Take every opportunity to speak Spanish

I was at a barbeque yesterday with a bunch of colleagues, half of them native Spanish or Colombian, and everyone with a pretty good level of Spanish. Now I normally speak English at work as that is the second language of the office and it helps me do my job better, but now we were socializing so I had no excuse but to talk with various people in Spanish whom I normally speak with in English. Very strange. A few drinks helped the process along though. I know it’s not fashionable to recommend drinking, but if you are over the legal age for your country, and need to break down any social awkwardness barriers, alcohol has a distinguished history as an aid to talking freely. And freely speaking Spanish is the aim of all this effort.

I am lucky that I live in Spain, so I can practice every day, but when I first moved here I knew nobody and I had to make the effort to make contacts and have conversations. I said “Yes” to every half hearted invitation and invited myself to a few things I am sure. You should do the same wherever you live. There will be someone, somewhere nearby who is a native speaker, and your job is to find them and make regular contact. Books and CDs are great but a bit of conversational back and forth, however halting, goes a long way to improving your confidence.