This is now my 18th year living and working in Spain and the biggest hurdle to get over was learning to Speak Spanish.
I have some great tips on how to learn faster and build up a great vocabulary that you can use daily.
First off a bit about how it started for me.
When i first moved here I didnt speak any Spanish at all. After just a few weeks here i found a job working for a English company and so didnt really need to speak Spanish but 2 years later I decided to go self employed and thats when it got hard for me.
I was trying to run a carpentry and building business here but even the small things like buying materials was a real nightmare as i didnt speak much Spanish. Personally i thought then my basic spanish would be ok but it was not.
Then I started taking Lessons 4 times a week and after the first week i knew this was not working for me and would take years.
I told my Spanish teacher that i needed to speak Spanish next week and he laughed at me saying it will take years.
I told him that i needed to order and buy materials now and learning all the spanish verbs and pronunciation although correct was not going to help me for at least 1 year.
I told him i had an idea….. he would be the shop keeper of say a wood shop and i would come in and ask for different types of wood and so this is what i learned first all woods and things related to wood. then he would be the shop keeper of a diy shop and i would ask for all diy things then it was a window and door shop and we talked about windows and doors sizes colors and styles.
In just a few weeks i had many new words and phrases all related to my work here that i was using daily and this helped a lot.
*Daily costs of living in Spain*
Then i joined several Spanish clubs here like a walking club a climbing club and a salsa dancing club. all on my own and all Spanish just one English guy me. I had to practice what i learned and started learning new words related to these new hobbies. Not only did i learn a load of new useful Spanish words and phrases but i made many great new Spanish friends here and later also met my now Spanish wife.
I still find the verbs and tenses hard to get and the masculine and feminine stuff but my Spanish is pretty good now.
Speaking on the phone was hard at first and very different to face to face Spanish but that too is now ok. At home we speak Spanish all the time now and i will always be learning.
I know Brits who moved here years ago when i did and they still only know the basics and they are missing out on so much.
There are loads of free apps for mobiles that are a great way to learn too like the kids silly games that are really easy but very helpful in learning basic daily Spanish that you will use.
I think the key is to practice what you learn even if its very basic and listen to the responses and build on that.
We Brits are not good at learning a new language as most countries speak English but a different world opens up to you when you can have a conversation in Spanish face to face with a Spanish person.
If you push yourself and join these clubs and mix as much as pos with the spanish rather than stay in the English groups, so much more opportunities will open up for you.
Are you learning and what is working best for you?