5 BEST PLACES TO LEARN SPANISH
Any of the regions down in the south of Spain are fast-talking, slur fests. It will sound like total gibberish at first but their turbo tongues will force you into learning overdrive if you want to socially survive. The study abroad programs in Cordoba and Sevilla are well-established and great for getting a wrangle on the basics (most classes are taught in Spanish). The unique nightlife in Grenada will push you into conversation over kebabs and hookah. Marbella and Alicante will cover all your beach vocab needs. Swallow your syllables, familiarize yourself with tapas and day-drinking, and acquire that (debateably) sexy lisp at lightening speed.
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA
Often referred to as the “Paris of the South,” Buenos Aires might be a little fancy but luckily, there’s nothing really that French about them, including their native language. Since BsAs is the most popular gateway for backpackers to the rest of South America, there are many established programs around that’ll help you learn Spanish (sometimes in exchange for teaching English.) If starting up a convo in Spanish gives you anxiety, this city has all kinds of lubricants to get the words flowing. If you need a little booze, this place is notorious for its fine wine. Sexual tension holding you back from verbally expressing yourself? BsAs will tango you until you talk dirty. They’re huge sports (futbol) fanatics so going to a game will always score you some conversation partners. And after all is said and done, you can always partake in a little siesta to clear your mind.
If you have a hard time communicating with your lips, you’ll always be able to get the point across with your hips. Music is a universal language and Cubans hold the highest level of proficiency. Cuba is an excellent place to learn Spanish because they live their lives on the streets, and constant mingling creates a strong sense of community. Cubans are a loud bunch and you’ll never endure awkward silences no matter how thick the language barrier may be. When you’re done wrapping your mouth around the language, stick a cigar in it and suck down the smoke of success.
The fourth largest city in Mexico, Puebla is a big metro city that pumps out all kinds of textiles and attracts many students to the Spanish Institute of Puebla due to its rich history and thriving economy. It’s filled with incredible architecture that spans eras and styles, has some of the most beautiful churches and cathedrals, and is the origin of stick-to-your-face mole poblano. Studying Spanish here will help you acquire all the necessary Mexican slang that’ll make sense when you get back home. In your downtime, go see the ruins of nearby Cholula; there are some great pre-Columbian pyramids and thoughts of hot sauce will run through your mind all day.
Well-established language programs are available at local universities in both Granada and less-touristy, Leon. You don’t need to know your past participles from your progressives to enroll and the locals are eager to talk you in their native tongue. If you’ve got the basics down and are looking to practice and fine tune (plus help a great cause), check out Mujeres Solares, an cooperative dedicated to sustainable development and promoting renewable energy in Totogalpa. This program will place you in a homestay (where your Spanish skills will be put to the ultimate test) and put your ass to work on projects like building solar panels and helping kids through secondary school. Want some surfing with your Spanish? Nica’s surfing culture is incredible and we can’t think of a better way to break through the language barrier than bonding over a few ripping waves.