Category Archives: Learning Spanish

aprender español – número dos (learning spanish – number two)

¡Hola todo el mundo! Es Kara con un actualización de español.

(Hi everyone! It’s Kara with a Spanish update.)

In my previous blog post, I shared that I wanted to practice listening to and speaking more Spanish. Enter Tandem, the language exchange app that I decided to try out this week.

I had a lot to say about this app and the other online resources I tested out this week, so I decided to do my update vlog-style again. My video ended up being a bit longer than I anticipated, so no hard feelings if you don’t want to watch all of it. Feel free to scroll down to my written highlights below.

TL; DW (Too Long; Didn’t Watch) Summary

Tandem – a language exchange app where you can chat with native speakers from around the world in a variety of different languages. You get the opportunity to practice the language you want to learn, while also helping out others who want to learn your native language.


  • the app offers both written and audio messaging functions, so you can read, write, listen, and speak in your language of choice
  • the app also offers live video calling (I did not try this function, as I did not feel comfortable)
  • ‘translate’ and ‘comment’ options are embedded right into the messaging platform, so you can translate what someone has said into English if you don’t understand or offer corrections on how to say things properly
  • the app has clearly-defined community guidelines, and you have to be accepted into the community after putting some basic information into your profile
  • there is always someone on the app ready to chat with you
  • way to practice basic get-to-know-you phrases and topics of conversation
  • the app will flag messages that are sketchy or suspicious
  • free version is more than sufficient; don’t need to have the paid version IMO


  • the number of messages and requests to chat can be overwhelming
  • not great if you are only at a beginner level, as you are limited in what you can say and understand (I had Google Translate open while using this app, so I could try to talk about new things and figure out how to say things I didn’t know yet)
  • can be a big time suck (once I got into a conversation with a few people, I would be on the app for over an hour)

Overall, I think Tandem can be an interesting language-learning tool if you are willing to overlook some of its annoying ‘cons.’

News In Slow Spanish – a website that offers short news stories that are 100% written and read aloud in basic Spanish. The website also has podcast-like lessons on a variety of grammar and vocabulary topics that you can listen to (but also read at the same time, as they have included scripts to accompany them).


  • allows you to read about current topics in Spanish and learn new words in an authentic context
  • news articles are read at a slow pace, and you can change the speed to be slower or faster
  • offers pop-up icons with English translations of phrases or words the reader might not know
  • variety of other resources on the website
  • offers beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels of news articles


  • you need a subscription to access full news articles and resources (free trial for one week)

In summary, I really like this platform, but don’t anticipate I will pay $23 US each month to keep this service after my free trial ends.

¿Ahora Que? (What Now?)

  • continue with Duolingo, Drops, and Tandem
  • listen to some Spanish-learning podcasts
  • check out some Spanish content on TikTok

¡Gracias por leer mi publicación! (Thanks for reading my post!)

Hasta la proxima vez (Until next time),


aprender español – número uno (learning spanish – number one)

Hola amigos! Yo soy Kara y buenas noches!

(Hi friends! I’m Kara and good evening!)

I had a LOT to say about my first few weeks learning Español and didn’t want to have a novel of a blog post, so decided to try my first ever vlog – I even did it in one take! Feel free to watch it on double speed if you want to skim through – no hard feelings here! Or check out my TL;DW (Too Long; Didn’t Watch) summary below.



  • Online language learning course (offers multiple languages, not just Spanish) where you take hour-long classes on Zoom with native Spanish speakers and others who are learning Spanish at the same level as you
  • I did a 7 day free trial, which offered 3 free classes (one hour each)
  • I took an Orientation class first, then a class called “Hola!” (Hello) where we learned to introduce ourselves and say hi, and the final one was “¿Cómo Estás?” (How Are You?) where we learned to say how we are feeling and ask others how they are doing
  • You can book classes at virtually any time of the day (various offerings of different classes at every time of day)
  • Slides for the classes are available ahead of time to preview and download with instructor annotations afterwards
  • Materials are 100% in Spanish and instructors speak mostly Spanish (unless you ask what something means in English), so you are fully immersed in the language
  • I’m hoping to try a Sprint (more intensive learning for a short period of time) in the fall – option to get 50% or 100% of your money back if you attend all of your classes
  • Pros: immersive experience, lots of speaking Spanish, helpful materials, easy-to-use website, lots of options for bookings,
  • Cons: pricey if you want the paid version, free trial only had 3 classes available


  • Popular language-learning app that is designed to feel like a game to keep users engaged
  • Get a ‘streak’ for consecutive days spent completing lessons
  • Free trial available for “Super Duolingo” (paid version of the app with unlimited hearts, no ads, additional features like previous mistakes you can review) – lasts 2 weeks
  • I finished the first Section called “Rookie” (level A1 of Spanish – very beginner) and am currently at a 15 day streak
  • Learned mostly basic sentences and words (I have, I want, foods, clothing, places, travel-related words, etc.)
  • Pros: engaging and fun, various kinds of challenges (writing, speaking, reading, listening, etc.), streak helps keep you motivated to keep at it, can follow friends who are also using Duolingo
  • Cons: can get repetitive, will be hard to get used to the regular version once my free trial runs out

I have, honestly, gone pretty hard the first two weeks of my project, so am feeling a bit lost of where to take my Spanish learning next. Here are my goals moving forward:

  • Keep my streak going on Duolingo for the duration of this project
  • Try out some other Spanish learning resources (websites, games, YouTube, podcasts, TikTok?)
  • Record a brief video of myself speaking Spanish at the end of this project (maybe see if my sister or someone else I know will do a basic conversation in Spanish with me?)

Muchos gracias por leer mi post!

(Thanks so much for reading my post!)

Until next time (Hasta luego),