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Letters for Lilla

How to Speak Better Spanish

She/Her: Hello Lilla,

Advice columnist Lilla Orbán

I have been living in Spain for a while, but my Spanish is nowhere near fluent. Being in an American university hasn’t helped – even my Spanish-speaking friends prefer to speak to me in English because my Spanish is slow. I know the only way to get better is to practice, but I am very self-conscious about it and it seems I only learn by speaking with older people at work or where I live.

 I have a lot of networking opportunities I should be taking advantage of, but I feel I can’t because my Spanish is poor and gets worse if I am nervous (the people at these events are usually Spanish and older than me, so they don’t always speak English and I don’t want to be rude by speaking to them in English). I should probably just hire a tutor already. Do you have any recommendations for how to get better or at least feel comfortable speaking Spanish? 

Thank you.

Lilla: It may be beneficial to look into volunteering opportunities if you believe that speaking with older people at work has helped. This way, you may be able to interact with more people who don’t speak English, and you can practice conversations outside of work. Depending on what you decide on, you can work with various ages. I believe that further exposure to vocabulary will help you improve on your own. Here are some other suggestions:

Read Spanish-language books at your level in your free-time.

Change your phone language to Spanish.

Watch films, TV shows, YouTube lessons in Spanish.

Listen to Spanish news and podcasts.

Find a class or tutor that focuses on conversation.

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About the Contributor
Lilla Orbán, Advice Columnist and Staff Writer
Lilla Orbán double majors in international studies and English with a minor in creative writing.

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