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Most Common Spanish Phrases For Travelers [Survive South America]

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Unlike the US schools, we do not have a Spanish course or learn any foreign language at schools in India, especially in the small town where I studied. I grew up studying Hindi, English, and Sanskrit. I took a French language course during college, but a few classes and a French certificate was the farthest my foreign language aptitude took me to. 

 When I landed in Chile to teach English, I couldn’t even speak a few simple Spanish words coherently. I started living with a Chilean host mother who took upon herself to teach me the common Spanish phrases and words so we could communicate. Thus began my struggle of learning to speak Spanish in Chile.

I didn’t know then that the Spanish language would become one of my favorites, and also my third language.

Without trying to be melodramatic, I promise that if you start speaking even the most basic Spanish travel phrases when you are backpacking in South America, you would fall in love with this language; for Spanish is a passionate dialect. Spanish words and phrases cover almost every emotion; some of the feelings that can be described eloquently in Spanish are strangled by the lack of words in other languages I speak.

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How to Learn a Language By Yourself – 24 Foolproof Tips

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Are you wondering how to learn a language by yourself? Or finding the best way to learn a language?

Then you have come to the right place.

Table of Content

  • My story of learning Spanish in Chile, South America
  • Why should you learn a foreign language
  • What is language learning? Is it hard to learn a new language?
  • My 24 best tips for learning a language by yourself
  • Download pdf
  • Further Reading

First, let me tell you my story of learning Spanish in Chile so that you know you can learn a language on your own.

Before traveling to Chile, I couldn’t speak Spanish and wondered how I was going to survive in a predominantly Spanish continent. I assumed that Latin Americans would make my life easy by talking to me in English.

But neither the Latinos nor the foreigners living in Chile spoke English, at least not as much as I expected. That’s when I realized I had to learn Spanish. Reality hit me hard, and I prayed for survival.

Learning Spanish in Chile, a country notorious for bad Spanish, wasn’t easy. I struggled to make my way around Chile from morning until night. I couldn’t understand the conversations on the dining table and longed to participate. I missed cracking jokes. I wanted to cry.

Words fell on my ears but my brain couldn’t comprehend them.

Rather than pitying myself, I decided to learn enough Spanish to understand the people around me and reply. So that’s what I did. From speaking incorrect Spanish unabashedly to practicing Spanish grammar with workbooks, I tried all ways to learn a language.

Fast forwards a few weeks, I started speaking Spanish fluently. I was still a foreigner in Chile, but as I began to understand more Spanish, I became a part of the Chilean host family. We woke up, greeted each other by kissing both cheeks, ate toast with avocados and Nescafe coffee, and talked about life at supper or the evening Once.

I had a second home now just because I could converse in Spanish.

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