How to learn or get Spanish Lessons free (or cheap!)

hola in lights learn spanish lessons free
hola in lights learn spanish lessons free
Jon Tyson on Unsplash
  • Learn Spanish:

Whether you are living abroad as an expat in Spain, South, Central America or the US, plan to live overseas or just want to learn Spanish for fun, we have some tips for you on some easy and tried and tested ways to do just that.  Learning the language certainly helps with day to day life and to create a sense of belonging which can be a challenge when moving to a new country and community. We are sharing some resources below which will help with this and on top of that – most are free AND based on personal experience.

 With nearly 500 million Spanish speakers in the world that speak Spanish, it is second most spoken language in the world after Mandarin, followed by English.  So it is certainly worthwhile learning Spanish, regardless of where you live or plan to travel!

That said there is also slightly different Spanish depending on where you live or learn.  I initially learnt Spanish while travelling in Ecuador, then more intensively in Costa Rica and continue to study here in Spain.  The vocabulary is slightly different in each country, as is the accent and some of the grammar used.  To help not get too confused, it is worth focusing on learning Spanish from the place you plan to use that ‘type’ of Spanish most. It is often easiest to learn Spanish with clearer accents too e.g. Mexico, Costa Rica or some regions in Spain rather than areas with strong accents or dialects (some complain about Andalucian and Argentinian accents, for example)

We all have different learning styles too, so it is worth taking into account how you learn best – in person, in a group, online, reading, writing or listening. For many of us a combination of ways to learn works best to really reinforce and integrate our learning.

Here are some easy ways that you can learn Spanish for free:

Free Spanish lessons

Many people find that one on one or group lessons are the best way to stay motivated and really focus on the level that you are at in Spanish, whether a beginner, intermediate or advanced.  

1. Whilst it is not easy to find private lessons for free, many teachers do offer free first Spanish classes for their students. The best way to find these are through searching on Facebook – particularly in groups for where you live, or via Tus Clases Particulares (in Spain) – these classes can be online or in person. Some give a discount for a package or series of lessons.

2. A class ‘exchange’ some teachers are willing to teach Spanish in return for learning English, another language or skill in return. Again it is worth checking out Facebook, Tus Clases Particulares or other online forums for this.

3 . In Spain, the local council or ‘ayuntamiento’ often offer free or subsidised classes for those moving to the country, usually at the beginner level.  Get in touch with them via Facebook or email (you can use Google translate if you have to communicate if you are a beginner!)

Tub of pencils for learning
Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Free Online Spanish Courses:

There are several free self-paced Spanish courses available like this:

  1. Take a Coursera course like this one that is free of charge and self-paced to kick start your Spanish learning.
  2. Udemy  also offer this free Spanish course.

Free Online Spanish Lessons / Websites

There are loads of sites that offer free online Spanish classes or courses, most will try and upsell you to a different course or premium features, but most offer a free trial.  Some examples here:

  1. FluentU Spanish: Real life videos make this course practical and accessible – a 14 day free trial is available.
  2. Lengalia – Spanish for all levels including a placement test (which I always like to do to see where I am). 
  3. Over 1,000 pages of free Spanish learning materials.
  4. Spanish MOOC: Free beginner courses with real teachers available to answer any questions you might have too (I’ve not used this, but heard good things about it).

Free Conversation Practice

The main way to really improve Spanish (once you have the basics in place or want to consolidate when at a more advanced level) is by speaking with native speakers and asking others to correct you (which they may nor many not feel comfortable doing, but it is important!). This could be by hanging out in a local bar or a coffee shop, surrounding yourself with Spanish speaking people or setting up a language exchange. These all help our brain and ourselves get accustomed to speaking the language, having conversational skills and improve our confidence (which is usually the main stumbling block!) Doing an exchange also helps us realise that others find it hard to learn too and that we are all human 🙂

1. Find a language exchange partner – I have found them via Facebook, school and work networks or via Tu Clases Particulares – these are all free where we spend 30-45 minutes speaking English with English speakers (or another language) and then swop and do the same in Spanish and work really well in my experience. I have done this in person or online and both work well.

2. In Spain the ‘ayuntamientos’ often organise language exchange groups via community centres or libraries so it is worth looking out for those too or contacting your local council.

Girl reading books on stairs surrounded by Spanish books free
Clay Banks on Unsplash

Learn Spanish for Free by Reading

  1. – I have found a great way to learn new vocabulary and general comprehension is by reading the news  in Spanish at  BBC mundo which is very accessible and done at different levels before graduating to other Spanish newspapers like El Pais or El Mundo, some also have English versions too so you can check your comprehension afterwards.
  2. – There are lots of text books, children and adult books magazines or newspapers  at your local library no matter where you are in the world – all available gratis!
  3. – There are also plenty of free Spanish ebooks available online.

    One bit of advice I have found very useful is for when looking to translate words or sentences is that Google translate is not always the best option (nor is it to translate generally as it can be way off sometimes).  I prefer to use either Context Reverso or Linguee that provide more accuracy, context and examples.
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Learn Spanish with Free Apps

  1. The best and free app I have found is Duolingo which you can learn Spanish at any level and target learning for x amount of time each day and recap your learning too.
  2. I have also used Mosalingua which helps with grammar and vocabulary and has an initial free option.
  3. Our kids also really found Drops really helpful to spend 5 minutes a day learning Spanish.

    There are plenty of other apps that are paid for (usually with a free trial and then approximately  5 euros a month) that you could also check out, but personally I would find it more effective to put the money towards lessons, depending on your budget obviously. Some other apps to check out are Babbel, Tandem, Hello Talk, Bilingual, and Speaky.

Learn Spanish by listening including Free Spanish Podcasts

By listening to Spanish more often we are more likely to get used to it and learn more what sounds correct – just like we learnt our native languages.

  1. Listen to the radio in Spanish – whether in the car or at home online there are plenty of stations to chose from and get used to hearing the sentence structures, Spanish phrases and an idea of verb conjugation (although I admit this is usually best for more advanced learners).

    Find Spanish audio lessons or a podcast you like to listen to.  I particularly have found useful:
  2. News in Slow Spanish – available at different levels – beginners, intermediate and advanced and a great way to see what is going on in the world too.
  3. Coffee Break Spanish – again also for different levels, available in bite-size chunks.

Learn for Free with Online Spanish Video Lessons

There are LOADS of YouTube channels that are out there that can teach you Spanish for free.  I have seen lots of people recommend these three in particular, but it is worth searching out which teachers most resonate with you:

  1. Spanish Dude
  2. Spanish Pod101
  3. ButterflySpanishola

Personally, I have enjoyed the language tips and Spanish grammar lessons with:

4. Mosalingua – lots of great tips and language learning from grammar lessons, conversational slang, to how to learn a language most efficiently.

Mas amor por favor more love please written on the wall
More Love please – Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Learn Spanish by Watching Spanish TV

Watching programmes or films that you have already seen in your native language or with subtitles can certainly help with learning the language.   Watching soap operas can also be good practice as the drama is usually pretty straightforward to follow.   There are lots of options on Netflix, Amazon Prime or YouTube.  Just be careful when selecting the correct Spanish that you wish to learn (ie. from South America or Spain) and also with the subtitles too, many subtitles don’t match exactly with the audio soundtrack, but give you a good idea of what is being said.

The best way for you to Learn Spanish

Some expats are lucky enough to get language training included in their package when moving abroad (I was lucky enough to have access to the Berlitz Spanish Language courses at one point), but many don’t, yet learning the language makes living in a Spanish speaking country much easier and more fun!   More recently I have worked with a combination of the resources above and group/private Spanish lessons (which are still the most effective to spend the bulk of time doing in my opinion).  But when we are paying to learn Spanish ourselves, it can add up to be more costly and it pays to know best where to invest our time and money and how we learn best.  Some people find it useful to take lessons, then a break to integrate and practice and then continue with more Spanish classes – it also depends a lot on the individual, your motivation and the time you have available.  Regardless of how you choose to learn Spanish – we hope that you enjoy the journey.  In my experience it is best to throw yourself in there and try and not aim for perfection (I have had hundreds of lessons and still feel like a novice on occasion!) – remember to be patient and compassionate with yourself, it is worth it!

Learning the language also helps with the transition from one country to another please also check out this post with some tips on the best way to manage transitions for children.

You got this written in chalk on the ground
Sydney Rae on Unsplash

Check out our other posts about our experiences living abroad or if you are an expat or living abroad whether a seasoned traveller or a newbie this post about how to make the most of special occasions when living overseas or apart from family.

How have you best learnt Spanish (or any other language) do you have any tips or free resources to share? We would love to hear your feedback and ideas below…..

Not got time to go through the list now – why not pin it for later?

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