• LANGUAGE LEARNING WITH VIDEO GAMES: HOW TO MAKE GAMES AN EFFECTIVE LEARNING TOOL

    When it comes to learning languages, the expression “all work and no play…” is true. Without any playtime, language learning can be dull.

    That’s not to say there isn’t value in doing the book work – there is a ton of value. It just means that it isn’t all you should do.

    Finding a way to engage with your language beyond hitting the books is important to not only succeeding in your learning, but in connecting with the language on deeper level.

    Media has been used for generations as a medium for language learning. Films, television shows, books, and music have all proven powerful methods for immersing yourself in your new language. But there’s another powerful way to learn a language through rich context and interaction. A method that makes the language that you learn more memorable because of all the connections you form while doing it.

    Video games can be a powerful language learning tool, and there are loads of different ways to use them to maximize the time you spend both playing and learning.

    I’ll get into just what these are in a moment, but before I do, I want to share a word of warning. This post is massive.

    There’s a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get started.

    Level 1: Introduction to Learning a Language with Video Games

    In addition to being the language enthusiast behind Eurolinguiste, I’m also a gamer. I’ve used video games to improve or maintain a variety of languages on a variety of systems and I’ve found it to be a highly effective element of my language learning routines.

    My history with gaming dates back to my early childhood when my brother and I would hijack our dad’s NES system to play Ice Hockey and Super Mario Bros., huddle around our neighbor’s Sega Genesis to take turns at Sonic the Hedgehog, or rack up points for tricks in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater on the original Playstation.

    As I got older, entered the realm of PC games, and realized I could lock my brother out of my saves by swapping the game language, games were no longer entertainment but a learning tool. My curiosity peaked, I suddenly enjoyed the challenge of playing games in new languages and in figuring out enough of the walkthrough I found online in a different language to get to that next level.

    Today, I play games almost entirely in other languages. It’s only when support for a language I know isn’t available that I resort to playing in English.

    Some of my favorite games are The Legend of Zelda and Skyrim, so they’ll make quite a few appearances in the examples below.

    The Stigma Behind Gaming as a Learning Tool

    Video games still to this day often get a bad wrap. I’m sure at some point in your life you’ve heard someone say they’re useless or a waste of time, but studies have shown that there are a surprising number of cognitive benefits to playing video games. In fact, in an article from Psychology Today, the author states, “The bulk of the research suggests that the claims about negative effects of video gaming are largely myths and the positive effects are real.” 

    These include everything from improved visual processes, improvements in spacial attention and the ability to track objects, reduced impulsiveness, overcoming dyslexia, improved problem solving, improved ability to multitask, increased mental flexibility, and more. Plus, your time spent playing video games can also count as language study time if you play your cards right.

    Why Learning a Language with Video Games Works

    When we find ways to make what we’re learning more engaging, it becomes more memorable. And when you’re playing a game, you’re highly engaged.

    The interaction, the processing and the figuring out that goes on while playing all add up to an immersive and interactive language learning experience.

    Here are just a few ways video games can be a powerful language learning tool:

    Repetition

    The more you see something, the more likely you are to remember. Games are a great place to get repetition. There’s a good chance that there’s a limited set of moves/options you have as you play, so you’ll get a lot of exposure to the vocabulary for these actions. Plus, most games today have a story of some sort, so you’ll get repetition in the narration as well. Finally, there also tends to be a limited number of objects or places you interact with within the game, so these too offer you plenty of repetition.

    Procrastination Becomes Action

    If you’re into playing video games, there’s a good chance it’s one of the things you do when you put off doing your “work”. But when you use games to learn a language, suddenly your procrastination becomes action. Your playing becomes a learning opportunity.

    Pressure

    When you don’t understand what’s going on in the game, there’s a good chance you’ll lose (or your character will die). This can be frustrating, so it’s a good incentive to learn fast.

    Positive Association

    A big part of why we have a hard time sitting down to spend time with our languages is because it feels like work. Flashcards, textbooks, and study aren’t often high on the “fun” list for many, but games are. When you associate language learning with gaming, you’re creating a positive association. And this positive association makes it easier to sit down and do it.

    Context

    When you study random word lists or even a themed chapter in your course book, what you’re learning can feel a little out of context. Do you really need to know how to buy a train ticket in German? What if you never travel to the country? If, however, you find that knowing how to investigate certain areas at a train station to get to the next level is important, you’ll have a context for picking up that vocabulary. It’ll suddenly be much easier and much more engaging than simply reading dialogues in a book, memorizing a word list, and doing workbook exercises.

    Friends

    There is a community for almost every major game worldwide. This means there’s a good chance you can find a group of people who speak your target language and who love the same games as you. Whether it’s through an online game, forums about the game, or other message boards, there are tons of ways you can connect with people who share your interests.

    Accessibility

    Don’t want to invest in platform games? No problem. If you own a phone or a computer, you can still get all of the benefits of games without having to buy a gaming system.

    Level 2: The Setup

    To get started with gaming in a new language is simple. In the past, if you wanted to enjoy games in different languages, you often had to buy the version of the both the system and the games from the country that speaks your language (I may or may not have bought a Japanese version of the Nintendo 64 along with the Japanese versions of the Zelda games and by may, I mean I definitely did). Instead, changing the language today is just a matter of changing the settings.

    There are two places you can change the language settings of your video games.

    The first place to change the settings is within the system or computer itself. This means, if you’re using Steam, you’ll change your Steam settings to your language of choice. If you’re using a Wii Switch or an Xbox, you’ll change your system settings.

    Here are links to do this for many of the major platforms. How to change the language settings for your:

    Second, you’ll want to change the settings for the game itself. Often, changing your system’s settings will also change the language settings for your game (but not always).

    When changing your game language, you first want to be conscious of what languages are available. Some games have subtitles or captions available in more languages than they do audio (this means that sometimes I may play a game with the audio in one language and the subtitles in another). And certain games only have support for a limited number of languages.

    If you’re not sure if a game is available in the language you’re studying, you can often check the game description. This will let you know if you can enjoy the game in your language or if you need to look elsewhere.

    Finding Games in Your Language

    Getting games in your language doesn’t need to be a challenge. If you live in a country where your target language is spoken, it’s as simple as walking down to the nearest game or electronics store. But if you don’t, Steam is one of the best alternatives.

    Steam is an online gaming platform that gives you access to an incredible selection of games for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS. And the best part? You can filter all of those games by language.

    And, not only can you search for games by language, but you can also search by games developed in specific countries. That means you can find games developed by the country of your target language, ensuring that you get high-quality content in your language.

    Buying Compatible Consoles, Downloading Audio/Subtitles

    When all else fails, or if you’re into some of the more classic games like me, you can always buy a game console from the region that speaks your target language. You may need to buy converters or adaptors so that you can power it on safely, but it’s a great way to get around having to tweak settings or worry about what’s available and what isn’t.

    Some games also have player-generated subtitles or audio that you can download. These aren’t always the best quality, but depending on what is available otherwise, might sometimes be better than nothing.

    Level 3: Types of Games and Their Content

    Not sure if video games are your thing? Don’t worry.

    There are tons of different types of games out there and there’s a good chance you’ll find something you think is entertaining and engaging. Here are just a few of the game genres out on the market:

    Online Multiplayer Games

    First, I’ll cover a broad genre of video game. Many of the genres below can also be online multiplayer games (though not all). What’s the difference?

    With online multiplayer games, you interact with other players within the game (rather than play by yourself). In some of these games, you may work as a part of a team and in others, you may just “run into” other players as you progress through the game. These types of games also have chat features, so you are able to interact with other players in the game beyond any in-game dialogue or actions.

    Some of the most popular games in this genre are World of Warcraft and League of Legends.

    Interactive Movies

    If you enjoy a good story with some interactivity, interactive movies and visual novels are a great option. These games are often called “interactive fiction” and they contain a lot of dialogue.

    Popular games in this genre include Game of Thrones, the Walking Dead, and even Myst.

    Action Games

    Action games cover a wide variety of options – everything from platform games (like Donkey Kong) to first person shooters (like Call of Duty). These games rely on the response of the player, so you may often find yourself more focused on the gameplay than the language content.

    Popular games in this genre include Super Mario, Call of Duty, Guitar Hero, and Doom.

    Role Playing

    RPG games, or role playing games, feature a character who moves through a storyline. The world often includes monsters, towns, dungeons, and castles, as well as character development (leveling up, gaining skills, and experience). Often, the player has a choice in how the unfolds and this is determined by how they interact in the world.

    Games in this genre include The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, and Skyrim.

    Simulation

    Simulation games are games where some aspect of fantasy or related is simulated. This may include running a business, a city, vehicle simulation or life simulation.

    Some of these games include FlightGear, the Sims, SimCity, and Tamagotchi.

    Strategy

    Strategy games are games that require critical thinking and planning in order to win the game. This often include games with battle tactics and other war-games.

    Within this genre are games such as Civilizations, Age of Empires, and Fire Emblem.

    Sports

    Sports games include racing games, sports and competitive games, and sports-based fighting games. They are a form of simulation games, but specifically built around sports.

    Within this genre are games like FIFA, Pong, and Grand Turismo.

    Games for Children

    There are many educational games targeted at children, but just because they’re built for a younger audience doesn’t mean that you won’t get a lot out of them.

    Companies like Nickelodeon and Disney have a wide variety of games for younger players in other languages (Juegos Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. France, or Disney Japan). Because the games are simple and targeted towards an audience with a limited vocabulary (relatively), they’re an easy entry point and often very educational. https://kids.disney.co.jp/game.html

    Language Learning Games

    In addition to playing games in other languages, you can play games that are designed for language learners specifically.

    These games are still focused on acquiring a new language, but they’re presented as a part of an engaging platform.

    In this genre, you have games like InFluent, Drops, and My Chinese Coach.

    Text Rich Games VS Games with Little Text

    When selecting games, bear in mind that the content you can use for language learning will differ drastically. Some games will have more audio dialogue, others more written instructions, and others still a mixture of the two. Depending on the language you’re learning and the stage you’re at, having a lot of audio content can be extremely helpful. It encourages to work on your listening comprehension. On the other hand, if you’re a beginner in your language, playing a game with mostly audio instructions may prove too much of a challenge and a game with a lot of text dialogue may be better suited to your level.

    If you’re not sure what the audio and text content of a certain game will be like, you can do a search on Youtube for “[name of game] gameplay” to get a quick impression of what the game is like.

    A point worth noting is that it is good to try out a variety of game types so that you’re sure to get a mix of audio and text input.

    Level 4: How to Use That Content to Learn a Language

    Now that you know what your options are for games, here’s how you can get the most out of your combined gaming and language learning experience:

    • Join a community of some sort. Whether it’s the community of an online multiplayer game or the forums on Steam, there’s likely a community of gamers who speak your target language. Find them and take part in the conversation.
    • If the game is online, choose servers where your language is spoken. Several years ago, I played an online game on my phone where joining a guild was critical to your success in the game. I found that if I joined the French servers, it was a great opportunity for me to practice French.
    • Try your best to use your target language. Even if the people you interact with speak English, do your best to keep the conversation in the language you’re learning.
    • Play at times when players from the country that speaks your language are online. You’re more likely to have a chance to interact with them.
    • Play a game where some of the vocabulary intersects with how you use the language outside of gaming. For example, a game like the Sims is great for learning the names of everyday objects whereas a game like Fancy Skiing might be a better option if one of your hobbies is skiing.
    • Experiment with the text and audio in the game. Because many games let you set one language for text and another language for audio, you can play with these settings to maximize your comprehension.
    • Make sure you choose a game that you enjoy because you’re most likely to learn from a game that you enjoy playing.
    • Just playing the game won’t teach you the language. You need to engage with the game and look up unfamiliar words. I usually add any frequent, unfamiliar words to my Memrise decks and do a bit of review between play sessions.

    Level 5: Going Beyond the Games Themselves

    Beyond the games themselves, there are tons of ways to use gaming and the gaming community to work on your language.

    Not only will the following methods help you get more exposure to your language, but it will also give you the chance to produce in the language (speak and write).

    Twitch, Mixer, and YouTube Games

    Twitch, Mixer and YouTube Games are online streaming services that many gamers use to share their playing. And the best part – you can find game vloggers who speak a variety of languages.

    When using this platform, the best way to find streams in your target language is by looking up the name of the games that interest you in your target language. The easiest way I’ve found to do this is by looking up a game on Wikipedia and then changing the article language. So, for example, the Legend of Zelda in Korean would be 젤다의 전설. I can then use that to search for streams about Zelda in Korean. You can then favorite the channels so that you can follow their game streams in the future.

    Twitch and Mixer, in particular, allow streamers to set their broadcast language. And that means you can search for streams by language.

    And since it’s slightly more difficult to find YouTube gamers by language, here are just a few to get you started:

    FrenchCyprienGaming
    German – Yankeeunit91
    SpanishelrubiusOMG
    Chinese (Taiwanese)RSPannie72127
    Japanese – Pazudoraya
    Russian – Bullseye 

    Game Forums

    Because the gaming community is so large, there are tons of communities around the world that start up discussions about the games that they enjoy.

    One particular forum style site is Reddit. There, you can find several threads about games in different languages such as French, Spanish or German.

    Walkthroughs

    Walkthroughs are available as either text or video. For example, Beam is a German gamer who provides detailed walkthroughs in German and on Next Stage, you can find French game walkthroughs.  The popular gaming site IGN is also available in a wide selection of languages, and they have very well written walkthroughs for a large number of games.

    Blogs

    In addition to all of the above, there are also game blogs and review sites where you can read about the games that you enjoy (or find out about new games) like this one in French. http://hitek.fr/test/ubisoft-assassins-creed-origins_1479

    To Sum Up: Choose Wisely

    In gaming, there are a lot of ways you can get exposure to your language, but there’s one thing worth noting before you dive in.

    Choose wisely.

    Before converting your study time over to games, consider what your goals are in learning the language. While it may be fun to play certain games, not all of the language you learn may be useable outside of the gaming environment.

    For example, some games use a lot of fantasy (or invented) vocabulary, others have a lot of words that focus on weapons or attacks, while others still may be strictly sports vocabulary.

    It’s alright to choose games that cover this territory if it’s something you’re interested in (and that you’ll discuss). Plus, you’ll pick up some grammar along the way. But if you’d like to have conversations about anything not covered in a game, make sure that it’s not the only thing you do.

    By complementing your other resources with video games, you can banish the guilt from procrastination, inject a bit of genuine fun into your learning, and master niche and varied language by actually using it to get epic wins!

    What about you?

    Do you play games in your language? What games do you play and in which languages? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

    July 16, 2018 • Language Resources • Views: 1919

  • International Festivals in Southern California | Experience the World Without the Plane Ticket

    Going abroad isn’t always possible, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on experiencing new foods, exciting music, or on exploring different cultures.

    Living in Southern California, I don’t have to go far to get a taste of what it might be like to visit Greece, Romania, or Lebanon. Various international festivals are held across Southern California throughout the year. This means that if I want to experience la dolce vita Italian-style, try out German beers, or indulge in different street foods, there are plenty of opportunities each month to do just that.

    Here are just a few of my favorite International Festivals in Southern California

    626 Night Market – Arcadia, CA

    A post shared by Shannon Kennedy (@eurolinguiste) on Jul 22, 2017 at 9:03pm PDT


    The 626 Night Market is an Asian-inspired night market. The vendors include a mix of food, crafts, merchandise, art, games, music, and more and the event sees as many as tens of thousands of attendees. It’s held at Santa Anita Park (a racecourse).

    Where: 
    285 W Huntington Dr
    Arcadia, CA 91007

    When: June- September

    More Information

    OC Night Market – Costa Mesa, CA

    A post shared by Shannon Kennedy (@eurolinguiste) on May 25, 2017 at 8:57pm PDT


    The OC Night Market is the smaller sibling to the 626 Night Market. It’s held at the OC Fairgrounds and features more than 200 food vendors, activities, and entertainment options.

    Where:
    88 Fair Dr
    Costa Mesa, CA 92626

    When: Spring & Summer

    More Information

    OC Greek Fest – Anaheim, CA

    A post shared by Shannon Kennedy (@eurolinguiste) on May 20, 2018 at 5:43pm PDT


    Held at St. John’s church in Anaheim, California is the OC Greek Fest. It’s both your standard pop-up fairgrounds (they have small rides and arcades), but with a Greek flair. The featured foods include everything from Loukoumades to Gyros, Baklava to Feta Fries.

    Where:
    405 N Dale Ave
    Anaheim, CA 92801

    When: May

    More Information

    Irvine Korean Festival

    A post shared by Shannon Kennedy (@eurolinguiste) on May 16, 2016 at 1:23pm PDT


    I first stumbled upon the Irvine Korean Festival by chance. A friend and I happened to be in the area when we drove past the event, so we decided to circle back. We were able to explore a variety of Korean arts and crafts, street foods, and music. 

    Where:
    1 Civic Center Plaza
    Irvine, CA 92606

    When: May

    More Information

    Little Saigon Night Market – Westminster, CA

    A post shared by Shannon Kennedy (@eurolinguiste) on Jul 25, 2017 at 5:58am PDT


    The Little Saigon Night Market is a Vietnamese-inspired night market held at the Asian Garden Mall in Westminster. The event is small, but the foods and entertainment at the event make it feel much larger. I definitely recommend the cakes and sugarcane drinks!

    Where:
    9200 Bolsa Ave
    Westminster, CA 92683

    When: June – September

    More Information

    La Dolce Vita – Laguna Niguel, CA

    A post shared by Shannon Kennedy Sax (@sksaxgirl) on Oct 5, 2013 at 6:28pm PDT


    Stomping grapes was on my bucket list until I visited La Dolce Vita and had the chance to cross it off. Hosted near the infamous Ziggurat building in Laguna Niguel, this Italian festival features a collection of Italian vendors, foods, and music. Olive oil taste test anyone?

    Where:
    El Lazo
    Laguna Niguel, CA 92656

    When: Fall

    More Information

    Long Beach Greek Festival – Long Beach, CA

    The Long Beach Greek Festival showcases cooking demonstrations, shopping, dancing, live music, and food. Plus, they’re not far from the ocean! 

    Where:
    5761 East Colorado St
    Long Beach, CA 90814

    When: September

    More Information

    San Diego International Beer Festival – San Diego, CA

    Choose from over 400+ beers from more than 200 breweries around the world. Plus, they offer drinking games and contests as well as a look behind the scenes at the brewing process.

    Where:
    Del Mar Fairgrounds
    2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd.
    Del Mar, CA 92014

    When: June

    More Information

    California Irish Festival – Perris, CA

    Food trucks, live music and entertainment, and beer gardens are featured at the California Irish Festival in Upland, California. You can indulge in Irish nachos, corned beef boxty, or bangers and mash all while enjoying Irish music.

    Where:
    18700 Lake Perris Dr.
    Perris, CA 92571

    When: March

    More Information

    Alpine Village Oktoberfest – Torrance, CA

    Dedicated to German beer, food, and entertainment is the Alpine Village Oktoberfest in Torrance. Hosted at the Alpine Village, a Bavarian-style center with restaurants, shops, and more, the event is said to be the longest-running Oktoberfest in Los Angeles County.

    Where:
    19800 S Vermont Ave
    Torrance, CA 90502

    When: September – October

    More Information

    Taste of Greece – Irvine, CA

    Located at St. Paul’s Church in Irvine is the Taste of Greece Festival, a small, local event held each year and a nice way to spend the afternoon. You can enjoy Greek fare, music, and dancing – plus, take a free tour of the church.

    Where:
    4949 Alton Pkwy
    Saint Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church
    Irvine, CA 92604

    When: June

    More Information

    Irvine Global Village Festival – Irvine, CA

    The Irvine Global Village Festival features a little bit of everywhere, as true to its name. Across five stages it hosts more than 100 performances. Additionally, you can enjoy a variety of foods, activities, crafts, displays, and shopping.

    Where:
    6950 Marine Way
    Irvine, CA 92618

    When: September

    More Information

    Irish Fair & Music Festival – Irvine, CA

    The Orange County Great Park also hosts the Irish Fair & Musical Festival, a celebration of Irish-American culture and heritage. The event hosts a variety of sports, music, and it even has a spotlight on the Irish language.

    Where:
    6950 Marine Way
    Irvine, CA 92618

    When: June

    More Information

    Scottish Fest – Costa Mesa, CA

    Enjoy Highland dances, more than 400 pipers and drummers, Scottish sports, shopping, food and more at the Scottish Fest in Costa Mesa. It’s the perfect place to pick up a kilt.

    Where:
    88 Fair Dr
    Costa Mesa, CA 92626

    When: May

    More Information

    OC Lebanese Festival – Orange, CA

    Enjoy Lebanese cuisine, music, and even Hookah at the OC Lebanese Festival in Orange.

    Where:
    300 S Flower St
    Orange, CA 92868

    When: June

    More Information 

    Be Romanian for a Day – Rolling Hills Estates, CA

    Experience Romanian culture, food, and music at this annual festival in Rolling Hills Estates. There are costume exhibitions and opportunities to use the language with the Romanian expat community.

    Where:
    25851 Hawthorne Blvd
    Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274

    When: May

    More Information

    Lunar New Year Festival – Monterey Park, CA

    Experience Lunar New Year as a part of the Monterey Park Lunar New Year Festival. Enjoy food, entertainment and other activities spread out over five blocks.

    Where:
    1588 Corporate Center Drive
    Monterey Park, CA 91754

    When: January – February

    More Information

    Tet Festival – Costa Mesa, CA

    The Tet Festival is a Vietnamese-influenced festival held at the OC Fairgrounds each year to celebrate the lunar new year. With live entertainment, food, rides, and shopping, there’s plenty to see and do.

    Where:
    88 Fair Dr
    Costa Mesa, CA 92686

    When: February

    More Information

    International Festival at Soka University – Aliso Viejo, CA

    For nearly two decades, Soka University has hosted its International Festival. Its vendors include a variety of crafts, foods, entertainment, and activities.

    Where:
    1 University Drive
    Aliso Viejo, CA 92656

    When: May

    More Information

    Pro Tips for Attending these Events:

    • Many of the venues and vendors are cash only, so come prepared.
    • Be sure to drink lots of water! It’s important to keep cool and hydrated, especially in crowded, warm, and lively areas.
    • Be adventurous. Try foods that might be outside what you’d normally eat, sit down and take in the entertainment, and enjoy the activities offered.

    July 14, 2018 • Travel • Views: 109

  • USING NETFLIX TO LEARN A LANGUAGE: STUDY LANGUAGES WITH TV

    Learning a language can be challenging. It takes time and effort. And sometimes, you can’t help but wonder what you were thinking when you started. But what if language learning could be fun? What if you could watch your favorite tv series while you learn?

    This is exactly what I’ve done with Netflix. I’ve found a way to use it to my advantage, and I want to share it with you.

    Why Learn a Language with Netflix?

    Today, Netflix is one of the most convenient ways to indulge in our latest tv obsessions. With over 125 million subscribers it is also one of the most popular ways to stream the latest and greatest.

    Not only can you choose from a huge range of series, movies, and documentaries, but you can also watch whatever you want from wherever you want. Even offline.

    With series from all over the world and movies in many different languages it is very easy to find something in the language you want and with subtitles in different languages.

    It is also as easy to switch audio and subtitle languages as you’re watching. You have the freedom to try out any number of subtitle and audio combinations in real time.

    We Use Netflix Either Way, So Why Not Use It Wisely?

    On average, people spend one and a half hours a day watching something Netflix. So why not use that time wisely by learning a language while you do it? With Netflix, you have the ability to do it your way – with a series you’re already watching or by indulging in something new in its original language.

    By watching a series from a country where the language you want to learn is spoken, you will not only learn the language but also get insight into the people who speak it and the culture tied to it.

    Are you sold on the benefits?

    Great. You may now find yourself wondering just how to use Netflix to learn a language. Listening is a very important part of that strategy.

    You may know a ton of words in your language by sight, but if someone talks to you and you don’t understand him what good does that knowledge do you?

    This is why Netflix is a great way to get exposure to the language and to boost your listening. Plus, you can use it to boost your vocabulary.

    And the best part is, by watching tv series, that vocabulary includes useful words you might never learn in a book or app.

    Who is Learning with Netflix for?

    Netflix can be used at any stage in your learning. In the beginning, you can use it to start getting used to the way language sounds, its rhythm and how its really used by native speakers.

    Over time, you’ll have the chance to improve your listening comprehension and really start to understand people when they speak. You will also get used to processing the language at a normal speed as spoken by native speakers.

    As you progress, you can use Netflix to pick up new vocabulary. This is great not just because you’ll learn the everyday words you need, but also the colloquial way of speaking from native people. You will learn common expressions you might not otherwise get exposure to without visiting the country.

    Once you can speak the language, watching tv series is a great way to keep up your exposure to the language.

    The Netflix “School” of Language Learning

    Let’s jump into how I have used Netflix to learn.

    I started learning Portuguese and used Netflix a lot to help me. Now I am able to understand a lot, and because this method is so effective, I’ve also started to use it with Korean.

    The first step is to find a series that you want to watch. I recommend finding a series that covers an area or genre you’re interested in. And it should originally be in the language you want to learn (not an overdub).

    By doing this, you avoid poor translations and picking up any inaccuracies. It is also a great way to learn more about the language’s culture.

    Because you are going to use it as a learning tool, you won’t want to watch a lot of episodes at once. No binge-watching here! You should also have pen and paper ready.

    Using this method, you will watch short segments of the series. Usually in the range of 5 minutes. I recommend no longer than 10 minutes at a time, especially at the beginning.

    Round One

    Once you’ve selected the series you want to watch, it is time to start watching. The first time you tune in, you are going to watch the series in its original version (the language you want to learn) with subtitles also in the original language.

    In Round One, the rules are simple. Just watch and do your best to understand what is happening through context. This round is so that you can start getting used to the sounds of the language.

    As you improve in the language, you can do this first time without subtitles.

    Round Two

    Round Two is all about understanding what is being said in full. This means that this time around, you’ll change the subtitles into your native language.

    This time you will understand everything, maybe not in the language that you want to learn, but you will know what the series is about and what is happening because you are reading it in your native language.

    You might have understood some things the first time you watched it, or some you thought you did but were not sure. Now you will realize how much you actually understood the first time.

    Round Three

    In Round Three, you will watch it again in the language you want to learn with subtitles in the same language. This time have pen and paper ready. Plan to hit pause a few times as you’re watching.

    When you begin this time, one of the first things you’ll notice is that you understand more than the first time you listened. Thanks to reading the second pass in your native language, you can now understand a few words.

    On this third viewing, you are going to hit pause every time you have trouble understanding. Rewind and write down the phrase you had trouble with. Because you’re using the subtitles, you will have the subtitles to reference as you’re writing.

    Even though it may feel as though you’re writing down a lot, take pride in the fact that you’re writing down far less than you would have if you had done this step in Round One.

    Translating the Words

    Now that you have written all the words down, it’s time to translate them. Look for the translation on the internet or on a dictionary (not by watching again with the subtitles in your native language).

    This way the words will stick because you’re giving them a new context.

    Do this for about 5 to 10 minutes. The shorter amount of time you do this, the more you can focus, and the easier this task will be.

    As you understand more, you will need to write fewer words, so if you’re up for the challenge, you can always increase the time.

    Once this step is done, you can watch the entire episode once more (without having to pause) so that you enjoy the entire storyline uninterrupted and with greater understanding.

    At Which Stage Can I Start This Method?

    When you start this method depends a bit on which language you are learning. The more similar it is to your native language (or a language you already know), the more manageable this method is.

    If it is similar to a language you already know (and with the same writing system), you can start right away. That’s what I did with Portuguese. Since I knew Spanish, I was able to start using this method on Day 1.

    If I were learning a more distant language like Polish, on the other hand, I would wait to start after I knew a few basic words or phrases. I would also likely start with a kids show or a “soft” comedy with more accessible vocabulary.

    For languages with a different writing system, I’d do the following…

    Learning Korean with the Netflix School of Language Learning

    Up to this point, I’ve discussed this method generally. That way, you can apply it to any language. I focused only on using it with languages which are similar to those I already know, but now, I’m going to dive deep and share how I’m applying this same method with Korean.

    Why is it different with Korean?

    With Korean, the most notable difference is the new writing system. When learning a language with a different writing system, it means you have to deal with subtitles using that writing system. So you need to know how to read it.

    Another thing that can make this very complicated, especially for people that have never had contact with a language this distant from their own, is that it will sound very different. There are fewer cognates and loanwords, so they’ll be less vocabulary you’ll recognize by association. Very often, it will sound more like random sounds than words. It’s difficult to figure out when a word starts or finishes.

    At least at the beginning…

    How to Apply Learning With Netflix to Korean

    You might be wondering whether or not it’s possible to use this method with Korean. My answer? A resounding yes!

    My only tip is to wait just a little bit longer along your language learning journey to apply it.

    Since the writing system is different, I first recommend taking some time getting acquainted with it. Before beginning, I recommend being comfortable the letters or characters (even if you don’t understand what you’re reading). If not, there is no way that you will be able to follow along with the subtitles.

    The Korean alphabet is pretty easy to learn. And bonus – while getting familiar with the alphabet, you’ll pick up a lot of words and phrases.

    When you start to apply the Netflix method, this is great because you’ll already understand some Korean.

    Once you’ve become comfortable reading you can start applying the method, in the same way, I explained before.

    Why Learning a Language with Netflix Works

    Listening is a very important part of the language learning process. You need to be able to understand what other people say to you in order to be able to converse and use your language.

    It can often be difficult to get exposure to language so that you’re ready to use it when the occasion arises.

    That’s why watching a series or films is so effective. It’s something that you can do easily from the comfort of your couch.

    You also get to hear how people speak, the expressions they use and the more colloquial way of speaking.

    When I was learning English, I watched every movie and every tv series I could in the original version. In result, my listening comprehension skills allowed me to understand everything I heard when people talked to me.

    Of course, to really converse, you’ll also need to practice speaking. But using this method to boost your listening skills is a great way to get started along the right path.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning with Netflix works. And it’s a fun way to learn — better than the usual listening material aimed at learners.

    You can choose what you want to watch. And by choosing something that interests you, you’re more motivated to learn.

    If you find movies and a series that you really like, you’ll be eager to understand without subtitles. You can more fully immerse yourself in the story that way. That’s certainly the case for me with Korean.

    If you’re already watching stuff on Netflix, it’s simple to start using that time wisely. What better way to learn a new language than by enjoying your favorite tv series?

    If you try it out let me know what you think. I’d love to hear if it helps you and if you have any suggestions for improving this method. Let me know what language you are learning in the comments below.

    About the Author: I am Carla and speak 4 languages, and I am on the journey to learning my 5th. Together with Oliver, I run Exciting Adventure where we share our journey on becoming digital nomads, as well as travel and language learning tips. I believe that everybody should do what they love and that is why I started the blog.

    July 2, 2018 • Language Resources • Views: 1382

  • Clear The List | Monthly Language Learning Strategies Update | July

    This month, I completed my Add1Challenge Day 90 video pretty early for Korean. My teacher needed to travel, so the last few weeks of the challenge, I went full throttle with my Korean studies. 

    I was pretty nervous about needing to record my Day 90 long before the deadline, but on Day 64 I took a deep breath, hit record, and made it 16 minutes. 

    Now that my Korean project is done, I will continue to do some low-level maintenance on the language so that I don’t lose what I’ve learned until my teacher returns. But I have a new project or two in mind based on a few travel plans I have in the coming months.

    On to #clearthelist …

    If you’re new around these parts, #clearthelist is a linkup where we share our monthly goals, and by we, I mean myself, and Lindsay of Lindsay Does Languages.

    We’d absolutely love for you to a part of our community. You can join us by adding a link to your own goal post below.

    So let’s get started, sharing our goals and motivating one another to #clearthelist!

    Please feel free to tag your posts or photos with either #clearthelist on your favorite social media channels!

    Last Month’s Highlights on Instagram

    A post shared by Shannon Kennedy (@eurolinguiste) on Jun 26, 2018 at 9:12am PDT

    Last Month’s Blog Highlights

    Travel

    Where to Find Croatian Food in Southern California // Plus  Croatian food vocabulary.

    Two Days in Asunción // A fun guest post from Lindsay Does Languages.

    Language Learning

    5 Tools I Use to Keep My Language Projects and Resources Organized // How I keep on top of my language learning tasks.

    Stop Planning to Learn a Language // And just do it.

    The Ultimate List of Language Resources for Spanish Learners // Native material for Spanish learners including books, podcasts, tv shows, and songs. 

    Last Month’s Goals

    Continue filling the gaps in my Mandarin vocabulary I’ve noticed since Little Linguist’s arrival. // A permanent item on my monthly list.

    Read the next Language Reading Challenge book on my list. // In June, we read a book on learning strategies (any learning strategy, not just language related). I read a book called Never Split the Difference. It is about negotiating, which I believe to be an aspect of conversation and thus, a useful skill to learn as a language enthusiast. 

    Keep working through my YouTube Queue.  // I watched many of the Korean lessons I had bookmarked, but I’m making really good progress overall. 

    Continue to meet my daily goal on LingQ for Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Russian. // Yup! I love watching my word count add up.

    Add1Challenge // I completed my Day 90 video for Korean, but I’m still taking part in the Intermediate challenge (Add1Advance) for Japanese. I have a few weeks left of videos to record, but I’m really enjoying the challenge, my Mastermind, and getting so much practice!

    Fun Interview with Olly Richards of I Will Teach You a Language

    This past month, I had an opportunity to chat with Olly Richards about introverted language learning and minimalism in language learning. 

    This Month’s Goals

    Continue filling the gaps in my Mandarin vocabulary I’ve noticed since Little Linguist’s arrival. // A permanent item on my monthly list. We’ve been doing a lot more reading together lately, so he’s keeping me on my toes!

    Read the next Language Reading Challenge book on my list. // In July, we’re something written by someone who lives in a country that speaks your target language. If you’re an intermediate or advanced learner, you can read a book in your target language. If you’re a beginner, you can read a translation of a book.

    Keep working through my YouTube Queue.  // Now that my focus has shifted, there isn’t much in my YouTube queue that is for the language I want to work on. So while I still want to go through any Japanese or Russian languages I have bookmarked, my pace here will slow. 

    Continue to meet my daily goal on LingQ for Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Russian. // Since I was able to do it last month, I hope to keep it up this month.

    Add1Challenge // In July, I’m wrapping up the Add1Challenge for Japanese and Korean, and starting the next. For this next challenge, I also plan to participate in the Intermediate challenge, but this time, my focus language will once again be – Croatian! It’s been about six months since I last focused on the language (though I have been doing daily vocabulary study), and it’s time to give it my attention once again. 

    In August, I’m really thrilled to have been invited back to LangFest as a speaker. I’ll be giving a talk on Croatian, and I can’t wait to share a bit about this incredible language with you.

    Resources I Used This Month

    A quick recap on the materials I am using.

    What I Am Using to Learn Chinese

    What I’m Using to Brush Up/Improve My French:

    • LingQ
    • Immersion (we speak franglais at home)
    • Listening to French radio/podcasts
    • Lingoci

    What I am Using to Learn Russian:

    What I am Using to Learn Korean:

    What I am Using to Learn Spanish:

    What I am Using to Learn Italian:

    What I’m Using to Learn Japanese:

    What I’m Using for Little Linguist

    Resources That Aren’t Language Specific

    The Biggest Lesson I Am Taking Away from This Month

    This month, I really am starting to feel as thought I’ve gotten the hang of managing my language projects. I’ve found a good balance in alternating which languages I study, which is my focus and maintaining what I’ve already learned. 

    I have no doubts that I’ll continue to improve how I organize my studies and focus, but for now, I’m pretty happy with where it’s at. I feel like I’m starting to make significant progress with each of my languages in a way I hadn’t managed in the past, so I’m excited to see where the next few months take me.

    Don’t forget that I would love to hear all about your goals for this month! Please join us by adding your post to the linkup below! 

    Clear The List Linkup Rules:

    1. Share your goal post whether it includes your aspirations for the month or year. Submissions unrelated to the theme or links to your homepage will be deleted.

    2. Link back to this post. You can use our button if you wish.

    3. Follow the hosts: Lindsay from Lindsay Does Languages and Shannon from Eurolinguiste.

    4. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE: Please visit the site of the person who linked up immediately before you and leave them an encouraging comment! By hosting this linkup, we’re hoping to create a positive community where we can all share our goals. If you do not do this, you will be removed from the linkup.

    5. Share on social media using #ClearTheList
    An InLinkz Link-up

    Set your language learning goals as a part of the Clear the List Link Up hosted by Shannon Kennedy of Eurolinguiste and Lindsay Williams of Lindsay Does Languages #clearthelist
    <div align="center"><a href="http://eurolinguiste.com/tag/clear-the-list" title="Set your language learning goals as a part of the Clear the List Link Up hosted by Shannon Kennedy of Eurolinguiste and Lindsay Williams of Lindsay Does Languages"><img src="https://secureservercdn.net/198.71.233.68/0pl.7ab.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/clear-the-list-sidebar-1.jpg" alt="Set your language learning goals as a part of the Clear the List Link Up hosted by Shannon Kennedy of Eurolinguiste and Lindsay Williams of Lindsay Does Languages" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

    June 28, 2018 • Uncategorized • Views: 105

  • 24+ Inspirational Proverbs from Around the World

    Every language has its own share of proverbs. Knowing a few in your language can give the impression that you’re well-versed in the culture that speaks it. 

    In my studies, I’ve had the pleasure of coming across a wide range of proverbs in different languages. Whether they’re the chengyu in Chinese, idiomatic expressions, some other adage, it’s clear that many of our values are shared across the globe.

    “Even though you know a thousand things, ask the man who knows one.” | “Bin bilsen de bir bilene danış.”
    – Turkish proverb

    “The pillow is a good advisor.” | “A noite é boa conselheira.”
    – Portuguese proverb

    Words should be weighed, not counted. - Yiddish proverb | 24+ Inspirational Proverbs from Around the World on Eurolinguiste
    All beginnings are hard. - German proverb | 24+ Inspirational Proverbs from Around the World on Eurolinguiste
    Fall down seven times, stand up eight. - Japanese proverb | 24+ Inspirational Proverbs from Around the World on Eurolinguiste
    Practice makes perfect. - Egyptian proverb | 24+ Inspirational Proverbs from Around the World on Eurolinguiste

    “We learn as long as we live.” | “Sarron, aq mëson – Sa të rrosh, do të mësosh.”
    – Albanian proverb

    “Drop by drop, a lake becomes.” | “Капка по капка – вир става.”
    – 
    Bulgarian proverb

    “A problem shared is a problem halved.” | “Gemeene plaag rust wel.”
    – Dutch proverb

    Exception strengthens the rule. - Hungarian proverb | 24+ Inspirational Proverbs from Around the World on Eurolinguiste
    When reading, don't let a single word escape your attention. One word may be worth a thousand pieces of gold. - Chinese proverb | 24+ Inspirational Proverbs from Around the World on Eurolinguiste
    Be swift to hear, slow to speak. - Russian proverb | 24+ Inspirational Proverbs from Around the World on Eurolinguiste
    Well begun is half done. - Italian proverb | 24+ Inspirational Proverbs from Around the World on Eurolinguiste
    He who walks a lot and reads a lot, sees a lot and knows a lot. - Spanish proverb | 24+ Inspirational Proverbs from Around the World on Eurolinguiste
    Better to ask the way than go astray. - Korean proverb | 24+ Inspirational Proverbs from Around the World on Eurolinguiste
    Patience is the mother of success. - Vietnamese proverb | 24+ Inspirational Proverbs from Around the World on Eurolinguiste
    When one doesn't have the things that one loves, one must love the things that one has. - French proverb | 24+ Inspirational Proverbs from Around the World on Eurolinguiste
    A person who itches, scratches. - Swahili proverb | 24+ Inspirational Proverbs from Around the World on Eurolinguiste
    Every man is the smith of his own fortune. - Persian proverb | 24+ Inspirational Proverbs from Around the World on Eurolinguiste
    A bad workman blames his tools - Hindi proverb | 24+ Inspirational Proverbs from Around the World on Eurolinguiste
    Nothing can be achieved without effort, suffering or hardship. - Croatian proverb | 24+ Inspirational Proverbs from Around the World on Eurolinguiste
    He who travels has stories to tell. - Irish proverb | 24+ Inspirational Proverbs from Around the World on Eurolinguiste

    “No cliff is so tall it cannot be climbed.” | “A’ohe pu’u ki’eki’e ke ho’a’o ‘ia e pi’i.”
    – Hawaiin proverb

    “Wait too long and the opportunity is sure to vanish.” | “Okazja na nikogo nie czeka.”
    – 
    Polish proverb

    What about you?

    Have you come across any inspiring proverbs or expressions in your language studies? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

    June 25, 2018 • Language Resources • Views: 1004

  • The Riverwalk | Things to Do In San Antonio, Texas

    San Antonio, Texas is known for many things. It’s home to the Alamo, the Natural Bridge Caverns, and historic manners. But one story beneath the streets of the city, you’ll find a lively, bustling scene. It’s here that the San Antonio Riverwalk, a commercial development of a bend in the city’s river protected from flooding by the Olmas Dam.

    The construction was completed in the 1940s and the first restaurant, Casa Rio opened in 1946. Since, the area has been expanded and improved. It now hosts dozens of restaurants, hotels, shops, a museum, and even an outdoor theater. 

    The Riverwalk | Things to do in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    The Riverwalk | Things to do in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    The Riverwalk | Things to do in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    The Riverwalk | Things to do in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    The Riverwalk | Things to do in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste

    Visitors to the Riverwalk can take a boat tour, stroll along the walkways, or decompress with a margarita at a table by the water. The Riverwalk also features numerous events throughout the year including parades and Fiesta Noche Del Rio. 

    I’ve had the pleasure of visiting the Riverwalk on two occasions – the first for a brief lunch along the water, but the second more extensively. 

    While attending an event at the nearby event center, the Riverwalk was an easy destination for meals and as a relaxing place to stroll while winding down at the end of the day. Many of the restaurants boast discounted drinks and housemade salsa, and there’s no shortage of choice if you’re craving TexMex or BBQ. 

    The Riverwalk | Things to do in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    The Riverwalk | Things to do in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    The Riverwalk | Things to do in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    The Riverwalk | Things to do in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    The Riverwalk | Things to do in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste

    But there are other options if you’re searching for an “off the tourist track” brunch or even Meditteranean fare. 

    Texas is known for being hot and humid, so I definitely recommend dressing comfortably for the heat, donning a pair of good walking shoes and keeping a bottle (or two) of water with you. 

    The Riverwalk is certainly a “must see” when in San Antonio.

    The Riverwalk | Things to do in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    The Riverwalk | Things to do in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    The Riverwalk | Things to do in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    The Riverwalk | Things to do in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    The Riverwalk | Things to do in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste
    The Riverwalk | Things to do in San Antonio, Texas | Eurolinguiste

    What about you?

    What are some of the tourist areas you’ve been to that you just couldn’t miss?

    I’d love to hear about them in the comments below. 

    June 21, 2018 • Travel • Views: 119

  • The Ultimate List of Resources for Intermediate Spanish Learners: Books, Songs, TV Shows, and Podcasts

    Engaging with the language that we’re learning in meaningful ways is not important to our learning the language, but also to staying motivated, connecting with the language, and learning more about the culture. 

    Discovering music, podcasts, books, tv shows, and movies in Spanish is an amazing way to dive into the language. 

    But how do you know just what native source material to choose?

    Hopes high, you take to Google hoping to find great Spanish books or tv shows, but lo and behold, the majority of the suggested material is what we politely call ‘classic’. In other words, it’s old.

    You wanted recommendations for songs, tv shows, books or podcasts in Spanish that are fresh, relevant and up-to-date. Not some list that’s been passed around by generations of Spanish learners without ever once getting an update.

    Today, Tamara is here to help.

    Today, I’m excited to share a post from Tamara Marie. She’s worked hard to curate this list of 10 Spanish books, 10 Spanish songs, 10 Spanish podcasts and 10 Spanish tv shows that are not only interesting and relevant, but they also contain language that is suitable for those at the beginning level all the way up to the advanced level with straightforward vocabulary.

    Take it away, Tamara!


    10 Spanish Songs for Spanish Language Learners

    Latin music has a special place in my heart because it helped me to learn Spanish and shed my fear of speaking. Learning Spanish with music is a great strategy to learn proper pronunciation, new vocabulary, and understand the culture. And it doesn’t hurt that you’ll know the songs at your next party with Spanish-speaking friends.

    Here are 10 songs I recommend for Spanish learners that will boost your vocabulary and give you a better understanding of Latino culture:

    1. Stand By Me by Prince Royce

    I’ll admit I usually don’t like translations of songs originally in English, but this bilingual version of Stand By Me by Prince Royce is pretty well done. The song is slow and is already translated for you since he switches seamlessly between Spanish and English, sometimes in the same line. A great song. (Note: If you don’t know the original by Ben E. King, check it out here.)

    2. No Hago Ma’ Na’

    This salsa by El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico gives you a ton of examples of reflective verbs. You’ll just have to take a minute to get used to the accent, but once you do you’ll love the song. It makes me think about retiring and buying a beach house. (Note: Ma’ Na’ is Puerto Rican speak for “más nada”)

    3. Ojala Que Llueva Café

    You may have guessed from the title, but this merengue song by Juan Luis Guerra will help you practice the subjunctive. This song is about his hopes for bringing prosperity to el campo (the countryside) in the Dominican Republic.

    4. Pedro Navaja

    This is a classic salsa song by the iconic Ruben Blades. It tells a story that unfolds on the streets of New York. You’ll learn a lot of Spanish sayings and expressions in this song, and the story will keep you engaged until the end.

    5. Despacito

    This is a song by Luis Fonsi that you should know because of its popularity. The vocabulary isn’t exactly G-rated, so I wouldn’t recommend this song is you’re a teacher looking for a song to teach to your class. But the lyrics are flirty and fun, and you get bonus points if you can understand what Daddy Yankee is saying.

    6. Obsesión

    If you’re looking for a challenge, this classic bachata song by the now defunct group Aventura will definitely test your listening skills. The chorus is pretty simple to understand, but the lyrics tell a story that you’ll have to pay attention to closely to figure out what happens.

    7. El Rey

    I discovered this Vicente Fernandez song when I was at a party and found out that everyone knew this song but me. This is one of those cultural things that you probably wouldn’t get if you didn’t grow up in a Spanish-speaking household. So if you want to be in on the next sing-a-long, you’ll want to learn this one.

    8. Cuando Salí de Cuba

    This Celia Cruz song is a blast from the past. Its lyrics are slow, so you should be able to understand most of it. It gives you an emotional sense of how Cubans who left the island felt about their homeland. I think anyone who has moved or been homesick at some point can understand this feeling.

    9. Nadie Como Ella

    This Marc Anthony song is about a woman he’s enamored with (like most Marc Anthony songs). The language is on the informal side, but it’s a great song for Spanish learners because it’s pretty easy to understand the lyrics.

    10. La Rebelión

    This Joe Arroyo salsa song teaches you about Colombian history while making you want to dance at the same time, no easy feat. The song is about a slave rebellion in 17th century Cartagena.

    10 Spanish Language Books

    One of my favorite things to do when I’m driving is listening to audiobooks. And pairing up an audiobook with the written version can be a killer combo for improving your Spanish vocabulary. Books are great because they have rich vocabulary and stories that engage you. I’ve found a ton of great Spanish audiobooks on Audible.com. Here are some of my favorites:

    1. Ágilmente by Estanislao Bachrach

    This book’s subtitle says it all: learn how your brain functions to enhance your creativity and live better. This book gives a unique take on how our brains evolved and how to adapt to modern life.

    2. Stranger by Jorge Ramos

    In Latino media in the United States, it’s hard to avoid the topic of immigration. This book by Mexican-American journalist Jorge Ramos tells the tale of what it means to be an immigrant living in the US. He talks about identity and the feeling of being a stranger in your own country.

    3. Los 7 Habitos de la Gente Altamente Efectiva by Stephen Covey

    The Spanish version of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is worth checking out. Covey shares some great principles to live by. If you majored in business in college, this book was probably required reading. Even if you’re already familiar with the principles, this book will help you learn how to talk about them in Spanish.

    4. La Reina del Sur by Arturo Pérez-Reverte

    This thriller tells the story of Teresa Mendoza, whose life changes when she gets a call that her drug smuggler boyfriend is dead. She has to learn how to survive in his absence, and learns how to find her own way. The story was also made into a popular TV series.

    5. Padre Rico, Padre Pobre by Robert T. Kiyosaki

    The Spanish translation of Rich Dad, Poor Dad is a good choice because it teaches some fundamental financial management principles through stories. You’ll also expand your Spanish vocabulary as it relates to personal finance.

    6. El Hombre en Busca de Sentido by Viktor Frankl

    The English version of this book is Man’s Search for Meaning, and it’s one of the most recommended books of all time. It tells the story of how Frankl found meaning and purpose in life despite living in a Nazi concentration camp.

    7. Cómo Ganar Amigos e Influir Sobre las Personas by Dale Carnegie

    This is the Spanish version of the classic How to Win Friends and Influence People. It’s worth reading (and of course, listening to the audiobook) because it teaches some fundamentals of interpersonal relationships and will expand your Spanish vocabulary in this area.

    8. La Chica del Tren

    This book is about a girl who’s daily routine of taking the train suddenly changes. A suspenseful story about the life of a couple that lives in an apartment nearby the train station.

    9. Don Quijote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes

    No list of Spanish book recommendations would be complete without Don Quijote. This book is a classic in Spain and the narration in the audiobook is almost like a movie production. It tells the tales of Don Quijote’s adventures throughout Spain.

    10. El Alquimista

    This book is a classic tale about a boy named Santiago on a journey where he learns many life lessons. It’s one of Paulo Cohelo’s most popular books and is a must-read.

    10 Spanish Language TV Shows

    There is a ton of Spanish content on TV…you just have to know where to look. In the US, you can find plenty of telenovelas, news shows, sports, and kids programming on both the Univision and Telemundo networks.

    Expert Tip: Call your cable provider and ask for the Latino package to get more Spanish language channel options. You’ll find the prices are comparable to your current package, but you’ll just have more Spanish exposure!

    Here are 10 series you will find entertaining, addictive, and informative. Most importantly, they’ll increase your Spanish exposure and help you improve or maintain your level of fluency.

    1. Celia

    This series is loosely based on the life of beloved Cuban singer Celia Cruz. The characters and story will have you hooked from the first capítulo (episode), and you’ll also learn some Cuban Spanish words like asere (buddy, amigo). The accent may take getting used to, and spoiler alert: the real life romance between Celia and Pedro wasn’t nearly as colorful as presented in the series.

    Note: Celia originally aired on Telemundo in 2015 and is available on Netflix at the time of this writing. I’d recommend, however, that you view the series on the Telemundo website because you’ll be able to turn on closed captioning in Spanish.

    2. Ingobernable

    Kate del Castillo stars in this Netflix original series, a political drama based in Mexico City. It begins with Castillo, who plays the first lady of Mexico, experiencing a shocking event that she spends the rest of the series trying to reconcile. You’ll be exposed to the Mexican accent and slang, and after the first episode I challenge you not to binge watch the whole series.

    3. Narcos

    Narcos is the wildly popular Netflix series about drug traffickers. Although the lead actor who plays Pablo Escobar in the first season is actually Brazilian and only learned Spanish to play the role, the series is based in Colombia. The family scenes are laughable if you’re looking for an authentic Colombian accent. Instead, you’ll hear a variety of accents from throughout Latin America, but you’ll be so into the story you won’t really care. The narration is in English but some of the scenes are in Spanish. This is about drug trafficking so it’s full of cursing and violence, but the stories about Pablo Escobar and the Cali Cartel are intriguing nonetheless.

    4. Pablo Escobar, El Patrón del Mal

    It’s hard to avoid the topic of drug trafficking in Latin American TV shows. But if you watch Narcos and find that you want a more in-depth, authentic take on the story you’ll want to check out this series. It’s 100% in Spanish and covers some nuances and details that Narcos does not.

    5. ¿Quién fue?

    This original and quirky show gives you a comical look at some of history’s most infamous figures. The series recounts stories from their lives with hilarious reenactments (picture Ben Franklin with abs of steel). Good for a laugh when you have some downtime.

    6. The Cuba Libre Story

    This series isn’t about rum and coke with a twist of lime. It tells you the story of Cuba’s struggle for freedom beyond Castro’s infamous 1959 revolution. I’m glad I watched this before my visit to Cuba, since it tells the country’s history from their perspective. Make sure you watch the Spanish version, although you’ll still hear English, German, and French in some of the interviews.

    7. La Reina del Sur

    Another series starring Kate del Castillo and based on the book by the same name, this is a critically acclaimed series.

    8. El Señor de los Cielos

    It’s impossible to talk about Spanish TV shows without includes some telenovelas (soap operas). Sometimes criticized for being almost exclusively Mexican with lighter-skinned actors, and overly dramatic, they are still quite popular and a cultural phenomenon that you really can’t ignore. This Mexican telenovela is about yet another drug trafficker in the post-Escobar era.

    9. En Pocas Palabras

    This show covers a different topic in each episode, covering everything from fad dieting to cryptocurrency.

    10. Black Mirror

    This series has a cult following and is originally shot in British English. Think of it as The Twilight Zone 2.0, where everything from online dating to prison is given a technological twist that will have you scratching your head. It’s such a great series, and you can watch it dubbed in Spanish. It’s actually done pretty well unlike some where the voices don’t seem to match the characters and are overly dramatic.

    Caution: If you’re going to watch this (or any other show for that matter) with Spanish subtitles, be mindful that the words on the screen often won’t match the words being said by the characters. I think the creators assume that if you’re watching the show in one language, you’d only need subtitles in another language. This can be mildly annoying, but you’ll still get the general idea of the story.

    10 Spanish Language Podcasts

    Podcasts have engaging stories, newsworthy content, and interesting conversations. Once you’re done listening to podcasts made for language learners, check out these podcasts that are 100% in español.

    If you like podcasts, you’ll want to download the iVoox app. It has a great selection of Spanish language podcasts.

    1. Te Invito Un Café

    I listen to this podcast every morning on my way to work. The host Robert Sasuke broadcasts a new episode every weekday morning from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. A psychologist and consultant, Sasuke covers a broad array of topics around self-improvement, relationships, and entrepreneurship. It’s a great way to start the day.

    2. ¡Buenos días, Mundo! with host Oliver Oliva

    ¡Buenos días, Mundo! with host Oliver Oliva is an upbeat, energizing podcast. Topics from health to science and technology are covered in a humorous way that can make even the most dull topics intriguing.

    3. DIAS EXTRAÑOS con Santiago Camacho

    This podcast covers a range of interesting concepts through conversation and interviews. The host is from Spain so it will also help you get used to the European accent.

    4. Somos Afrobolivianos

    Alejando Guitierraz hosts this podcast the celebrates Afrolatino culture in Bolivia. It’s a dirty little secret in some parts of South America that huge populations of descendants of Africa have been suppressed and even erased from history. There is an ongoing effort to elevate and celebrate these populations.

    5. Potencial Millionario

    A personal finance podcast by successful Mexican entrepreneur Felix Montelara. In Dave Ramsey style, he gives practical financial tips and makes the information accessible to listeners. You’ll improve your finances and your Spanish at the same time ☺.

    6. TED Talks (Spanish)

    Hear the latest Spanish-language TED talks on this podcast. TED (technology, entertainment, design) is a network of conferences where speakers discuss interesting topics that the organizers call “ideas worth spreading” in 18 minutes or less.

    7. Liderazgo Hoy

    This podcast is hosted by Venezuelan entrepreneur Victor Hugo Manzanilla. He draws on his experience from working in management in Proctor & Gamble and advice from well-known experts to give practical advice on leadership and professional development.

    8. Conocimiento Experto

    Each episode of this podcast summarizes the key concepts in books by experts. This is a good way to save yourself time and get exposed to a variety of topics. And if you want to go deeper, you can always pick up a copy of the books covered in this podcast.

    9. Historias del Más Allá

    If you like mysteries and scary stories, this podcast is for you. The host Rubén García Castillo announced in a tweet that after listening to this show, you won’t be able to sleep with the lights off. The show tells stories “from beyond” and he even takes callers that tell their own stories live on the show. A great pick for Halloween.

    10. Radio Ambulante

    Saving the best for last, Radio Ambulante is a staple among Spanish learners because it’s so language learner-friendly. Not only do they provide full transcripts of each show in English and Spanish, but they also have a Vimeo channel with videos with audio and real-time transcriptions. This podcast explores a variety of interesting topics and tells stories from throughout Latin America.

    What about you?

    What are some Spanish native materials you’ve used to up your ability in the language?

    We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

    About the author: Tamara Marie is a Certified Neurolanguage™ Coach and founder of SpanishConSalsa.com, a website that teaches Spanish with Latin music. Tamara is a language lover, proud mom, and self-described dance addict.  She taught herself Spanish as an adult after being frustrated with language learning in an academic setting. She trained with Efficient Language Coaching in 2016 and obtained her language coaching certification to specialize in brain-friendly methods that accelerate fluency. Tamara is from the United States and speaks English, Spanish, and has started learning Brazilian Portuguese. Tamara is a lifelong learner and loves helping people learn languages. 

    June 18, 2018 • Language Resources • Views: 788

  • Where to Find Croatian Food in Southern California + Croatian Food Vocabulary

    Los Angeles is often deemed the cultural hub of the Pacific Rim. Its inhabitants speak more than 224 recorded languages,  so it’s no surprise that restaurants in and around the area reflect this diversity.

    Growing up, I unknowingly ate quite a few Croatian dishes. These were recipes that were passed down and that were just things my dad made when he was in charge of dinner – sausages, cabbage rolls, homemade bread, the works. 

    As I grew older, I also grew more curious about the foods he viewed as “comfort foods”. My dad is a great cook, but I also wanted to try these foods (and more of them). 

    I took to Yelp and began my search for Croatian restaurants in Southern California. 

    The results, however, weren’t necessarily Croatian, but Bosnian. 

    Thankfully, many of the traditional foods in Croatia are also common in Bosnia, so they have many menu items in common. 

    Here are the two restaurants that made the top of my list:

    Sofra Urbana | Fountain Valley, CA

    You’ll find Sofra Urbana tucked into an unassuming shopping plaza in Foutain Valley. It’s a small, but cozy restaurant with charming decor and a friendly staff. 

    They serve both Italian and Bosnian food and at first glance, might appear to be just another pizza and wings joint. But it is so much more. 

    Where to Find Croatian Food in Southern California + Croatian Food Vocabulary | Eurolinguiste
    Where to Find Croatian Food in Southern California + Croatian Food Vocabulary | Eurolinguiste
    Where to Find Croatian Food in Southern California + Croatian Food Vocabulary | Eurolinguiste

    To start, in addition to popular pizza dishes such as sausage or barbecue chicken, they have the restaurant’s namesake, the “Sofra Urbana”. It’s a delectable blend of mozzarella, mushrooms, arugula, bresaola, truffle oil, and shaved parmesan served upon a pizza crust that was baked to perfection. This item alone is worth coming for, but because we were there for the more traditional items, we also decided to sample a few other foods.

    The ćevapi, ground beef sausages, is served with a small cup of kajmak and another of ajvar. These, spread across the mouth-watering lepinje followed by a light sprinkling of freshly cut onion, results in one of the tastiest sandwiches designed to share, but easy to easy to keep for oneself. 

    Where to Find Croatian Food in Southern California + Croatian Food Vocabulary | Eurolinguiste
    Where to Find Croatian Food in Southern California + Croatian Food Vocabulary | Eurolinguiste
    Where to Find Croatian Food in Southern California + Croatian Food Vocabulary | Eurolinguiste
    Where to Find Croatian Food in Southern California + Croatian Food Vocabulary | Eurolinguiste

    Other traditional dishes include:

    • Burek – Sofra Urbana offers meat, cheese, spinach or potato burek served with their version of tzatziki 
    • Shopska salad – a mix of tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, green olives, feta cheese, roasted red bell pepper, canola oil, salt and pepper
    • Cockta – a Slovenian soda

    Sofra Urbana
    17098 Magnolia St
    Fountain Valley, CA 92708
    Open 11am – 9pm

    Aroma Café | Los Angeles, California

    Aroma Café is another excellent Bosnian restaurant, set apart by its adorable grocery inside. While there, I was able to stock up on Croatian/Bosnian goodies AND feast on a tasty lunch. Plus, I couldn’t help but bring home a few sandwiches for dinner that night (they were wrapped up well and tasted amazing even after being reheated).

    Here too, the ćevapi is a classic and absolute must. Their housemade lepinje is outstanding, though a touch of ajmak was certainly missed.

    Where to Find Croatian Food in Southern California + Croatian Food Vocabulary | Eurolinguiste
    Where to Find Croatian Food in Southern California + Croatian Food Vocabulary | Eurolinguiste
    Where to Find Croatian Food in Southern California + Croatian Food Vocabulary | Eurolinguiste
    Where to Find Croatian Food in Southern California + Croatian Food Vocabulary | Eurolinguiste

    Since we went with cheese burek at our first stop, we decided to indulge in spinach burek here. It was delightful and Little Linguist voted it 10 out of 10.

    Served with fresh pita and a yogurt dip, you can order either stuffed cabbage rolls or pita, but our server was awesome and brought us a mixed plate so we could try both. It was hard to choose a winner, but after a vigorous taste test, I can confidently recommend the stuffed grape leaves as the victor.

    Finally, my favorite and the star of the menu. Those sandwiches I took home? Those were both the Aroma sandwich. A mix of cheese, pita, beef prosciutto and bell pepper. I could honestly eat it every day. 

    And of course, I can’t forget the Turkish coffee! Served at the perfect temperature and with a piece of Turkish delight. It was an enjoyable way to end the meal.

    Where to Find Croatian Food in Southern California + Croatian Food Vocabulary | Eurolinguiste
    Where to Find Croatian Food in Southern California + Croatian Food Vocabulary | Eurolinguiste
    Where to Find Croatian Food in Southern California + Croatian Food Vocabulary | Eurolinguiste
    Where to Find Croatian Food in Southern California + Croatian Food Vocabulary | Eurolinguiste

    Other traditional dishes served here include:

    • Grilled peppers or grilled feta cheese – marinated in garlic and olive oil
    • Shopska salad – here it’s served over a bed of lettuce with tomato, cucumber, red onion, bell pepper, and feta
    • Bosanka lonac – slow-cooked vegetables served in a chunky beef stew
    • Pljeskavica – a beef patty served on housemade pita

    Aroma Café
    2530 Overland Ave
    Los Angeles, CA 90064
    Open 11am-10pm

    Croatian Food Vocabulary

    While we’re on the topic of Croatian food, I thought it would be fun to introduce a few useful vocabulary words on the topic. Here are a dishes and menu items you may find useful.

    Foods/Dishes in Croatian

    • Burek | a phyllo dough pastry stuffed with cheese, spinach, beef, or potatoes
    • Janjetina | roasted lamb
    • Zagrebački odrezak | veal breaded and fried, stuffed with ham and cheese
    • Lignje | squid
    • Crni rižot | black risotto
    • Brodet | fish stew
    • Grah i zelje | bean stew with sauerkraut
    • Riblji paprikaš | spicy fish stew
    • Žganci | cornmeal dish
    • Štrukli | stuffed pastry
    • Punjena paprika | peppers stuffed with minced meat
    • Lepinje | flat bread

    Cooking Styles in Croatian

    • S roštilja | roasted on a grill
    • S ražnja | roasted on a spit
    • Pečeno | roasted
    • Prženo | fried
    • Pod pekom | cooked on a stone while covered with a metal lid and hot coals
    • Na lešo | boiled 

    Croatian Cooking Ingredients

    • Maslinovo ulje | Croatian olive oil
    • Paški sir | sheep cheese
    • Kupus | cabbage
    • Češnjak | garlic
    • Ajvar | a spicy eggplant spread
    • Pekmez od šljiva | plum jam
    • Dimljena paprika | smoked paprika
    • Kajenski papar | cayenne pepper
    • Med cvjetni | flower honey

    What about you?

    Have you tried Croatian (or Bosnian) food? What did you like most?

    What restaurants in your area feature delicious foods from far away places?

    June 14, 2018 • Culture & Cuisine • Views: 287

  • Stop Planning to Learn a Language and Just Do It | Why To Do Lists are Counterproductive

    I’m always the first two write things down, make lists, plan projects out and wait to start until I feel I’m organized enough to get going. I often write down my goals because there’s something about the process that makes them more tangible and I use a variety of apps and systems to track what I’m doing when I’m doing it and how.

    Writing down your goals or listing out your things-to-do is supposed to help you complete them. Inspire you to cross them off and feel accomplished. And even I have to admit, seeing a large list of to-dos checked off is incredibly rewarding. But sometimes, when I’m neck-deep in the planning process or behind on tasks, I’m can’t help but wonder whether or not my to-do lists actually help me “do.” 

    Or if they’re just another form of procrastinating. 

    Planning out a project – like learning a language – feels like you’re being productive.

    It creates a sense of forward momentum, of creating direction, and of getting it done.

    Planning Isn’t Doing

    In the past, I spent a lot of time planning to learn languages. I’d scour review to determine which resources were the best, how much time I needed to spend doing listening versus reading, whether or not I really needed to work with a tutor, how to find the best tutors, or which articles seemed to explain complex grammar topics in the clearest way. 

    Then, with everything I needed to do planned out, I’d think, “Okay, I have these five things I should do today! I’ll write them down so I don’t forget I need to do them.” The next thing I knew, I had a fifty-plus item list and an overwhelming feeling of “I’m not getting anything accomplished! Look at all these things on my list! I must not be learning my language.”

    And I was right.

    I was using planning to avoid actually doing any learning. I knew that I needed to work out how to use cases or particles or build my vocabulary, but rather than actually doing any of those things, I’d tried to plan how I would do them, creating to-do lists and resource lists because if it was on my list, it meant something.

    It’s all about intention. Right? If I intend to do it, that’s just as good as actually doing it. 

    But planning isn’t doing.

    Putting a Limit On The Planning Stage

    Sometimes, I find, you don’t even know exactly what you should be doing until you’re already in the middle of doing it. There’s really only so much you can plan for.

    The solution?

    Just start. 

    When I think of something I need to do, I do it. Right then and there. That way, I get it done and out of the way. But taking action immediately, rather than putting it off until later, I don’t have the time to come up with extra steps or projects I need to do before I can do that thing. The task is done, over, and out of the way so I can keep going on with my day. By doing this, my to-do lists are reserved just for big projects that really do need to be broken down.

    Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule.

    There are times where I can’t stop what I’m doing to complete that other task that came up, and sometimes doing this interrupts my flow and I waste time switching tasks too often.

    When this is the case, I do jot the other thing I think I need to do down. But not on my to-do list. Instead, I keep a running list of things that come up like this during the day (or during my studies). They’re my “what to get started on” the next time I sit down to study list. That way, whenever I feel stuck or unsure of what I need to do next, this list gives me direction. 

    I can take a quick look at it and go, “ah yes, that’s right, I needed to go back and spend more time with that particular case because I still can’t use it comfortably.”

    Stop Planning, Start Doing

    Here are a few tips to help you stop planning your language learning, and start learning.

    1. When you write down a task, try to keep it small. 

    Your goal may be to one day “speak Korean fluently”, but writing this down on your to-do list won’t give you any direction. Instead, take a moment to figure out what you need to do to get there, break it down into tasks that can be achieved in a day, and go from there. 

    I talk about this in detail in my goal setting post and in my post on how I learned a ton of words in Chinese within two weeks, but it’s worth breaking down again here.

    So let’s say your goal really is to speak Korean fluently. What exactly does this mean?

    For many people, it probably means that they want to be able to converse in the language comfortably. Already, that gives us a little more detail. 

    Now think about conversation. What do you do when you converse? You listen and you speak. So again, we’re getting a little more specific. In order to be able to listen and speak, you need to develop those skills. So giving yourself tasks each day that require listening to Korean (watching dramas, listening to lessons) and that require speaking Korean (doing a one minute video on Instagram, meeting with an exchange partner, etc.) are better “doing” goals.

    2.  If you feel the need to plan, limit how much time you spend on it.

    Some planning is unavoidable. So the next best thing you can do is limit yourself to how much time you can spend on it. For example, I might allocate about 45 minutes every Monday to plan out what I need to do for each of my languages during that particular week to keep moving forward. Once that 45 minutes is up, I start doing action tasks and don’t allow myself to plan anymore.

    3. Build habits.

    If you make certain parts of your language learning routine (a series of habits), then you don’t need to plan. Instead, what you need to do just because a normal part of your schedule that you just sit down and do because it’s a habit. Here are a few examples of my language learning habits:

    • When I get in my car, I listen to language learning podcasts and audio lessons. I’ve tied those two activities together, so I never need to think about what I’ll listen to in the car or when I’ll get my listening practice in.
    • I have language lessons the same time each week during my lunch breaks at work. I schedule them in advance so that all I have to do is show up.
    • At the end of every week, I take all of my notes from my lessons and put them into my flashcards. I do this all in one batch on the same day each week so that it’s just something that I do on Saturday afternoons while my little one naps.
    • I read with LingQ each day before bed. I already had the habit of reading each night, now I just do part of it in my languages instead.

    To Sum Up

    Is planning useless? 

    Absolutely not. 

    But it’s important not to get carried away. It may feel productive to read advice on learning languages, to spend time looking for the best resources, or to plan how you’ll learn the language, but be careful not to spend so much time doing those things that you don’t spend any time with the language itself.

    What about you?

    What are your thoughts on planning? Have you ever realized that you were using planning as a way to avoid doing the work?

    I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

    June 11, 2018 • Language Resources • Views: 177

  • Two Days In Asunción, Paraguay (and Where to Go Next)

    Paraguay is a wonderful country so often skipped or passed through quickly on multi-country trips to the region. But that’s a shame as the place has a lot to offer. Take the capital for example, Asunción.

    It’s not quite as huge and daunting as other capitals in the region, and can easily be enjoyed in a couple of days like a local if you follow this guide.

    Day One – City Streets and a River Beach

    Your Asunción adventure will likely start in the centre of the city. Day one of this guide will show you the best the city centre has to offer.

    The centre of Asunción won’t take long to discover. It’s easily doable in a morning.

    Start your day by admiring the cathedral and head out in any direction towards the centre in search of some of the great street art that adorns the city walls. Along the way, you’ll encounter the general city life of Asunción and perhaps even get lost in your own little corner of the city.

    All roads lead to Lido though and you’ll want to head back for lunch towards the main plaza, which consists of four plazas, where you’ll find Lido Bar on the corner of Plaza Pública de los Héroes. Lido is on the corner where streets Chile and Palma meet. (The other plazas that make up the four are Plaza de la Libertad, Plaza de la Democracia, and Plaza Pública Juan E. O’Leary.)

    Two Days In Asunción, Paraguay (and Where to Go Next) by Lindsay Does Languages on Eurolinguiste

    Lido Bar is something of a local institution and a great spot for people watching at lunch alongside some traditional Paraguayan fare on your table.

    You’ll notice that among the milanesas and empanadas adorning the menu, there’s perhaps some words that look unfamiliar to Spanish. These are Guarani words, an indigenous language that lives alongside Spanish in the country.

    Some dishes with Guarani names to look out for at Lido Bar include chipa guasu, a savory ‘cake’ like dish with a cheesy flavour, and vori vori, a cheesy soup with cornmeal balls.

    Once you’re pleasantly full of delicious Paraguayan food, if you’re intrigued to learn more about Guarani, El Lector on the corner of Plaza Uruguaya just a few blocks down is the place to go. They stock a small selection of Guarani books from grammar guides and dictionaries to full on courses. It’s better than anything I found available to buy online before I came away.

    Two Days In Asunción, Paraguay (and Where to Go Next) by Lindsay Does Languages on Eurolinguiste

    After the morning in the centre, it’s time to head a little further out. The centre of Asunción is bordered by river, so there’s still space for a beach in this landlocked country!

    The costanera is a relatively pleasant spot for an afternoon stroll and after posing for a selfie at the big “Asunción” letters, take some time for a sit on the beach itself after all your sightseeing of the morning! Grab a fresh coconut and relax as you watch the sunset across the river.

    Day Two – Shopping Malls and Park Strolls

    If you’re staying in the centre, at first Asunción may seem like a crumbling Latin American city, but venturing into the suburbs is a must to discover a whole new side to the place. On day two, we’re going to do just that!

    Take the 30 bus up Avenida Espana (take care to read the card tucked in the bottom of the window as some 30 buses take Avenida Mariscal Lopez instead of Espana) and you’ll pass plenty of shops, car dealerships, and even a TGI Fridays. You’ll notice instantly it’s very different to the centre!

    Get off at Shopping Del Sol to experience a side of Asunción you maybe didn’t expect. After a stroll and perhaps a drink in there, head out towards the two wavy glass towers. Beneath, you’ll find Paseo La Galeria, another mall with a cinema, Mundo Cartoon Network and plenty of shops and restaurants.

    Two Days In Asunción, Paraguay (and Where to Go Next) by Lindsay Does Languages on Eurolinguiste
    Two Days In Asunción, Paraguay (and Where to Go Next) by Lindsay Does Languages on Eurolinguiste

    Cafe Martinez and Havanna are my personal favourites for great coffee and cake stops. Martinez lets you pick your coffee bean while Havanna sells super tasty alfajores.

    From here, you can either pull over another 30 bus (or most going in the direction of the city centre) to head back down Espana the way you came – now I’m going to take you to my favourite cafe in Asunción!

    Alternatively, you can walk back down too as it’s not too far, and you’ll get a taste of street life in this hot capital.

    When you spot that TGI Friday’s I mentioned, turn left opposite it down Malutin and you’ll find yourself heading into a quiet, pretty network of streets.

    Two Days In Asunción, Paraguay (and Where to Go Next) by Lindsay Does Languages on Eurolinguiste
    Two Days In Asunción, Paraguay (and Where to Go Next) by Lindsay Does Languages on Eurolinguiste

    El Cafe De Aca is a great spot for a range of drinks and traditional Paraguayan food and snacks as well as more international fare. Head out back for a table in their relaxing courtyard to really enjoy an hour or so in peace.

    My favourites on offer here include an ice cold terere, the yerba mate based drink you will have seen everyone carrying around with flasks and a cup by now; cocido, the hot and sweet version of yerba mate; mbeju, a cheese stuffed flat savory ‘pancake’ covered with yuca starch; and their warm tasty yuca chips!

    After you roll out of El Cafe De Aca, stuffed to the brim with mbeju, chipa guasu, and sopa paraguaya, it’s a short walk from here to Parque De La Salud.

    Take a form of ID with you as you’ll need to show it to enter and exit the park, but it’s free to enter and totally worth it to cool off in the afternoon heat as the 1.5km path of the park is relatively shaded from the sun.

    Not only that but the trees are labeled with their names in Guaraní – so you’ll get a little language lesson too!

    Head out the entrance and turn left and you’ll soon spot God’s Pan, a bakery with cakes as good as its pun name. If you’re hungry for more than cake, they also have a buffet style restaurant available at the back.

    If you’re heading back into the city to your hotel, Avenida Espana is a short walk from the park and you can catch most buses going in the direction of the centre.

    Another option on the park front is the Botanical Gardens, 2km north of Parque de la Salud.

    There’s a relatively spacious zoo, a small natural history museum, and plenty of open nature to escape from the traffic for a moment or two.

    Two Days In Asunción, Paraguay (and Where to Go Next) by Lindsay Does Languages on Eurolinguiste
    Two Days In Asunción, Paraguay (and Where to Go Next) by Lindsay Does Languages on Eurolinguiste

    Where To Go After Asunción

    After a couple of days in Asunción, it’s definitely worth venturing further into Paraguay to discover more about this often ignored land.

    The bus station is around 5km from the centre and a great jumping off point for the rest of the country. If you’re unsure where to head next, here’s a few ideas…

    San Bernadino

    A simple day trip from Asunción or longer if you fancy getting away from the city for a night or two, San Ber as it’s lovingly referred to by locals is a lovely spot to see how locals relax.

    Watch the kite surfers on the lake, stroll the main drag and grab an ice cream or take the bus along the road out towards Altos to stumble across one of my favourite souvenir spots in the country.

    As you follow the road out of San Ber towards Altos, look out the right side of the window for a small house with bright wooden parrots and other arty pieces for sale out front. I got two handmade parrots from this lovely man, for 10,000 each, one of which is now snug in his new home of my mother’s plant pot!

    Encarnación

    This city is known as the Pearl of the South, and with good reason. It’s a pleasant centre to stroll and grab some food but the real highlight is the river beachfront overlooking Posadas in Argentina on the other side.

    You can even visit Argentina easily for the day by taking the bus or, even easier, the train across the bridge for just 10,000 guarani (yes, their money is called ‘guarani’ too!).

    Of course, remember your passport and ensure that the officer stamps you out of Paraguay and back in on your return at the immigration booth on the Argentinian side.

    Trinidad and Jesuit Missions

    An easy half day trip from Encarnacion, Trinidad is a beautiful place.

    The Jesuits came here not long after the Spanish to convert the local Guarani population to Christianity and their presence here changed the shape of the language forever because they were the first to write the language down as it had been an oral language beforehand.

    The ruins of the missions that remain are a real sight to behold and photograph beautifully on a sunny day. The red copper tones of the brick against the blue sky and green grass makes for stunning photos even if you don’t consider yourself a photographer.

    Two Days In Asunción, Paraguay (and Where to Go Next) by Lindsay Does Languages on Eurolinguiste
    Two Days In Asunción, Paraguay (and Where to Go Next) by Lindsay Does Languages on Eurolinguiste

    Ciudad Del Este

    A bustling city full of cheap goods that Brazilians and Argentinians flock across the border for. The real draw to visit here is the Itaipu Dam and Iguazu Falls that you can visit easily from the Brazilian or Argentinian side.

    El Chaco

    If you really want to get off the beaten track, El Chaco is the wild frontier you’re after. There’s plenty of adventure awaiting you in the dusty land of El Chaco.

    I hope this post has inspired you to spend a little time in Paraguay. Whether you’re passing through on a multi-country trip or looking for a relatively tourist-free country to explore, Paraguay has a lot to offer.

    And a few words of Guarani won’t go amiss either. Even just telling locals I was learning the language made us friends!

    If you want to learn more about Guarani, the final episode in series one of Language Stories is a good place to start. To listen to the podcast and watch the sister video episode, click here now.

    Have you ever visited Paraguay? Where did you go? If you haven’t, are you interested after reading this? Share in the comments!

    A big thanks to Lindsay of Lindsay Does Languages for sharing her experience in Paraguay! You can find more information on Lindsay and hear about her adventures here.

    June 7, 2018 • Travel • Views: 303