The Ultimate Guide to Learning Spanish Online

Do You Want to Learn Spanish?

Learning Spanish online has never been easier!

But there are so many resources out there, from Spanish podcasts to Spanish learning apps, where should you start?

To help you navigate the world of online learning we’re giving you our ultimate guide to learning Spanish online!

Here at FU International Academy, we teach full Spanish courses with native speakers in sunny Tenerife! The best way to learn a language is by speaking it every day with natives, however, you may not be able to take the time away to complete a course. Online learning has the benefit of fitting around your schedule. If you’re looking for a complete course but want the benefits of learning from home then why not have a look at our conversational classes!

We believe everyone should be able to learn Spanish so we’re going to give you the lowdown on all the best platforms out there. Whether you are a total beginner armed only with the words ‘Hola’ and ‘Cerveza por favor’ or you’ve been studying for years, our guide can help you start learning Spanish online today.

Why Learn Spanish Online?

Traditional studying in a classroom, especially in a Spanish speaking country, is still a great way to learn the language. But not everyone has the time to take a Spanish course. There are so many amazing resources online that you can now learn almost anything from the comfort of your own home.

Besides being a very convenient way to learn online allows you to adapt how you study to your learning style and needs. Want to work on your listening skills? Podcasts are for you. Want to work on your thinking speed? Try apps and games! Want to practice conversation? Online courses and tutoring are the ticket! No matter how you learn, there are resources available for you.

How to learn Spanish online

Don’t make the mistake of choosing one avenue of online Spanish. Use a combination. Pick a website or course for your main resource then use a variety of other platforms to learn in different ways.

If you’re looking for a productive way to spend your morning commute then apps are the way to go. Sometimes keeping your goal small makes it more achievable. Even if you only learn 5 words per day, that works out as 1825 words a year, which is a great base for learning a language.

If you’re looking for a more complete Spanish learning experience then a paid platform or course is going to be your best bet. All the platforms we’re recommending give you access to a wide variety of resources and classes to get you from beginner to fluent. With online Spanish courses, you also have the opportunity to be in contact with a tutor and obtain individual feedback.

Learn Spanish with websites

It might not be quite as traditional as hitting the books with pen and paper in a library but using a website is becoming a standard way of learning Spanish. There are so many options out there. So to make the most of Spanish education sites pick and choose which sites you use to work on specific skills. For grammar, Curso De Español is a good free option because they have over 500 A4 worksheets available. For vocab practice, you might choose a website like Busuu which offers pictures alongside words to help you learn faster.

If you want a complete learning experience, however, you’re better choosing a website that offers a full Spanish course. The free services on offer can be really useful but if you want to be fluent in Spanish then a course is the way to go.

Complete courses:

  • Busuu – this website is a combination of free and paid. You can access a lot of the features for free but there is extra content if you buy a subscription. Busuu is great to get you from A1 to B2. It’s very user-friendly and allows you to get into contact with other learners.
  • Lengalia – this one is good for any level of Spanish. You can use Lengalia to get yourself from an A1 to a C2 if that’s your goal. They also offer classes on specific topics such as travel or business. But one of the real selling points is they have in-depth explanations and give you a certificate at the end of your studies.
  • Instituto Cervantes – why not go for the DELE examiners themselves? If your ultimate goal is to sit the DELE exam then you might find some of the Instituto Cervantes modules helpful. Each module focuses on a different topic, and you pay for each individual module. So you may find this useful for particular problem areas rather than a full course.

For more great websites read our full guide to the best websites to learn Spanish.

The 9 best platforms to learn Spanish

If you learn more by doing you should start practicing your Spanish interactively!

Apps are the perfect solution to learning Spanish on a busy schedule. You can easily fit in 10 minutes a day playing on an app, and what’s more, you’ll actually want to.

They’re also a great choice for anyone on a budget as some of the best apps like Duolingo and Memrise are completely free!

You might not be able to get from beginner to fluent with a language app but it’s a great way to keep you practicing Spanish even when you don’t have much time.

Why not try:

  • Duolingo – the undeniable champion of language apps. It’s the most downloaded education app and has over 200 million daily users. It’s a fun game style app, the more often you use it the more lingots (Duolingo currency) you gain which unlocks extra lessons and outfits for your character.
  • Memrise – a space-themed language app. Its game style makes learning a breeze! If you want to focus on your vocab then this is the game for you! Another useful feature is you can learn different types of Spanish, so whether you want to head to Mexico or Madrid you’ll be sorted!
  • Babbel – this is a premium subscription-based app that focuses on your long-term retention. You might find paying for an app makes you feel more motivated to use it! Of the paid-for apps, this is a standout service to get you from beginner to intermediate.

The full list of the best apps for learning Spanish can be found in our blog post.

Spanish Podcasts

Podcasts are a great way to practice your Spanish listening skills. If you could move to Spain tomorrow and immerse yourself in the language you’d pick it up, right? Listening to podcasts is the same idea, surrounding yourself with a language makes you learn faster.

You can easily download any podcast app to your mobile and search for Spanish podcasts, the list below can all be downloaded to your smartphone, or you can listen online.

Our favorite podcasts:

  • Language treks– a great bilingual podcast for beginners. You can easily learn conversational Spanish, the language is basic but it’s all delivered in a fun way. Perfect for beginners.
  • Coffee Break Spanish – this is a really popular one. Mark and Kara from Scotland deliver easy to understand Spanish in a variety of levels. Coffee Break also has a really nice selection of topics.
  • Notes in Spanish – Marina from Madrid and Ben from England teach you Spanish with interesting talks about Spanish culture, news and travel.

To find more great podcasts to help you learn Spanish take a look at our article on the best podcasts and how to use them.

Learn Spanish with YouTube

Learning Spanish with Youtube is easy and free!

You have a wide range of choices when it comes to Spanish resources on Youtube, it can feel it a little overwhelming. So we’re going to break down your main options to help you choose the best videos for you.

Your first option is to use a learning channel. These offer educational Spanish videos on various topics and for different levels. Learning channels are an ideal choice for any beginning Spanish student since they generally offer a more structured approach to learning. However, more advanced students can also benefit from picking and choosing lessons on topics they’re struggling with.

The best learning channels:

  • Web Spanish – you learn Spanish through actors taking on various roles such as a policeman or a tour guide. They also keep in touch with students on Skype which is useful.
  • SpanishPod101 – this is a great platform for practicing your Spanish by learning about their culture. They also have videos dedicated to Mexican Spanish.
  • Learn Spanish – great for if you need to focus on your grammar and vocab. Explanations are provided in English so particularly good to get your head around grammar rules.

The next option is subtitled videos. This can be subtitled dubs of your favorite cartoons, any video you find with the option of Spanish subtitles or Spanish videos with English subtitles. This can be a great way to practice your reading and listening skills. Try listening to something in Spanish with Spanish subtitles as well to really enhance your learning.

Our favourite subtitled videos:

  • Spanish Sessions – a learning channel with the added bonus of subtitles, so it’s a doubly useful resource.
  • Spanish cartoons playlist – There are lots of playlists of Spanish cartoons with subtitles on YouTube. Try this one for entertaining classic cartoons in Spanish! Remember to turn on the Spanish subtitles to help improve your reading and follow the story.

One of the simplest ways to learn Spanish is by watching Spanish content. It might be music videos, movie trailers, news channels whatever your interests start consuming them in Spanish. It’s ideal to watch every day. This way, you build from your previous day’s learning and slowly comprehend more.

Our Spanish content recommendations:

  • Yuya – a fun Mexican beauty blogger. So if you’re interested in new makeup looks try following her tutorials in Spanish
  • VICE en Español – VICE’s Spanish language channel is very engaging and gives you plenty of topics to choose from.

Check out our full list of the best 17 Youtube channels to learn Spanish for free.

Spanish Blogs

Learning Spanish with a blog? Is that even a thing? Actually, there are tons of blogs out there written to help you learn Spanish!

Blogs are a great way to benefit from someone else’s experience. There’s a variety of quality blogs out there, some written by English speakers who want to teach and others by native speakers who want to share their language with the world, there’s a wealth of knowledge to benefit from. The majority of blogs you can read for free so this is definitely a cost-effective way to learn!

Our suggestions:

  • Spanish obsessed – Rob from England and Liz from Columbia have a great blog to help you practice your Spanish. They make a brilliant team and also offer a lot of podcasts and audio material alongside their written content. Check out their website for well-structured content and tips to improve your pronunciation.
  • Notes in Spanish – Another one from an Englishman and a Spanish woman, Ben has written podcasts for the likes of the BBC and works together with Marina from sunny Madrid. They offer a wide range of free material for beginners and a ‘gold’ option to get access to their more advanced resources. This is a nice one because they give a percentage of the money they make every year to charity, so your pursuit of language can benefit others too.
  • PeppyBurro – this is a comprehensive Spanish blog site, you can learn everything about Spanish culture including street Spanish and other tips. This site also has useful vocabulary and grammar resources which are worth checking out!

Want a full list of all the amazing Spanish learning blogs out there?  Read our full article and find out how to learn with Spanish blogs.

Retro games controller, Spanish Learning Games featured image

Sometimes learning Spanish can feel like hard work. So if you want to keep practicing without using too much brain power why not learn with games? You’re more likely to learn if you enjoy the material you’re studying, games are just one way to keep your work entertaining.

There’s a big variation in the quality of games you can find online. We’ve taken the time and played some of the available games, for research purposes obviously, and come up with a few we think you’ll like.

Our recommendations:

  • The dialogue game – a great game for practicing conversational skills. You can learn more about the phrases used in everyday conversation and it helps you practice your listening skills.
  • ISLA Learning games – this a great platform and although all the games are pretty basic there’s a nice selection. In particular, the driving game is a fun way or working on your directions vocabulary.
  • PollyLingual – this is a really good paid website, which is actually cheap compared to similar services. However, you can access a lot of beginner games for free. Each topic has a selection of games you can play after you revise, so it’s a really good learning system.

There are so many great Spanish games out there, read our article for the full list of the best games to practice your Spanish skills.

Learn Spanish with Movies

So we’ve just told you that you can play games to learn Spanish, now we’re telling you to watch movies?! Actually immersion in the Spanish language is the best way to learn, so watching films in Spanish is great for your listening comprehension skills. If you watch films with Spanish subtitles you can even work on your reading too!

So your options: you can watch a film in your language with Spanish subtitles, you can watch a Spanish film with Spanish subtitles or you can watch a Spanish film with no subtitles. We would recommend going for the second option, Spanish films with Spanish subtitles. This way you have more of a chance to follow the conversation as you can also read it, but it also forces you to try and think more in Spanish.

Want to Netflix and learn? Then check out our guide of the best films to learn Spanish.

So what films should you watch?

  • Try an old cartoon you know well, maybe a Disney film like Aladdin or Bambi. This way you already know the film well so you won’t get lost and maybe you’ll recognize more words.
  • You could go for a Spanish film like Pan’s Labyrinth, it’s an internationally known film so it’s available in lots of other countries, but it has a Spanish director and it’s great to watch in Spanish.
  • If you’re an advanced learner then any Spanish film will be useful but if you want a challenge try Relatos Salvajes. It’s a 6 episode black comedy, which is considered challenging even for Spanish speakers!
Girl listening to easy Spanish songs

Getting a catchy tune stuck in your head might sound like a bad thing. If that tune has Spanish words to it then it’s actually great for helping you learn.

If you’re often on the go then listening to Spanish songs is perfect because you can multitask while you learn! You’ll be singing Spanish words and practicing your vocab in no time.

It’s the perfect way to work on your listening comprehension. When you listen to a Spanish song you’re usually listening to a native speaker and they can sing quite fast. So this really builds up your skills. You can also work on your pronunciation, make sure you’re saying “Despacito” just right.

Which songs should be on your playlist?

  • Well obviously “Despacito” is a must by Luis Fonsi ft Daddy Yankee
  • Calle 13’s song “Latinoamerica” teaches a lot about this history and culture of Latin America. Focusing on themes like poverty.
  • “Me Gustas Tu” by Mano Chao, you may regret listening to this one because it will be stuck in your head for weeks.
  • Also, don’t forget to include a good dose of Shakira, many of her songs include a lot of Spanish.

Want a full list of songs to listen to every day? Check out our full article which includes tips for learning with Spanish songs.

how to learn spanish with a dictionary

We’ve been talking about great new online technologies you can use to learn, but now let’s talk old school. Learning from a dictionary may sound like something from the dark ages but online Spanish dictionaries are actually a great tool to enhance your learning.

One of the basic ways of using an online tool like a dictionary is when you’re learning whenever you come across a word you don’t know write it down and look it up. This way you keep improving your vocabulary. Or try reading Spanish books or texts and highlighting the words you don’t know and then using a dictionary.

There are online resources like google translate which everyone uses especially on holiday, but there’s also a lot of online dictionaries which are unsung heroes. Sites like PONS, dict.cc and Word Reference are really useful. Learn more about improving your Spanish with dictionaries in our full blog post.

You’re now armed with the full power of the internet to tackle learning Spanish. The best way to really learn the language is to use a combination of all the online learning we’ve discussed. Immerse yourself in Spanish and you’ll find your skills increase in no time!

There’s one thing missing from online learning.

Practice with Native Speakers Online!

You can’t learn a language without speaking it. Which is why here at FU International Academy Tenerife we’re offering online conversational classes!

You get all the benefits of learning from your own home, on your schedule but you can actually learn to speak Spanish! Out native teachers have designed the perfect course for you to reach your speaking goals.

If you think our online conversational classes might be what you need to succeed in Spanish then get in touch!

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