How to Live in Madrid on the Cheap

It’s been a while since I’ve offered up some tips on how to live in Spain on the cheap. Everything, in the last couple of weeks at least, has been predominantly about language learning. And although learning Spanish is a big focus of the site, I also started to discuss how people could build a self-immersive language project for themselves.

Those intentions haven’t changed, despite having lived in Madrid  two years now and not having talked about it much (if at all) here on the blog.

That’s why I’m keen to change tact right now and delve into this in a bit more detail.

Because putting together your own Spanish-immersion project, I’d argue, works a lot more effectively when you can at least live in a Spanish-speaking country.

Where better than the capital of Spain itself? Continue Reading →

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What is the Most Difficult Aspect of the Spanish Language?

A lot of people jump into learning Spanish as their first second-language because they’ve heard, somewhere down the line, that it’s relatively easy. Others, on the other hand, get started because of reason pertaining to return-on-investment, given the sheer number of native speakers there are around the world (the second most-spoken language) and the number of economies that feature Spanish as their official language.

No matter the motivations of the learner or the background, most are likely to bump into a few difficulties learning Spanish at least somewhere down the road to fluency. Whether they tell you this or not? That’s a different story entirely.

I know that at least in terms of my own experiences, learning Spanish has presented several challenges (and continues to do so). The humbling nature of still feeling like a beginner when caught in the speed and dialect of Andalusian Spanish, or attempting to focus in on something highly technical explained on television, is something that can help ground you and keep you motivated in even the darkest of times.

As for the most difficult aspects I’ve found after around five years of study? Well, there are a quite a few of them. What follows is an outline of the main ones and my thoughts on how you might best tackle them.

Whatever you do or wherever you get stuck, remember, the key to succeeding at anything in life is consistency. Plug away long enough and you will see results.

The same goes for each of these. Continue Reading →

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British People Prefer Holidays to Sex, Best Friends, and Carbs

A new piece of research by a UK based online travel agency has revealed what British people would rather give up for the rest of their lives than to miss out on a holiday. Some of the things they would give up included their sex lives, their best friends, and carbohydrates, so long as they would continue to have a regular vacation. The research also demonstrated that 91% of British people admitted that they simply couldn’t imagine what life would be like without holidays. Continue Reading →

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Advancing Your Spanish Thanks to Massive Open Online Courses

There’s been a lot said and written about how to jump into learning Spanish as a beginner here on but not very much said about how to move into more advanced territory.

Eventually as a language learner, having put in the time, the months and often the years, you’re going to want to branch out from the resources you’ve been using thus far to develop your skills and dive into more challenging waters. Studying at an advanced level in a language, is one way of doing this. Sitting in lecture halls, participating in discussions and meandering your way through reading lists is certainly going to push you forward.

But what if, for some reason, perhaps financially, geographically or purely time-related, you simply can’t do that? We’ve mentioned only recently that you can indeed learn Spanish effectively outside of classes.

However there’s another alternative that bridges the best of both worlds. One that is cost-free yet structured. One that is intellectually demanding yet can be done at your own pace.

That alternative? It’s called Coursera. Continue Reading →

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