forget to study every day!)

This advice is key!

Don’t expect to be perfect straight away

Remember the moment you tried to ride a bike for the first time! Tie your shoes! Probably, you were not perfect. The same thing happens here. When learning a new language, it is not easy to master it with one day or a week. You must not feel embarrassed by making mistakes, we all make them! Speak with confidence because this boosts the morale to learn and keep going.

Muddle your way through, go ahead and enjoy it.


Binge watch Netflix

watching Netflix to learn spanish

This one is a bit surprising huh? Believe it or not, Netflix can become an extraordinaire tool to learn Spanish (or any other language for that matter).

It has been mentioned multiple times that Netflix is becoming the new TV, almost everyone I know has a Netflix account, and for a good reason they keep adding more and more good stuff. But this is not a promotional post for Netflix.

Now that the streaming giant has become so popular and added so many shows in so many different languages. Why not use it in your favour to learn a new language?

Here is how you do it:

Login to your account

Select the show/series/movie in the language you want to learn

Turn on the subtitles in your native language

Pro tip*

When you get more advanced, just watch the whole thing in the language you are learning and turn on the subtitles in the same language, this way you will understand absolutely every word that is being said without letting a single one slip away from you.

Pro tip 2*

Give some variations to your binge watching sessions by watching movies in your native language with subtitles in Spanish. Focus on reading the subtitles when you do this and you will make a huge improvement on your vocabulary.       

This is by far one of the most effective and fun ways to improve your vocabulary and listening skills

Shows to watch in Netflix to learn Spanish

Now that you have decided to use Netflix to learn Spanish. Here some recommendations for good shows to spend your time on watching:

La casa de papel

Image of La casa de Papel on Netflix

Find it on Netflix as “Money Heist”. This Spanish TV series deals with a Heist, the biggest one ever plotted in Spain (fiction). In the journey to carry it out, the characters bring up many of the human nature traits that can jeopardize any plan

Club de cuervos

Cover picture of Club de Cuervos

A Mexican drama/comedy series. Set in Nuevo Toledo (fictional state of Mexico), this show tells the story of Chava and Isabel Iglesias and their journey to keep afloat the football team of his dead father.

The best of TEDx in Español

If you love TEDx conferences, use this in your advantage and learn about a plethora of great topics in your goal language. Food for thought and language learning in every session.


Very fun sitcom about the daily struggles they go through by living in the same complex. There are multiple fun situations and the show portraits many realities of the Mexican middle class.


Play games with it

Probably you haven’t thought about this one. But for sure, if you have ever attended to a good Spanish school, you must have played some games right?

If not, keep on reading and I will provide you with some ideas of games you can utilize to turn your Spanish learning sessions into fun activities.


using hedbanz as a way to learn spanish

Traditional game where you must put a card on your forehead and try to guess what is written there. For this game to be fun, you need a group of friends who would be learning Spanish as well.

Write down names of cities, vegetables, famous actors, sports, you name it. With this game not only will you have fun but you will make it very easy to remember words and to practice your speaking skills.


Guess who

games can be used to learn spanish like the game "guess who"

Old and classic but very effective if you are studying physical traits. You can create your own version of it by printing out cards in your desired topic. Remember that is a two-player game.


Scrabble (foreign language edition)

playing scrabble to learn new words

Probably you will find it hard to get scrabble in a foreign language edition. If it gets difficult for you to find it on physical stores, you can always try amazon and get it there.

This game will put your vocabulary on trial and it will be of great help to learn new words from others.



Another way to have fun with a group of friends and learn a new language. Make it a rule that absolutely everyone must try to guess your scribbles in Spanish. This one will keep you and your friends having fun for hours



Another classical game. If you are fond of acting, this may be your game. It is a pretty straightforward game to play yet very fun and with a lot of potential to learn new words and brush up on the Spanish you learnt before.


Talk to yourself

talking to oneself picture

No jokes here, talking to yourself is one of the best ways to improve your fluency. We all talk to ourselves pretty often, what if instead of doing so in your native language, you try doing it in Spanish? This way you will have time to think and spot where you need improvement.


Carry a dictionary


This one is one of my favourites. Nowadays everyone carries a smartphone in their pockets. It is time to use it!

You can download google translator or any other translator app. Every time you encounter a new word that you find useful, don’t hesitate, grab your phone and translate it.

Learn the right words and phrases


Visit a country where Spanish is spoken

It is said that the best way to learn a language is by speaking it, for this, a total immersion is key.

There are different way to dive deep in a Language. Reading, watching movies, listening to songs or having conversations with native speakers.

Even though it is not affordable for everyone, one way to combine all these activities and actually living a life changing experience is by visiting a Spanish speaking country.

There are so many countries you can go to: Spain, Mexico, Colombia, among many others.

If this is something you have been thinking about, consider coming to Costa Rica. I will give you a handful of reasons here:

  • It is one of the safest countries in Latin America
  • It is perfect for foreigners since Costa Rican people are very hospitable and fond of foreigners. Even if you go to touristy places, you will have a lot of opportunities to practice the Spanish you learn.
  • The nature in Costa Rica is full of exotic places, exuberant beaches, mind-blowing animals and so many places to discover and have adventures. If you are an outdoorsy person. Costa Rica is your place.

As for the place to have a full Spanish language immersion program in Costa Rica?

Well, if you decide to come to the Caribbean side of the country, your best option will be our institute Pura Vida.

Here you will have a lot of fun, learn a lot, visit beautiful places and of course make tons of friends from all over the world. It is that amazing!

If you don’t have the opportunity to make your way to Costa Rica, you can always get a taste of the experience by having online Spanish classes with us.



Of course, all these strategies are vital to learning the Spanish language. Have a partner and make friends, talk to yourself and practice speaking Spanish language, label your surroundings, immerse yourself in the language as much as you can. Finally, don’t forget to keep your studying sessions consistent and remember, if you have the chance. Come to Costa Rica to learn the language and have one of the best experiences in your life!

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