Category Archives: second language

learning project – studying spanish – final evidence of learning

Este es mi post final por mi Proyecto de Aprender, donde yo estudio español. En mi videos, yo hablo con Rebeca. Nos conocimos en 2019 en un viaje de India y Nepal. ¡Muchas gracias por tu ayuda, Rebeca!

(This is my final post for my Learning Project, where I study Spanish. In my videos, I talk with Rebeca. We met in 2019 on a trip to India and Nepal. Thank you very much for your help, Rebeca!)

Donde Yo Soy / Where I Am

In my first update post for this project, I mentioned that I wanted to demonstrate my final learning by recording myself speaking Spanish with someone. I tossed around a few ideas of who I could talk to, but nothing seemed quite right. I thought about conversing with:

  • my sister (she had been learning Spanish on Duolingo, but has since dropped off doing the app, and I didn’t think two beginner learners would be able to have a very good conversation)
  • my uncle (he knows sufficient Spanish to get around in Costa Rica, where he has a vacation home, but he isn’t a native speaker)
  • a user on Tandem (I tried asking someone I had been chatting with for a while if they’d be open to my recording a session of us chatting, but I think they were a bit freaked out by this – reasonably so! haha)

Just as I was beginning to give up hope on my idea of speaking Spanish with someone, Rebeca answered my prayers and, seemingly, fell into my lap! When she followed me on Duolingo, a lightbulb instantly went off – I knew a native Spanish speaker from my previous travels! I asked Rebeca if she would be interested in having a conversation with me on Zoom and she graciously agreed. Last Thursday (day 37 of learning Spanish for me), we sat down for a Zoom conversation and spoke almost entirely (I’d say 95%) in Spanish for about 20 minutes!

I’m sure many people won’t want to listen to a 20 minute conversation in another language, so I have created two different videos that you are welcome to check out below.

This video is a shortened version with some of the ‘highlights’ of our conversation.

If for some reason, you want to check out the ‘full meal deal,’ this is the video for you.

There are chapter titles in the video so viewers can tell what topic we are discussing in each section. I wanted to include the full conversation to have an authentic artifact that captures my progress at this juncture.

Rebeca was an amazing conversational partner, who understood my stilted and hesitant sentences, offered clarifications on things I didn’t know, and provided lots of complimentary feedback! Being able to have a conversation in Spanish with a native speaker was an invaluable experience – I was very nervous, but also left our Zoom conversation buzzing with pride and excitement. Thank you again to Rebeca for being so generous with her time and agreeing to speak with me and be recorded for this project – I literally could not have done it without you!

¿Que Proxima? What Next?

I fully intend to continue learning Spanish, and am hoping to jump into a more intensive language Sprint on Lingoda in the fall. I’d love to learn more vocabulary and increase my knowledge of verbs/conjugations, as that is a weak spot for me right now. In addition, I’d like to expand my ability to speak in present or future tense, as I am currently limited to speaking in present tense. I can’t wait to visit another Spanish speaking country and continue to practice my Spanish!

Thanks everyone for joining me on this journey! It has been an absolute blast and I am left feeling so satisfied with how my Learning Project turned out! I am eternally grateful for the opportunity this course gave me to kick-start my Spanish learning and I will definitely continue with this as a personal goal moving forward.


Until next time,


“drops” in the bucket – testing out another language-learning app

Hi everyone! I’m back with another update on my Learning Project of taking up Spanish. It continues to be ‘muy divertido y interesante’ (very fun and interesting).

I am still keeping up with Duolingo, and am up to a 23 day streak! I continue to enjoy this app. Check out my previous blog post for my review of Duolingo.


This week, I have also been focusing on another app: Drops. This app was suggested to me by Mike A. in a comment on my blog – thanks so much for the recommendation, Mike! Here are a few details about Drops and my thoughts:

  • a language-learning app (acquired by the famous Kahoot! educational platform) with different vocabulary topics you can explore – ex. Counting, Train Trip, Pronouns, Shapes, Food
  • you play on the app for intervals of 5 minutes with a visual timer counting down in the corner, which I like
  • there are a few different screens that pop up during the 5 minute learning intervals; they can get a bit repetitive and a particular one (picture below) where you have to maze your way through spelling the word feels a bit more like a word game than a useful language learning activity to me
  • the app incorporates multiple modes of learning: when it introduces a new word that “drops” in, it will show the written word, play audio of someone saying it, and have a visual picture to represent that term
  • Drops has a daily streak, as well as displaying other stats, such as how many new words you’ve learned, your total accuracy percentage, and accuracy on individual words
  • this app is great if you’d like to expand your vocabulary on specific topics; however, it only involves spelling words, listening to/reading words and then matching them to the correct visual
  • as far as I can tell, there is no speaking element to the app and it only deals with singular words or short phrases, not full sentences
  • there is a paid version called “Premium” that offers some additional perks (like unlimited learning time each day); I signed up for a free trial that lasts for 2 weeks

In conclusion, I will continue to use Drops to keep expanding my topic-specific vocabulary, but I don’t like this app as much as some of the other online tools I’ve tried because of its lack of speaking opportunities and full sentences.

Writing in Spanish – Three Weeks In

One exercise I tried out was writing as much as I could about myself in Spanish without the use of any tools. I did this in a few small chunks of sentences and then inputted my writing into Google Translate as a way to self-check. I had a few small errors and one verb I didn’t know yet (see images below), but overall, I was very impressed with how much I could write after only 3 weeks of wholeheartedly diving into Spanish.

Moving Forward

After completing the writing exercise above, I felt that my writing ability and vocabulary in Spanish were coming along nicely. However, I would also consider these to be the easier skills in a new language, whereas understanding spoken conversations and speaking yourself are more complex and difficult, as they are happening much faster. With that in mind, I’d like to focus specifically on more listening and speaking activities in the weeks ahead.


For listening, I mentioned previously that I could try out some Spanish language-learning podcasts. I have yet to delve into this and would still like to give this a shot. I could also try to watch a show with Spanish subtitles or dubbing, but feel this might be a big jump in difficulty for my current level of understanding. There are also some listening comprehension activities I found here that I could explore further.


In regards to speaking, this is the aspect of Spanish learning that I am most struggling with where to go next. Lingoda was an awesome tool to promote both listening and speaking, but my free trial has ended and I don’t want to dive into the paid version at this time. This is an area that I will have to do some more research into moving forward. If anyone has any suggestions of tools to try, or knows someone who would want to speak a bit of Spanish with me, please let me know!

Hasta luego,