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10 Mexican Movies to Learn Spanish From

Even before The Three Amigos took the world of cinema by storm, Mexican cinema was already a world-famous oddity. We say “oddity” because it’s remarkable that such a small film industry can produce the number of good films and filmmakers it does. From the times of Luis Buñuel to Alejandro G. Iñarritu making heated speeches after winning Best Director at the Oscars, Mexican cinema has nearly always been a fruitful thing.

Consider, as well, that time when Guillermo del Toro won Best Director at the 2018 Golden Globes. A Chinese reporter asked him why it is that he has such an “extraordinary ability to look into the shadow side of human nature” while finding a balance in still being a joyful and loving person. Guillermo’s answer?

“I’m Mexican.”

His reasoning is that, as a culture, we’re very aware of death as the ultimate destination for any living thing, so it makes the time we get here all the more intense and joyful.

Translate that into such a complete art form as film, and you get a pretty good catalogue to choose from. Good news if you’re someone trying to boost your language skills by watching some movies in Spanish, and especially if you’re interested in Mexican Spanish and the culture of that country in general.

This is why we’ve put together a list of ten of the best Mexican films of all time, which we consider good enough options to study Spanish, while trying to showcase a good variety of genres, styles, and time periods. Watch any of our recommend Spanish movies, and you’ll be entertained all the while enhancing your language-learning experience. Here are some tips to improve your pronunciation while watching movies in Spanish.

Ways to improve pronunciation

Table of Contents

  1. A Word About the Mexican Film Industry
  2. List of Mexican Movies
  3. Honorary Mentions
  4. Where Do I Find These Films?
  5. How Can SpanishPod101 Help You Learn Your Spanish Idioms and Expressions?

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1. A Word About the Mexican Film Industry

Movie genres

Now, before we delve into it, there’s something you should know about making films in Mexico.

The number one thing is that…it’s hard! Not many people believe that film making is a great business, which translates into a vicious circle where few people pursue it full-time, so it’s difficult to make new films that go outside the vacuum. There are few investors willing to take some risk, so few people get to make the film they want to make…and so on.

Most Mexican independent films, precisely because of that, are made with the help of government grants, which is why certain themes get censored, while other themes get pushed through a lot.

For the same reason, it’s the dream of most Mexican filmmakers to migrate to another industry, usually Hollywood (biggest and closest) in order to make the films they envision.

And that’s why films like The Revenant, The Shape of Water, and Gravity are made in English-speaking countries, since it would’ve been (and anyone of those directors will affirm this) virtually impossible to make the exact same films with a Mexican budget.

It’s normal, we guess. In the end, they have to cater to an international audience, so that’s why you won’t see those films on this list. That’s also why the pool of Mexican films, made in Mexico and thus in Mexican Spanish, is smaller to pick from.

But anyway, that’s why we’re here. Below you get a list of Mexican films to learn Spanish from, chosen by a Mexican film enthusiast.

Please take into consideration that the list is in alphabetical order, so it doesn’t reflect in any way the order of preference of the author, nor should it reflect the order of preference you give to each film.

Hope you enjoy watching them! Also included is a quote to give you a taste of the Spanish spoken in each film. Here are the most common Spanish vocabulary that you may find in the movies.

Top verbs


2. List of Mexican Movies

1- Amores Perros (2000)

To start you off, here’s Mr. Alejandro Iñarritu’s Opera Prima. Back in the year 2000, in his debut as a director, Iñarritu went ahead and started off with his Trilogía de la Muerte (“Death Trilogy”), which is completed by his subsequent films, 21 Gramos and Babel. All of them were written by his longtime collaborator, Guillermo Arriaga.

Amores Perros follows three sub-stories that take place in Mexico City, all intertwined by a car accident. The first story is about a teenager in the city slums that gets, unwillingly, involved with dogfighting simply because he’s trying to get enough money to run away with his brother’s girlfriend. The second story is about a newly-wed model who breaks her leg, and the third is about a vagabond who’s also a mysterious hitman. None of the characters ever know each other, apart from their shared involvement in the accident.

This film is notorious for having catapulted the career of Gael Garcia Bernal, who’s the teenager from the first story. Also, you should know that the film was released with its Spanish name in the English-speaking world, mainly because the title is hard to translate. Amores is plural for “love,” as in love affairs, or love interests, and Perros is “dogs.” In this context, however, perros is used as slang for “difficult,” “harsh,” or “rough.” Therefore, the title means something like “tough loves,” while being a nice play on words for the film’s canine connotations.

Quote: Tú y tus planes. ¿Sabes que decía mi abuela? Si quieres hacer reír a Dios, cuéntale tus planes.

Translation: “You and your plans. You know what my grandmother used to say? If you want to make God laugh…tell Him your plans.”

2- Ahí Está El Detalle (1940)

On to a jewel from what we call La Época de Oro del Cine Mexicano. This phrase translates to “Mexican Cinema’s Golden Age,” and refers to a period between 1936 and 1959, when the industry achieved high degrees of quality, as well as massive international success, so much so that Mexican films were considered the cusp of Spanish-language films. This is one of the best Spanish classic films you’ll find.

One of the main actors and filmmakers from this period was Mario Moreno, also known as Cantinflas. His style of comedy even spawned the popular Mexican-Spanish colloquialism cantinflear which is pretty much when someone beats around the bush while talking, digressing from the subject in discussion, never really getting to the point.

Anyway, Ahí está el Detalle is considered Cantinflas’ best film since it has one of the most intricate and inventive stories from the period.

In short, Cantinflas is a bum who goes to dine at his girlfriend’s place of employment (she’s the servant of a rich industrialist) just to get a free meal each day. One time, however, his girlfriend informs him that for once he must win his meal by going into the house and killing a dog that has gone mad with rabies. While Cantinflas prepares to do so, the rich industrialist appears, so his girlfriend tells him that Cantinflas is his wife’s brother, who had been missing for years. At this point, the industrialist remembers that his father-in-law’s testament could only be paid when all brothers got together again. He proceeds to treat Cantinflas as a king, and he happily plays along.

Quote: Mira, nomás te voy decir una cosa, ¿trabajan los ricos? A que no, entonces si el trabajo fuera bueno ya lo tendrían acaparado los ricos y entonces nomás ellos trabajarían.

Translation: “Look, I’m only gonna tell you one thing, do rich people work? I bet not! So, if work was so good, they would own all of it, and then only they would work.”

3- El Infierno (2010)

Oh boy, back to darker themes in Mexican film. El Infierno is one of the best films by well-known Mexican filmmaker Luis Estrada (see also La Ley de Herodes and La Dictadura Perfecta), who usually narrates stories about the many social problems within the country.

In this film—perhaps one of the most important Mexican films—he focuses on the problem of narcotrafico, following the story of a man who’s recently been deported after twenty years working and living in the U.S. as an illegal immigrant. Back in his small town in northern Mexico, the man faces a discouraging scenario due to the economic crisis that took place around 2008—2010, and the wave of violence that has been unleashed as a reaction to Felipe Calderon’s (then President of Mexico) War on Drugs. In need of money and with few options, the man quickly sees himself immersed into the world of narcos.

This film is an open critic to the Calderon administration’s management of the country’s drug problem, as well as narco-culture in general. It was one of the most acclaimed Mexican films of 2010, and one of the most accurate portrayals of a social problem that terrorizes Mexican families up to this very day.

Quote: “En este pinche país no haces lo que quieres, si no lo que puedes.”

Translation: “In this f*cking country you don’t do what you want, but what you can.”

4- Güeros (2014)

Since we haven’t yet mentioned the Ariel awards, we guess that now’s as good a time as any. Los Premios Ariel are the Mexican Academy of Film’s yearly awards, given out as a recognition for excellence in motion picture making. As the most prestigious award in the Mexican film industry, one could say that it’s the equivalent to the Academy Awards, or “Oscars” of the United States.

So, we mention this here because Güeros was the last Mexican film to truly make a splash in los Ariel and was well-regarded in the independent art-film circles. Let’s say that, as with the American Oscars, not all Best Picture winners are considered “good films” by film buffs.

Anyway, Güeros is an absolute jewel of modern Mexican cinema. I personally don’t recall any other recent films being so bold, timely, and accurate in argument. In other words, if you want to see a recent story about modern Mexican youth that gets you close to what you would encounter by going into a dive bar in a Mexico City student zone, this is probably it.

The film follows the story of Tomas, an adolescent who gets sent to live with his older brother, who’s a university student in Mexico City, after he becomes too much for his mother to handle. Within his first few days, the two brothers, the older brother’s roommate, and a romantic interest—who’s also an outspoken leader in the student protests that are occurring for the entirety of the film—set out to find an obscure rock musician who’s apparently dying in a hospital bed.

For this film, most of the weird phrases and terms have an explanation by the character’s themselves, but it would also help to get yourself acquainted with the music festival Avándaro, and why the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México—one of Latin America’s largest public research universities—sees constant student protests.

Quote: Estamos en huelga de la huelga.

Translation: “We’re in strike from the strike.”

5- Las Fuerzas Vivas (1975)

Luis Alcoriza, director of Las Fuerzas Vivas

If you’re at all interested in the Mexican War of Revolution, this is a great film to see. Hailed as an all-time greatest classic of Mexican cinema, this film satirizes the whole phenomenon. The interesting thing is that it describes the ins and outs of the Revolution not by following the official story, but by telling a little near-allegorical story that occurs in a little village, far from the places where the actual revolution is taking place at the same time.

While this may be harder to find with subtitles, there are several full-length versions on YouTube.

Quote: Bueno, y los de la junta de gobierno, ¿quiénes la vamos a formar?

Translation: “Well, and the government council, who’s gonna be in it?”

6- La Jaula de Oro (2013)

Now for another deep socioeconomic problem in Mexico, this film deals with the theme of immigration. It’s well-known that many Mexicans looking for better work opportunities and conditions migrate north of the border illegally. It’s not as well-known, however, that lots of Central Americans do so as well. To make their way, they must go all the way through Mexico, usually riding the tops of the old freight trains that still criss-cross the country, facing horrors such as racism and abuse from the local authorities, the risk of literally getting abducted and sold, or just killed due to the dire conditions.

All that is pretty real, and it happens everyday, so it’s good that filmmaker Diego Quemada-Diez took it upon himself to portray what those migrants have to go through in one of his first films. La Jaula de Oro follows the story of two young Guatemalan immigrants, a girl and a boy, and Tzotzil indigenous youth, who try to make their way up to the U.S.

The film is absolutely devastating, but truly moving to watch, especially if one considers that apart from the three protagonists, most of the people one sees in the film aren’t cast actors and actresses, but real migrants who happened to be there when Diego and his crew were rolling.

Finally, talking about the Ariel’s again, La Jaula de Oro won Best Picture in 2014.

Quote: Siento como si tuviera un zoológico en mi estómago, como si un montón de animales estuvieran corriendo por todo mi cuerpo de la emoción de que vamos a llegar al otro lado.

Translate: “I feel as if I had a zoo inside my stomach, as if a bunch of animals were running all over my body, from the emotion that we’re going to make it to the other side.”

7- Los Olvidados (1950)

Named “Memory of the World” by Unesco, probably the only film on this list to hold that distinction (for now), Los Olvidados is also hailed as Luis Buñuel’s best piece of art from his Mexican period.

The film is deeply rooted in Italian Neorealism, with some surreal touches proper of Mr. Buñuel’s former works. Its story follows a brief period in the lives of poor Mexican children within the slums of Mexico City, shortly after one of them escapes from a correctional facility.

Quote: Uno menos, así irán cayendo todos, ¡Ojalá los mataran a todos antes de nacer!

Translation: “One down, that’s how they’ll all fall eventually, wish they killed them all before they were born!”

8- Nosotros Los Nobles (2013)

While this list may give the contrary impression, hopefully by now you don’t think that Mexican Cinema is all about either artsy films or very old movies. There are, as in all industries probably, a fair share of light comedies and chick flicks. I’d even venture to say that these make the better part of the offer, but they don’t usually transcend beyond being box office hits in Mexico; they run for a couple of weeks, the producers cash in, and they’re off to make another one.

There is, nevertheless, a fine exception to that rule, and that is Nosotros Los Nobles. While it’s a light comedy from whichever side you look at it, the story is surprisingly quite good, as well as the acting (it features Luis Gerardo Mendez, of Club de Cuervos fame). The thing is just funny, and it has the advantage of being recent. Thus, it offers a rare and accurate glimpse into current Mexican humor. This is one of the best Mexican comedy films out there.

The story is actually inspired by El Gran Calavera, another of Buñuel’s films, but adapted to our days by Gary Alazraki. It centers on the elaborate lie of a wealthy Mexican businessman, who upon realizing that his three children aren’t doing anything with their lives but to sponge off him, decides to tell them that he’s gone bankrupt, so they all have to find jobs in the “real world.”

Quote: Entraste por influencias pero te vas por pendejo.

Translation: “You got the job because you’re connected but you’re fired because you’re an idiot.”

9- Temporada de Patos (2004)

It’s probably evident by now, largely due to the rant at the beginning of this Mexican movie blog, that Mexican films don’t usually have big budgets. So before Mexican filmmakers can go abroad to make massive blockbuster films, they have to find ways to tell impactful stories with nothing but a few cameras and some people.

This film is a perfect example of that. Temporada de Patos centers around two adolescents in the Tlatelolco habitational units (see the Tlatelolco Massacre for a glimpse of the historical background of that place), who plan on spending a weekend by themselves while their parents are away.

What was supposed to be two days of nothing but pizza and video games, turns into an absurd situation when there’s a power cut in the buildings. The youths are forced to deal with a neighbor who requests to use one of their ovens, and a pizza delivery man who argues with them about the delivery time.

Quote: Las oportunidades en la vida son como los tiros que tiene una escopeta. Yo ya me gasté los míos.

Translation: “Opportunities in life are like the shots in a shotgun. I’m all out.”

10- Y tu Mamá también (2001)

Before going off to make Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban and Gravity, Alfonso Cuarón made this drama road movie that still stands as one of the best Mexican films—even one of the best Spanish-language films—ever made.

Featuring Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna, the movie is about two Mexican 18-year-olds who are on vacation from school. While their girlfriends are traveling in Europe, the two are left to rest idle in Mexico City. One day, at a wedding, they meet a Spanish woman ten years older than them who’s married to one of their cousins. In an attempt to flirt with her, they tell her that they’re going to the beach. While the woman first dismisses their efforts, a couple of mishaps in the following days lead her to accept the invitation. At that point, the two teenagers have to follow through on their lie and improvise a roadtrip to Boca del Cielo, a virgin beach in the state of Oaxaca.

Quote: No hay mayor placer que dar placer ¿no?

Translation: “There’s no bigger pleasure than giving pleasure, no?”


3. Honorary Mentions

And those are all the films we have for now! Some honorary mentions, apart from the other works we mentioned here and there by the same directors, would be:

  • Cronos (1993), Guillermo Del Toro’s Opera Prima
  • El Laberinto del Fauno (Mexico-Spain production, but mostly spoken in Spanish from Spain)
  • Sin Nombre (2009), also centers around the theme of migrantes in Mexico
  • Vámonos con Pancho Villa! (1936), another one about the Mexican Revolution, also from the “Golden Age”


4. Where Do I Find These Films?

Many of these recommend Mexican movies may be available on Netflix or other streaming services depending on your region. My recommendation is to give each film a try over each platform, including YouTube. If there’s no luck, you can search for them using a free streaming site such as Cuevana.

My main tip is to be on constant lookout. Maybe you’ll see one of them in a hard copy, or being played in a local theater or even on TV one of these days. I’ve watched most of these across a variety of platforms. Güeros, for example, was super hard to find even being from Mexico, until one day I boarded a flight and you won’t guess what was among the options for the in-flight movie.


5. How Can SpanishPod101 Help You Learn Your Spanish Idioms and Expressions?

If you liked this guide to the best Mexican movies to learn Spanish from, then feel free to find more resources, idiomatic expressions, and fun lessons on our SpanishPod101 website. We have over 1800 audio and video lessons, lively community forums, and a good combination of energetic hosts to help you with your Spanish-learning needs in a fun and easy way!

Start with a bonus, and download the Must-Know Beginner Vocabulary PDF for FREE! (Logged-In Member Only)

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Feliz Dia de la Madre: Celebrate Mother’s Day in Spain!

¡Feliz Dia de la Madre!

Mother’s Day, or Dia de la Madre, is a deeply significant holiday in Spain. Take, for instance, the following information:

A study was done in 2012 about the role of European mothers. The psychologist responsible for the Spanish case said that “the Spanish mother has become the administrator of the household and is the fundamental pillar of the family structure.”

A surprising fact was learning that they dedicate only thirty-nine minutes to themselves, versus fifty minutes for the rest of European mothers. The study also showed that fifty-three percent consider the hug to be the best demonstration of gratitude, even ahead of helping with the household chores.

What better day than this celebration for Spanish mothers to be able to receive from their family, and from society, the recognition they deserve. And in Mother’s Day, Spain does just this.

At SpanishPod101.com, we hope to make learning about Mother’s Day both fun and insightful. From Spanish Mother’s Day gifts to Mother’s Day flowers, Spain celebrates similarly to the rest of the world, but with its own flair. Let’s learn more about the significance of the mother in Spanish society and her special day!

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1. What is Mother’s Day in Spain?

It’s said that this festival’s origin is from the tribute that was made to the mother of Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon in Greek mythology, Rea. The Romans adopted it, but the Catholics were the first to call it Mother’s Day in honor of the Virgin Mary.

In seventeenth-century England, they celebrated the Sunday of Mothers. Children attended mass and then gave some presents to their mothers. The English colonists tried to keep the celebration alive in the United States, but it was eventually abandoned.

It was in 1914 when it was established as an official celebration following a campaign organized by Anna Marie Jarvis.

Around the world, Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate one’s mother and other motherly figures in their life. This is often done through gift-giving or doing nice things for them.

2. When is Mother’s Day in Spain?

Mother's Day is on a Sunday

The date of Mother’s Day varies from year to year, though it always falls on the first Sunday of May. For your convenience, here’s a list of this holiday’s date for the next ten years.

  • 2019: May 5
  • 2020: May 3
  • 2021: May 2
  • 2022: May 1
  • 2023: May 7
  • 2024: May 5
  • 2025: May 4
  • 2026: May 3
  • 2027: May 2
  • 2028: May 7

3. Reading Practice: How is Dia de la Madre Celebrated?

Mother Receiving Affection from Children

How is Mother’s Day celebrated in Spain? Read the Spanish text below to find out, and find the English translation directly below it.

Lo cierto es que las costumbres de este día en España no son muy diferentes a las del resto del mundo. Las flores, sobre todo claveles o rosas, los bombones y las manualidades que los niños preparan en clase, las encontramos en cualquier país. Grandes comidas familiares y regalos también forman parte de la tradición. No son pocos los que creen, por este motivo, que detrás de esta fiesta hay grandes intereses comerciales.

Como en el resto de países existen ciertos regalos que es bastante típico hacerles a las madres. No es de extrañar que ante la aparente falta de originalidad hayan surgido últimamente multitud de sitios web españoles que al acercarse estas fechas proponen originales ideas para regalar.

The truth is that the customs of this day in Spain are not very different from those in the rest of the world. Flowers, especially carnations or roses, chocolates, and crafts that children prepare in class, are found in every country. Large family meals and gifts are also part of the tradition. For this reason, there are many who believe that there are great commercial interests behind this celebration.

As in other countries, there are certain gifts that are commonly given to mothers. It is no wonder that with the apparent lack of originality, numerous websites have appeared in Spain that suggest original ideas for gifts as this date approaches.

4. Additional Information: Original Date of Spanish Mother’s Day

Do you know when this day was previously celebrated in Spain?

Initially, it was celebrated on December 8, the day of the Immaculate Conception and the date that is observed worldwide by the Catholic Church. However, over time the date was changed to the first Sunday in May. This was also done in Hungary, Lithuania, Portugal, South Africa, and Romania.

5. Must-know Vocab

Gift Certificate

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Mother’s Day in Spain!

  • Cena — “Dinner
  • Domingo — “Sunday”
  • Hijo — “Son”
  • Hija — “Daughter”
  • Rosa — “Rose”
  • Regalo — “Present”
  • Madre — “Mother”
  • Chocolate — “Chocolate”
  • Amar — “Love
  • Celebrar — “Celebrate”
  • Desayuno en la cama — “Breakfast in bed”
  • Felicitación — “Greeting card”
  • Cheque regalo — “Gift certificate”

To hear each vocabulary word pronounced, check out our Mother’s Day in Spain vocabulary list, where you’ll find each word accompanied by an audio file of its pronunciation.

Conclusion

What are your thoughts on Spanish Mother’s Day? Does your country have similar celebrations and traditions, or very different ones? Let us know in the comments!

To learn more about Spanish culture and the language, visit us at SpanishPod101.com. There’s something here for every learner, from insightful blog posts to an array of vocabulary lists, and an online community to discuss lessons with fellow Spanish learners! If you haven’t yet, you can also check out our MyTeacher program, which gives you the opportunity to learn Spanish one-on-one with your own personal teacher.

Learning a new language and becoming knowledgeable in its country’s culture is a huge feat and one that you won’t regret. Your hard work will pay off, and before you know it, you’ll be speaking Spanish like a native! SpanishPod101.com will be here to support you on your way there!

Until next time, Feliz Día de la Madre (”Happy Mother’s Day” in Spanish)!

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Top 15 Mexican TV Shows to Boost Your Spanish

Passive learning is an essential component of adopting a new language and making it second nature. It’s not all about sitting down, cracking the books, and studying verb tenses. It’s about immersing yourself in the culture and letting the rhythm, cadence, and structure of that new language subtly seep into you.

True, it’s easier said than done. What if you haven’t had the chance to go to a Spanish-speaking country and make it your home for a few months, or even years?

While that may be the ideal immersion scenario, you can always mimic immersion by consuming the culture of those countries.

And how do you consume the culture of a country without visiting? Well, that’s simple. Just devour everything they send out into the world.

TV shows, movies, music, books, media—they’re all a window to the people of each country, thus portraying their actual language as a living breathing thing, not the pasteurized version you get from a textbook.

So! That being said, if you’re particularly interested in learning Mexican Spanish and want a window into that country’s culture, here are some of their best TV shows as of 2018, hand-picked to aid you on this quest.

These Mexican TV programs were chosen not just for being in Spanish, but taking into account their quality and relevancy in Mexican contemporary society. In other words, they’re popular but also better written and produced than your standard telenovela.

Also, we tried to make it easy for you, dear reader, by focusing on TV shows that you can find on Netflix, or stream elsewhere on the Web.

¡A disfrutar!

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Table of Contents

  1. Series about Sports and Music
  2. Series About Narcos
  3. Traditional Crime Series in Spanish
  4. Sports, News, and Culture Programs
  5. How to Study Spanish with TV Shows
  6. How Can SpanishPod101 Help You Learn Your Spanish Idioms and Expressions?


1. Series About Sports and Music

While most people think of El Chapo or Narcos when trying to think of TV series in Spanish (and due to current trends, it’s frankly inevitable), we tried to start off with some that stray off that topic.

Here are some Mexican Web series that deal with the sports world, music stars, or celebrities in general.

1- Club de Cuervos

Club de Cuervos logo

This series follows the many mishaps of the Iglesias family, the owners of a fictitious football team called Los Cuervos de Nuevo Toledo (“The Crows of New Toledo”), which is hailed in the series as “The Real Madrid of Latin America.” When the head of the family dies, the heirs get into a long battle to determine who has control of the football club.

This was actually the first Spanish-language Netflix original series, and it stars Luis Gerardo Méndez and Mariana Treviño as the two siblings. The former’s character, Chava Iglesias, is immediately elected as the president (just because he’s a man) but has no clue how to run a football team. Mariana’s character (Isabel Iglesias), on the other hand, is actually much more intelligent and experienced in the football industry, but is shunned out of the role because she’s a woman.

Club de Cuervos, in spite of being a Netflix production, was done by an almost all-Mexican cast and was shot mostly in Pachuca, Hidalgo. Its genre is best described as black humor or comedy, and it’s actually a somewhat accurate gaze into football culture in Mexico. There is a lot of machismo, sex scandals, throwing around of money, telenovela-style tragedies with the team always on the brink of total failure, and avid football fans that keep the whole thing going for everybody.

2- La Balada de Hugo Sánchez

La Balada de Hugo Sanchez Poster

This one’s actually a spin-off of Club de Cuervos. While named exactly as the Mexican football icon, it has nothing to do with the footballer.

This comedy-drama series follows Chava’s personal assistant (who is named Hugo Sanchez) in the perilous mission of taking the team to a tournament in Nicaragua.

Hugo is named “temporal manager” of the Cuervos just because Chava, the actual manager, doesn’t really want to go to Nicaragua.

The rest, as you can imagine, is fuel for continuous laughter. Just watch the trailer to see for yourself!

Vocabulary:

  • Futból: This is the hispanization of the word “football.” Mexicans use this or “futból soccer” to refer to the most beautiful sport in the world.
  • Junior: This is an anglicism to refer to Mexican rich kids who don’t ever have to work hard because they choose to rely on their parents’ wealth. Chava in the series is an embodiment of this concept.

3- Luis Miguel (La Serie)

Luis Miguel Poster

And talking of Mexican icons, if you’re remotely interested in Mexican culture and don’t know of Luis Miguel by now, you should seriously stop reading and put on one of his albums. Soy Como Quiero Ser is a good one to start with.

While the music may seem cheesy as hell and, depending on your level of Spanish, maybe a bit difficult to understand, know that this guy is probably the biggest Mexican singer of all time—at least in terms of popularity. People have nicknamed him El Sol de Mexico (“The Sun of Mexico”), for chrissake!

So anyway, Luismi (another nickname) began his career as a child star, with his dad (a failed singer from Spain) as his manager. When the guy was about sixteen, he fired his father, got new management, and relaunched himself as a serious male performer, eventually reaching international superstar status.

If you think that story actually has some drama series material, just wait ‘til you hear about his mother. Apparently, he hasn’t seen her in years and nobody seems to know what happened to her. There are quite a few conspiracy theories about the whole thing, but the bottom line is that while Luis Miguel’s career is as bright as the sun, his family life has always had a dark undertone to it.

And thus! Somebody decided to make that into a series. It’s uncertain what the arrangement was on selling Luismi’s life story to Netflix, but this thing has been on fire since being released. By “on fire,” we mean that the hype for this thing is quite tremendous. As someone living in Mexico, I can tell you that people talk about each new episode as much as they did about the national elections or the World Cup.

Now the actual series, while a bit exaggerated and full of cliffhangers and—at times—telenovelesca (“soap-opera-like”) offers a pretty good look into Mexican celebrity culture of the 1980s. And you will definitely get to listen to some genuine Spanish.

Here’s a trailer.

Vocabulary:

  • En vivo: Spanish way of saying that music is played live
  • Grabación: (“Recording”)
  • Éxito: (“Hit; hit song”)

4- Jenni Rivera, Mariposa de Barrio

Jenni Rivera

Jenni Rivera is one of the most important female figures in Mexican music, particularly in the banda and ranchera genres. This series is based on her autobiography, Unbreakable: My Story My Way, which was published after her death.

It chronicles pretty much every stage of Jenni’s life and path towards fame, picking up all the way from her childhood.

This one was actually produced by Telemundo, which is one of the largest American Spanish-only television networks. Fortunately, it was then made available through Netflix.

Watch the trailer to get a glimpse of what this show’s all about!

Vocabulary:

  • Barrio: This means “‘hood” in Spanish, as in a bad neighborhood.
  • Rancho: As you probably guessed, this word means “ranch.”
  • Calar: This is an informal verb that means “to try” something.
  • Señora: This means “married woman” and is the polite way to refer to an adult lady.

5- José José, El Príncipe de la Canción

Jose Jose poster

Nicknamed “The Prince of Song,” José José is also one of the biggest Mexican male singers of all time. He began his success during the 1970s as a balladeer, eventually rising to international prominence during the 80s.

As with many artists, his life had its fair share of drama and ups and downs. In spite of his amazing vocal talent and early success, he battled for decades with heavy alcoholism and faced near bankruptcy due to shady management practices, but still managed to lay a timeless legacy in Mexican music.

The series, naturally, is based on his life and was produced by Telemundo as well. That may mean it has some of that soap-opera feel to it as well, but it’s a good dramatized glimpse into The Prince’s life and career.

If you’re still on the fence about this one, watch the trailer to see if it’s a good fit for you!

Vocabulary:

  • Triste: (“Sad”)
  • Productor: (“Producer”)
  • Renunciar: (“To quit”)


2. Series About Narcos

1- La Reina del Sur

La Reina del Sur poster

Oh look, we’re talking about a narco series now. We guess it was inevitable, since (a bit sadly, to be honest) “Narcoculture” has become one of the most publicized and internationally known aspects of Mexican culture.

Obviously, the executives at Telemundo had to cash in on this and created this series in 2011, actually spending more in its production than it did in any other of its series to date.

La Reina del Sur follows the fictional story of a woman (portrayed by Kate del Castillo) who used to date a narco, who then gets killed, so she has to flee her home in Culiacán, Sinaloa.

Eventually, she starts dating another criminal—this time a smuggler of hashish and tobacco—and starts helping out with the activities. This lands her in jail, where she makes some friends who help her get into drug trafficking when they all get out.

Sooner or later, she ends up becoming the leader of one of the most prominent drug cartels in the fictionalized version of Sinaloa. Hence the name of the series, which translates literally to “The Queen of The South.”

Watch a trailer with some good ol’ English subtitles.

Vocabulary:

  • El Bote: This is literally the Spanish homologue for the English slang “The Can,” as it refers to prison.
  • Güero: This is a “blonde male person.”
  • Contrabandista: This word translates to “smuggler.”
  • Contable: A contable is an “accountant.”

2- El Chapo

El Chapo poster

And now for a not-so-fictional story. You’ve probably already heard about Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, Mexico’s top drug kingpin. He was considered the “most powerful drug trafficker in the world” by the U.S. Department of Treasury for a good number of years.

This series, produced jointly by Netflix and Univision, covers the life of “El Chapo,” from his meager beginnings as a low-level member of the Guadalajara Cartel, to his rise to power as the head of the Sinaloa Cartel—all the way to his eventual downfall.

Feel free to watch a trailer for season 1 to get an idea of what to expect.

Vocabulary:

  • Millonario: (“Millionaire”)
  • Túnel: (“Tunnel”)

3- Cuando Conocí A El Chapo: La Historia de Kate del Castillo

Cuando Conoci A El Chapo Poster

If you were already familiar with El Chapo, perhaps you’ve heard or read about this 2016 story of how Kate del Castillo (that’s right, the actress from La Reina del Sur) was able to earn the drug kingpin’s trust and broker an interview between him and—of all people—Mr. Sean Penn.

This is a documentary mini-series, covering the whole event in a matter of three episodes. Think of it as a real-life conjunction of the two former series, proving how easily fact and fiction blend in the world of Narcotráfico.

Watch the official trailer and then prepare to sit down later to binge this little series.

Vocabulary:

  • Correspondencia: This is essentially to write a series of letters, to correspond with someone.


3. Traditional Crime Series in Spanish

1- Sr. Ávila

Sr. Avila poster

Where’s HBO in all of this? If you’re looking for one of the best Mexican TV shows, this one has all the trademarks of an HBO series, with a story set in Mexico City and as much Spanish as you could hope for.

Sr. Ávila tells the story of a middle-class family man, who passes as an insurance salesman but leads a double life as a sicario—which is the Spanish word for “hired killer,”—within an organized crime group.

This is one of the Mexican TV shows on this list that strays the most from the telenovela genre, being more similar in genre to other dark-vibe-crime sort of shows such as True Detective or Dexter.

While this can’t be found anywhere other than HBO or HBO Go, it might be worth the effort (if you were, let’s say, to look for it online), if you want something a bit more serious.

Check out Tony Dalton in the role of Mr. Ávila.

Vocabulary:

  • Lobo: (“Wolf”)
  • Señor: This word is used to call a married man or full-grown adult.

2- El Dandy

el dandy

This Mexican TV show might be a great bet to learn Spanish if you’re a native English-speaker, as it’s based upon the 1993 Al Pacino and Johnny Depp film Donnie Brasco.

It follows the story of a law professor who goes undercover in one of the most notorious criminal organizations of Mexico City. He takes the nickname “El Dandy” and while he starts to gain and leak information regarding the clandestine network he finds himself becoming a part of, he starts to find the sense of danger exciting, even enjoyable.

The series stars Damián Alcázar, of Narcos fame, as one of the criminal bosses, who takes “El Dandy” under his wing. Watch some excerpts of the show and prepare to become addicted.

Vocabulary:

  • Echado p’alante: This literally translates to “thrown forward,” and is used to refer to someone who’s very proactive, a nearly fearless self-starter.
  • Fusca: This is another word for pistola which is a “pistol” or “gun.”


4. Sports, News, and Culture Programs

Now, the most popular Mexican television shows aren’t all series that have to do with crime or celebrities. Some of the biggest TV shows from this country are simply the ones that deal with reality. Not in a “reality show” sort of way, but simply regular sports, news, and culture shows.

Here’s a quick list of some of the best ones. While these will be hard to find unless you have access to a Mexican TV signal, or some sort of satellite package that includes some of these, you can always find clips on YouTube, Twitter, or Facebook, as these shows all have a channel on one or all of these social media platforms.

1- ESPN Deportes

ESPN Deportes logo

This is the Spanish-language arm of ESPN, aimed primarily at the Hispanic population in the United States. That being said, it does have a base in Mexico City that caters to both markets, as well as some parts of Latin America.

This is available on most cable and satellite providers in the U.S., but you can always get clips from its Twitter and other social media.

2- CNN en Español

CNN Espanol Logo

From this one, you can get mainstream news and sports in Spanish, as it caters to pretty much all of North and Latin America.

Whether it’s on its social media or directly on its webpage, it’s extremely easy to find clips from this source. This channel is a 24-hour source of content in Latin American Spanish.

3- MTV Latinoamérica

mtv logo

MTV Latin America is all about Youth Culture. As with the original MTV, it’s not so much about the music now, but about reality shows, series, some films, and yes, the occasional videos. And you’ll get much more than just Spanish music; all of its channels feature whatever’s hot at the moment, so it will include a lot of English music as well.

MTV Latin America is now so big that it has some sister channels too, such as VH1, Nickelodeon (cartoons in Spanish, yaaay!), Comedy Central, MTV Hits, and some others depending on the region.

4- Tercer Grado

news

If you’d like to get deep into Mexican politics, this is the foremost TV show to watch on the subject. This one is within Noticieros Televisa, which is one of the news television shows in Mexico.

The good thing about Tercer Grado is that, even though it belongs to Televisa, it can be pretty impartial when it comes to politics. Its round tables usually feature journalists and intellectuals from various political inclinations.

The second good thing, is that sometimes it posts clips of its whole episodes on its Youtube channel, so you can watch these online at any time.

5- El Financiero Bloomberg

economics

Now, if you’re looking to get knowledge on Mexican economy, finance, and business news, this channel is a joint venture between financial broadcaster Bloomberg, and El Financiero, one of the leading finance news outlets in the Spanish language.

It’s also kind enough to post a ton of content right on its YouTube channel, so it provides daily news on Mexican “grown-up” topics.


5. How to Study Spanish with TV Shows

If you’re looking to boost your Spanish with Mexican TV shows, there is a myriad of options for various tastes and ages.

To send you off, some additional advice when learning Spanish through TV is to watch it in the original language with English subtitles. Then, watch with Spanish subtitles as you’re progressing, and eventually try to remove the subtitles completely.

Don’t be afraid to watch the same episode or clip over and over again, as it’s a great listening comprehension exercise—even if you’re doing something else at the same time, such as washing clothes or cooking.

As you start progressing, be sure to look up any words or phrases that you don’t get. Spanish slang, and especially Mexican slang, is insanely vast. Fortunately, the meaning of most phrases and words can be found online.

Further, if you’d like even more Soabusg contents, be sure to look up Mexican films, video bloggers, and standup comedians. If you know where to look, the resources are truly endless.


6. How Can SpanishPod101 Help You Learn Your Spanish Idioms and Expressions?

Infographic

If you liked this guide to the top Mexican TV shows to learn Spanish, then feel free to find more resources, idiomatic expressions, and fun lessons in our SpanishPod101 website. We have over 1,800 audio and video lessons, lively community forums, and a good combination of energetic hosts to help you with your Spanish needs in a fun and easy manner!

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How to Find a Job in Spain

One of the most common reasons to start learning a language is the motivation of moving to a different country and working there. Today at SpanishPod101.com, we’re going to talk about why you should consider moving to Spain and how to find a job there, as well as teach you a few basic facts, such as how to say “job” in Spanish, and more.

We’re not going to lie: In the past, getting a job in Spain hasn’t been as easy as we’d have liked. However, we have good news. The situation has actually been improving over the past two years. According to Trading Economics, in July 2018, the general unemployment rate in Spain was 15.3%. It sounds bad, but compare it to the rate in 2015 and 2016, which was around 21%. Definitely some improvement there.

There’s no need to worry about any of this right now, even if you’re not fluent in Spanish or don’t speak it too well yet. And to show you that it’s possible to find a job in Spain, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know if you want to work here, including how to the find the best foreigners-friendly jobs in Spain.

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Table of Contents

  1. Five Reasons Why You Should Move to Spain
  2. What You Need to Know Before Applying for Jobs
  3. How SpanishPod101.com Can Help You Find a Job in Spain

1. Five Reasons Why You Should Move to Spain

Just in case you’re not convinced yet, we thought we’d give you a few reasons to relocate to Spain. We think you’re going to like them.

Park Güell in Barcelona

1- The Food

Surely you’ve heard about Spanish food before, and probably even tried some. Paella, churros, gazpacho, jamón…these are just a few examples of the amazing food we have in Spain. So, why not live there so that you can eat it all the time?

2- The People

Spanish people are widely known for being friendly. If you’ve ever visited our country, you’ll know this is true. Everyone is welcoming and open-minded (as long as we’ve had our siesta after lunch). And if you love a good party, you’ve come to the right place. There’s nothing like the local fiestas that take place in each town at least once a year. Trust us, you’ll hear about them once you’re there.

3- The Cost of Living

Spain is so much cheaper to live in than a lot of other European countries. The most expensive Spanish cities are Barcelona, San Sebastián, and Madrid, and if you check a list of the most expensive cities in Europe, you’ll see they’re around the 50th position, so they’re pretty great compared to most of the nearest countries.

4- The Healthcare System

Every legal immigrant working in Spain has access to the public healthcare system as soon as they register for an NIE, which basically serves as your personal ID. As a Spaniard who has traveled a lot, this is definitely one of the best healthcare systems I have come across in my life.

5- We have Everything You’re Looking for

Basically, everything you need in your ideal city, you can find here. Do you want city? Check. Do you want beach? Check. Do you want mountains? Check. Sometimes you might even find all these things in one place, so just be sure to choose the right location for you.

There are many more reasons to convince you to move to Spain immediately, but I’ll leave them to you to find out when you arrive. That said, I think you see that there are many benefits of working in Spain that you won’t want to miss out on.

2. What You Need to Know Before Applying for Jobs

Now that you know why moving to Spain is a good idea, it’s time to help you find a job. To get you started, you should know that the word for “job” in Spanish is trabajo, empleo, or, in more informal contexts, curro. Two of these words have their respective verbal forms: trabajar and currar (“to work”). Again, currar is way more informal than trabajar, but both are widely used. Now that you know this, let’s get you a curro!

1- Spanish CV Tips

The first thing you should do before starting to apply for jobs is to write your new Spanish CV. Most resumes and CVs are similar in different countries, but there are always a few differences, so we recommend starting a new one from scratch. Here are some things you should keep in mind:

Writing a Resume

Include a photo

In a Spanish CV, it’s important that you include a professional photo of yourself. You can use the same photo you use for your passport or your driver’s license.

What language should you write it in?

Ideally, your CV should be written in Spanish. However, if you’re applying for a job that doesn’t require it or are looking for jobs for non-Spanish speakers in Spain, you can submit it in English.

Your personal information

The first part of your CV should include your basic personal information: name, last name, date of birth, address, email address, and phone number. It’s also common to include your marital status, but it’s not compulsory.

Your studies

The next section can either be about your education or your work experience, as the order isn’t too important here. You should list your studies in reverse-chronological order, starting with the most recent, including the institution and the location. You can choose to include the dates you started and finished each of them, but it’s not necessary. It’s up to you, really. If you can, you should include the equivalent of your qualifications to Spanish education.

Your work experience

As we said in the previous section, you can choose this section to be either about your education or your work experience. So if you listed your studies in the previous section, now it’s time to show your future employers what your past work experience is. You should also list them reverse-chronologically and starting with your most recent position. In this case, it’s common to include the dates. You don’t need to write anything about that position, unlike in some other countries. All you really need are the dates, your position in the company, the name of the company, and its location.

Languages

You should include a section listing the language or languages you speak, and your level of fluency. If your Spanish isn’t great or you don’t speak it (yet!), you should focus on the other languages you do speak.

Hobbies

This one is optional and might not be as common in other countries, but it’s really frequent in Spain to list some of the things you enjoy doing in your free time. For example, if you enjoy hiking or listening to music. This last section of your CV is also where you let them know if you have a driver’s license.

2- Six Most Common Job-Seeking Platforms to Find a Job in Spain

Finding a Job in Spain

Once you’ve completed your CV and your cover letter, you can start spreading them around. There are two basic ways of applying for jobs in Spain: using job-seeking platforms or giving CVs in person. Of course, nowadays everything is online, so it’s getting more and more common to only apply for jobs through these platforms. The only problem is that most of these sites are only in Spanish, so you’ll need to know at least a little bit of Spanish. Here are the most popular Spanish job hunting sites:

Infojobs

Infojobs is definitely the most-used website for finding jobs in Spain, and the one that everyone would recommend.

Infoempleo

This website, Infoempleo, is the second most-used Spanish job seeking website and we highly recommend it.

Primer Empleo

The name of this platform, Primer Empleo, means “First Job.” It’s not exclusive to people who have never had a job before, but it’s mostly focused on jobs for students or those who don’t have too much experience.

Empléate

This is the Government of Spain’s official website for finding a job and, to be honest, it’s not as commonly used as the previous websites we mentioned. However, it’s still safe and worth considering as a Spanish job-finding website.

LinkedIn

You probably already know LinkedIn, but if you don’t, we recommend you check it out. Basically, it’s a social network for employers and workers to create professional connections all over the world, and it’s also highly used in Spain.

European Language Jobs

Just like LinkedIn, this one isn’t an exclusive Spanish website, but it might actually be the most useful for non-Spanish speakers. They post job offers for speakers of different languages in various European cities. If you click on the link to the website, you’ll find all the current job offers in Spain, so all you need to do is find your language.

3- Easiest Jobs for Non-Spanish Speakers

As we mentioned before, and you probably already guessed, there are some jobs that require you to speak Spanish, but there are some others that might be easy for Spanish beginners. On the website we were just talking about, European Language Jobs, you’ll find offers for jobs that require knowledge of and fluency in languages other than Spanish. It’s definitely not the only website where you can find non-Spanish speaking jobs in Spain, so just be sure to do some research!

Here are some other options that foreigners finding jobs in Spain can try out to begin with:

Language teacher

Are there people who are interested in learning your mother tongue? If so, you already have a possible job in Spain. If you don’t feel comfortable enough to fully teach your native language, you can still offer conversation-based lessons, which is an option many language-learners choose, especially in advanced stages.

Tourism

In the most-visited cities, you’ll easily be able to work in the tourism industry, as they’re always looking for people who speak foreign languages. Of course, speaking Spanish is still desirable, but in certain positions, your native language might be more important.

Office jobs

Not every kind of office work will be suitable for a non-Spanish speaker in Spain, but you can certainly find some. They’ll mostly be foreign-based companies that also have an office in Spain.

4- Five Common Interview Questions in Spain

Once you’ve applied for jobs, it’s time to do some interviews. In a job interview in Spain, a lot of the questions you’ll be asked are about yourself, and not just about your work experience and qualifications. Here are five examples of questions you’re most likely to be asked, in Spanish, and followed by their translation in English.

Háblame un poco de ti. — “Tell me a little bit about yourself.”
The first question on our list isn’t actually a question, but it’s definitely something you’ll hear in an interview. To answer it, you should briefly explain your work experience and studies. You can also explain why you decided to move to Spain, if you think that might interest them.

¿Dónde te ves en cinco años? — “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
What the interviewer wants to know is whether your plans for the future match their plans for you. If you tell them you’re only thinking of working in Spain for a short period of time, they might not be as interested in you as they would be if they knew you’re planning on staying there for a long, long time.

¿Cuál es tu mayor virtud? — “What is your best quality?”
This question might differ a little. They could ask you about only your best quality, or about your three best qualities, for example. When answering this, you need to be realistic and tell them about a skill you know will make a good difference in the position you’re being interviewed for. Before going to your interview, think a little bit about what you’ll say.

¿Cuál es tu mayor defecto? — “What is your worst quality?”
This one is also a hard question. You obviously want to look good even after answering this question, but we recommend you don’t answer with something like “I’m too much of a perfectionist,” because even if you are, they won’t believe you. Just like in the previous question, you need to think about the right answer for this question and be realistic. You could mention something that’s been hard for you in the past, but that you’ve been working on to improve, and give specific examples for it if you can. To give you an example, a good answer would be that you used to be slightly unpunctual, but for the past few years you’ve been paying much more attention to it and are always on time now.

¿Por qué deberíamos contratarte? — “Why should we hire you?”
This one isn’t as common as the other four questions, but it’s still an important one and you should know how to answer. Your answer will depend on the kind of work that you’ll be doing, but obviously it should be focused on everything you can contribute to the team.

Job Interview in Spain

5- Full-time and Part-time Jobs

In Spain, both full-time and part-time jobs are equally frequent to find on the main job-seeking platforms. A common full-time job in Spain, or trabajo a tiempo completo, has an average of nearly 40 hours per week.

However, if you get a part-time job, or trabajo a tiempo parcial, you’ll generally work about six hours a day.

Both types of jobs offer you the same rights as a worker. This means that if you get a part-time job, no matter how many hours you work, you’ll still have full free access to the public healthcare system, for example. This makes working in Spain quite convenient in terms of healthcare, and we should all know how important that is.

6- Working Visas for Non-EU/EEA or Switzerland Citizens

Getting a Spanish Work Visa

If your passport says you’re from a country in the EU or EEA, or from Switzerland, you don’t need to worry about getting a visa; you can just fly to Spain and start working. It’s as simple as that. However, if you’re from any other country, you’ll need a valid working visa, and that does require some paperwork. Here, we’ll go into a little detail on the visa requirements to work in Spain.

You cannot apply for this visa directly, so in order to get it, you’ll need to find a job first, and then your employer will have to start doing the procedures for you so that you can receive a Work and Residence Permit. Once you have this permit, you can apply for a Work Visa. Your employer in Spain should be able to help you with this whole process, but if they can’t, don’t hesitate to contact your nearest Spanish Embassy or Consulate.

7- Minimum Salary

The minimum salary in Spain was raised to €735.90 per month or €24.53 per day in 2018 from the €707.60 per month or €23.59 per day that was in place in 2017. In 2016, the minimum monthly salary was €655.20 and it had been growing really slowly over the last ten years, so this is a great time to relocate to Spain.

We realize it might not seem like too much, but remember this is only the minimum salary, so you’ll be making more money if you get a job with higher qualifications. You must also keep in mind that the cost of living is way cheaper than in most European countries, as we said previously in this article.

8- Something Else You Should Know

Just like everywhere else, to find a job in Spain, it’s important that you have qualifications, experience, confidence, and possibly speak more than one language.

In case you didn’t know, Spanish isn’t the only language spoken in Spain. There are a few regions in Spain that have co-official languages. If you go to cities like Barcelona, Valencia, Santiago de Compostela, or Bilbao, among others, you’ll hear languages other than Spanish, and we’re not just referring to the tourists. When applying for a job, speaking these regional languages is considered a positive trait, but normally they’re only required in public administration jobs.

3. How SpanishPod101.com Can Help You Find a Job in Spain

At SpanishPod101.com, you’ll find everything you need to learn Spanish, whether you’re just getting started or are at a more advanced level.

If your dream is to live and work in Spain, we’re sure you already know that you should learn some Spanish before moving there. Like we mentioned before, you can still get a job if you’re not fluent or if you don’t speak too much Spanish, but your options will be much more limited, so you know what to do!

Check out SpanishPod101.com’s vocabulary lists, such as the Top 15 Spanish Questions You Should Know for Conversations, or some useful learning tips like Top Ways to Practice Your Spanish Reading Skills.

We hope this article provided you with all the info you need about working and living in Spain. Thanks for reading, and best of luck with all of your Spanish job-hunting endeavors!

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Carnaval in Spain: How to Celebrate the Spanish Carnival

In 2010, the Cádiz Carnivals were considered to be one of the ten treasures of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Spain. According to some historians, the origin of this festival, which usually lasts three days and in which people dress up in costumes, dates back to ancient Egypt and Sumer, about 5,000 years ago.

Thus, you can see how the Spanish Carnival is an integral part of Spain’s culture. Let SpanishPod101.com show you all the interesting facets of the Spanish Carnival, including the famous burial of the Sardine and more Spanish Carnival facts!

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1. What is Spanish Carnival?

In Spain, Carnival is a time of feasting and celebration before the Lent period of fasting. This is a holiday long celebrated throughout history, and the concept is common throughout the world—that of indulgence and fun before the fasting begins.

From Spanish Carnival masks to an array of exciting dances, the Spanish Carnival is quite the celebration. Indeed, the Carnival of Spain is not something to be missed!

2. When is it?

Large Group of People

The date of the Spanish Carnival season varies each year as it depends on the date of Easter. For your convenience, here’s this holiday’s date for the next ten years:

  • 2019: March 4
  • 2020: February 24
  • 2021: February 15
  • 2022: January 31
  • 2023: February 20
  • 2024: February 12
  • 2025: March 3
  • 2026: February 16
  • 2027: February 8
  • 2028: February 28

3. How is it Celebrated?

Two People Dancing

Learn about how the Spanish Carnival is celebrated by reading the Spanish text below (you can find the English translation directly below it).
—–
Aunque dura oficialmente 11 días, los ensayos, concursos y actos gastronómicos consiguen que el ambiente de carnaval dure cerca de un mes. De Cadiz son conocidísimas las chirigotas. Son agrupaciones músico coral que canta principalmente por las calles ofreciendo coplas humorísticas. Es típico en estas fechas ver los concursos de estas y otras agrupaciones por televisión.

El Carnaval de Santa Cruz de Tenerife es otro de los más populares. En esta fiesta se disfruta de más de una semana de música, baile y disfraces. A estos días le preceden otros en los que tiene lugar la presentación de las candidatas a Reina. También los diversos concursos de murgas infantiles y adultas, que tienen su origen en las chirigotas gaditanas. Se realiza al final el Entierro de la Sardina. Consiste en un desfile que parodia un cortejo fúnebre y culmina con la quema de una figura, normalmente representando a una sardina. Se celebra tradicionalmente el miércoles de Ceniza.

En el Carnaval de Gran Canaria se celebran dos galas de gran fama. Una en la se que elige la Reina y otra en la que se elige al Drag Queen del Carnaval. La fiesta comienza con el pregón del Carnaval. Un acto muy esperado también es la Gran Cabalgata del sábado siguiente a la Gala de elección de la Reina y del Drag Queen.

En Solsona cuenta la leyenda que enviaron un burro a comer la hierba del campanario de la catedral. Decidieron subirlo colgado del cuello y el animal vació en este momento la vejiga sobre el público. Hoy se sigue recordando en sus carnavales esto con la ‘Colgada del burro’… aunque el animal es de cartón-piedra y peluche, y relleno de agua.
—–

Though they officially last 11 days, gastronomic events, competitions and rehearsals make the atmosphere of Carnival last about a month. From Cádiz, the “chirigotas” are extremely well known. They are musical choir groups who sing mainly in the streets, offering humorous verses. It is typical on these dates to see the contests between these and other groups on television.

The Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is another of the most popular ones. At this celebration you can enjoy more than one week of music, dancing and costumes. These days are preceded by others in which the presentation of the candidates to the throne of the Queen takes place. There are also different contests for children’s and adults’ bands of street musicians, which have their origin in the Cadiz Carnival. These are held at the end of the burial of the sardine. That consists of a parade that parodies a funeral procession and culminates with the burning of a figure, usually representing a sardine. This is traditionally celebrated on Ash Wednesday.

In the Gran Canaria Carnival, two very famous galas are held: one in which the Queen is chosen and another in which the Drag Queen of the Carnival is chosen. The celebration begins with the proclamation of the Carnival. Another highly anticipated event is a parade held on the Saturday following the election of the Queen and Drag Queen.

In Solsona the legend has it a donkey was sent to eat the grass of the bell tower of the Cathedral. The people decided to lift it by hanging it from the neck, at which time, the animal emptied its bladder over the crowd. Today this is still remembered at its Carnivals with the “hanging of the donkey”… Although the animal now is papier-mâché, plush, and filled with water.

4. Additional Information

However, there are many other places in the country where Carnival leaves a different mark, a more ritual one. In these places, the celebration is focused on rural and indigenous communities, in Spanish “comunidades indígenas,” where the participants take over the streets and rejoice in the music, dancing, regional masks, and costumes or “disfraces”. These aspects combine to transform the celebration into a more locally traditional affair.

The Carnival of Morelos is one of the ones that best preserve this local tradition. Here, the most popular dance is the chinelos’ dance, or “danza de los chinelos”, a dance which has been preserved with few changes for more than a century.

A “chinelo” is a comical representation of the Spanish colonial people. These Spanish Carnival costumes are fantastically vivid—long robes of velvet and multicolor layers, palm hats covered with black velvet that extend upward, decorated with fretwork, flowers, drawings and feathers; and masks with a white complexion and rosy cheeks, blue eyes, a mustache and pointy beard. You certainly won’t forget seeing these Spanish Carnival costumes!

The celebration starts with the procession of the chinelos, who begin by doing a few dances. Upon arriving at the plaza square, they begin to jump up and down, hopping on their tiptoes. The dancers jump energetically, spinning around, and continue for hours until it’s time for the “fireworks,” or fuegos artificiales, and popular dance.

5. Must-know Vocab

Carnival Queen Image

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Spanish Carnival season!

  • Abarrotado — “Crowded”
  • Bailar — “Dance”
  • Carnaval — “Carnival”
  • Desfile — “Parade”
  • Disfraz — “Costume”
  • Reina del carnaval — “Carnival queen”
  • Entierro de la sardina — “Burial of the Sardine”
  • Máscara — “Mask”
  • Confeti — “Confetti”
  • Celebración — “Celebration”

If you want to hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, visit our Carnival in Spain vocabulary list. Here, you’ll find each word accompanied by an audio of its pronunciation.

Conclusion

Wow! What do you think of the Carnival in Spain and Mexico? Do you celebrate Carnival or a similar holiday in your own country? Let us know in the comments!

To learn even more about Spanish culture and the language, visit us at SpanishPod101.com. We offer an array of insightful blog posts, free vocabulary lists, and even an online community to discuss lessons with fellow Spanish learners. Further, you can check out our MyTeacher program if you’re interested in a one-on-one learning experience with your own personal Spanish teacher!

We hope you enjoyed learning about the Carnival Spanish holiday and that you took something valuable away from this lesson. Keep up the hard work and you’ll begin to speak like a native in no time, and be a master of the culture!

How to Say I Love You in Spanish - Romantic Word List

Do you often feel lonely and sad? Do you long for romance and are willing to do whatever it takes to meet that special person? Speaking another language could revolutionize your love life! So, why wait? Learning how to say ‘love’ in Spanish could be just what you need to find it.

Or perhaps you were lucky, and have found your Spanish partner already. Fantastic! Yet, a cross-cultural relationship comes with unique challenges. Learning how to speak your lover’s language will greatly improve your communication and enhance the relationship. At SpanishPod101, our team will teach you all the words, quotes and phrases you need to woo your Spanish lover with excellence! Our tutors provide personal assistance, with plenty of extra material available to make Spanish dating easy for you.

Table of Contents

  1. Common Phrases You’ll Need for a Date
  2. The Most Romantic Ideas for a Date
  3. Must-know Valentine’s Day Vocabulary
  4. Spanish Love Phrases for Valentine’s Day
  5. Spanish Quotes about Love
  6. Marriage Proposal Lines
  7. 15 Most Common Break-Up Lines
  8. Will Falling in Love Help You Learn Spanish Faster?

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1. Common Phrases You’ll Need for a Date

So, you have met your Spanish love interest. Congratulations! Who knows where this could take you…?! However, the two of you have just met and you’re not ready to say the Spanish word for love just yet. Great, it is better to get to know him/her first. Wow your prospective love by using these Spanish date phrases to set up a spectacular first date.

Spanish Date Phrases

Would you like to go out to dinner with me?

  • ¿Te gustaría ir a cenar conmigo?

The important question! In most cultures, this phrase indicates: ‘I’m romantically interested in you’. Flirting in Spanish is no different, so don’t take your date to Mcdonald’s!

Are you free this weekend?

  • ¿Estás libre este fin de semana?

This is a preamble to asking your love interest on a date. If you get an immediate ‘Yes’, that’s good news!

Would you like to hang out with me?

  • ¿Quieres salir conmigo?

You like her/him, but you’re not sure if there’s chemistry. Ask them to hang out first to see if a dinner date is next.

What time shall we meet tomorrow?

  • ¿A qué hora nos vemos mañana?

Set a time, and be sure to arrive early! Nothing spoils a potential relationship more than a tardy date.

Where shall we meet?

  • ¿Donde nos vemos?

You can ask this, but also suggest a place.

You look great.

  • Te ves genial.

A wonderful ice breaker! This phrase will help them relax a bit - they probably took great care to look their best just for you.

You are so cute.

  • Eres tan linda.

If the two of you are getting on really well, this is a fun, flirtatious phrase to use.

What do you think of this place?

  • ¿Qué opinas de este lugar?

This another good conversation starter. Show off your Spanish language skills!

Can I see you again?

  • ¿Puedo verte de nuevo?

So the date went really well - don’t waste time! Make sure you will see each other again.

Shall we go somewhere else?

  • ¿Vamos a otro lugar?

If the place you meet at is not great, you can suggest going elsewhere. It is also a good question to follow the previous one. Variety is the spice of life!

I know a good place.

  • Conozco un buen lugar.

Use this with the previous question. However, don’t say if you don’t know a good place!

I will drive you home.

  • Voy a llevarte a tu casa.

If your date doesn’t have transport, this is a polite, considerate offer. However, don’t be offended if she/he turns you down on the first date. Especially a woman might not feel comfortable letting you drive her home when the two of you are still basically strangers.

That was a great evening.

  • Fue una gran noche.

This is a good phrase to end the evening with.

When can I see you again?

  • ¿Cuándo puedo volver a verte?

If he/she replied ‘Yes’ to ‘Can I see you again?’, this is the next important question.

I’ll call you.

  • Te llamaré.

Say this only if you really mean to do it. In many cultures, this could imply that you’re keeping the proverbial backdoor open.

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2. The Most Romantic Ideas for a Date

You learned all the Spanish phrases to make a date - congratulations! Now you have to decide where to meet, which can be tricky. Discuss these options with your lover to gauge whether you like the same things. Check out romantic date ideas in Spanish below!

Date Ideas in Spanish

museum

  • museo

If you’re looking for unique date ideas that are fun but won’t break the bank, museums are the perfect spot! You won’t be running out of things to say in the conversations.

candlelit dinner

  • cena con velas

A candlelit dinner is perhaps best to reserve for when the relationship is getting serious. It’s very intimate, and says: “Romance!” It’s a fantastic choice if you’re sure you and your date are in love with each other!

go to the zoo

  • ir al zoológico

This is a good choice for shy lovers who want to get the conversation going. Just make sure your date likes zoos, as some people dislike them. Maybe not for the first date, but this is also a great choice if your lover has children - you’ll win his/her adoration for inviting them along!

go for a long walk

  • dar un largo paseo

Need to talk about serious stuff, or just want to relax with your date? Walking together is soothing, and a habit you can keep up together always! Just make sure it’s a beautiful walk that’s not too strenuous.

go to the opera

  • ir a la ópera

This type of date should only be attempted if both of you love the opera. It can be a special treat, followed by a candlelit dinner!

go to the aquarium

  • ir al acuario

Going to the aquarium is another good idea if you need topics for conversation, or if you need to impress your lover’s kids! Make sure your date doesn’t have a problem with aquariums.

walk on the beach

  • caminar en la playa

This can be a very romantic stroll, especially at night! The sea is often associated with romance and beauty.

have a picnic

  • tener un picnic

If you and your date need to get more comfortable together, this can be a fantastic date. Spending time in nature is soothing and calms the nerves.

cook a meal together

  • cocinar una comida juntos

If you want to get an idea of your date’s true character in one go, this is an excellent date! You will quickly see if the two of you can work together in a confined space. If it works, it will be fantastic for the relationship and create a sense of intimacy. If not, you will probably part ways!

have dinner and see a movie

  • cenar y ver una película

This is traditional date choice works perfectly well. Just make sure you and your date like the same kind of movies!

3. Must-know Valentine’s Day Vocabulary

Valentine's Day Words in Spanish

Expressing your feelings honestly is very important in any relationship all year round. Yet, on Valentine’s Day you really want to shine. Impress your lover this Valentine’s with your excellent vocabulary, and make his/her day! We teach you, in fun, effective ways, the meanings of the words and how to pronounce them. You can also copy the characters and learn how to write ‘I love you’ in Spanish - think how impressed your date will be!

4. Spanish Love Phrases for Valentine’s Day

So, you now have the basic Valentine’s Day vocabulary under your belt. Well done! But, do you know how to say ‘I love you’ in Spanish yet? Or perhaps you are still only friends. So, do you know how to say ‘I like you’ or ‘I have a crush on you’ in Spanish? No? Don’t worry, here are all the love phrases you need to bowl over your Spanish love on this special day!

Valentine's Day Words in Spanish

I love you.

  • Te amo.

Saying ‘I love you’ in Spanish carries the same weight as in all languages. Use this only if you’re sure and sincere about your feelings for your partner/friend.

You mean so much to me.

  • Tú quieres decir mucho para mí.

This is a beautiful expression of gratitude that will enhance any relationship! It makes the receiver feel appreciated and their efforts recognized.

Will you be my Valentine?

  • ¿Quieres ser mi Valentín?

With these words, you are taking your relationship to the next level! Or, if you have been a couple for a while, it shows that you still feel the romance. So, go for it!

You’re so beautiful.

  • Eres tan bella.

If you don’t know how to say ‘You’re pretty’ in Spanish, this is a good substitute, gentlemen!

I think of you as more than a friend.

  • Pienso en ti como algo más que un amigo.

Say this if you are not yet sure that your romantic feelings are reciprocated. It is also a safe go-to if you’re unsure about the Spanish dating culture.

A hundred hearts would be too few to carry all my love for you.

  • Cien corazones serían demasiado pocos para contener todo mi amor por ti.

You romantic you…! When your heart overflows with love, this would be the best phrase to use.

Love is just love. It can never be explained.

  • Amor es sólo amor. No puede ser explicado.

If you fell in love unexpectedly or inexplicably, this one’s for you.

You’re so handsome.

  • Eres tan guapo.

Ladies, this phrase lets your Spanish love know how much you appreciate his looks! Don’t be shy to use it; men like compliments too.

I’ve got a crush on you.

  • Me estoy enamorando de ti.

If you like someone, but you’re unsure about starting a relationship, it would be prudent to say this. It simply means that you like someone very, very much and think they’re amazing.

You make me want to be a better man.

  • Me haces querer ser un hombre mejor.

Gentlemen, don’t claim this phrase as your own! It hails from the movie ‘As Good as it Gets’, but it is sure to make your Spanish girlfriend feel very special. Let her know that she inspires you!

Let all that you do be done in love.

  • Que todo lo que hagas sea con amor.

We hope.

You are my sunshine, my love.

  • Tú eres mi rayo de sol, mi amor.

A compliment that lets your lover know they bring a special quality to your life. Really nice!

Words can’t describe my love for you.

  • Las palabras no pueden describir mi amor por ti.

Better say this when you’re feeling serious about the relationship! It means that your feelings are very intense.

We were meant to be together.

  • Estámos destinados a estar juntos.

This is a loving affirmation that shows you see a future together, and that you feel a special bond with your partner.

If you were thinking about someone while reading this, you’re definitely in love.

  • Si estabas pensando en alguien mientras leías esto, definitivamente estás enamorado.

Here’s something fun to tease your lover with. And hope he/she was thinking of you!

5. Spanish Quotes about Love

Spanish Love Quotes

You’re a love champ! You and your Spanish lover are getting along fantastically, your dates are awesome, your Valentine’s Day together was spectacular, and you’re very much in love. Good for you! Here are some beautiful phrases of endearment in Spanish that will remind him/her who is in your thoughts all the time.

6. Marriage Proposal Lines

Spanish Marriage Proposal Lines

Wow. Your Spanish lover is indeed the love of your life - congratulations! And may only happiness follow the two of you! In most traditions, the man asks the woman to marry; this is also the Spanish custom. Here are a few sincere and romantic lines that will help you to ask your lady-love for her hand in marriage.

7. 15 Most Common Break-Up Lines

Spanish Break-Up Lines

Instead of moving towards marriage or a long-term relationship, you find that the spark is not there for you. That is a pity! But even though breaking up is never easy, continuing a bad or unfulfilling relationship would be even harder. Remember to be kind to the person you are going to say goodbye to; respect and sensitivity cost nothing. Here are some phrases to help you break up gently.

  • I’m not good enough for you.
    • No soy lo suficientemente bueno para ti.

    Say this only if you really believe it, or you’ll end up sounding false. Break-ups are usually hard for the receiving party, so don’t insult him/her with an insincere comment.

    It’s not you. It’s me.

    • No eres tú. Soy yo.

    As long as you mean it, this can be a kind thing to say. It means that there’s nothing wrong with your Spanish lover as a person, but that you need something different from a relationship.

    I’m just not ready for this kind of relationship.

    • No estoy listo para este tipo de relación.

    Things moved a bit fast and got too intense, too soon? Painful as it is, honesty is often the best way to break up with somebody.

    Let’s just be friends.

    • Seamos solo amigos.

    If the relationship was very intense, and you have sent many ‘i love u’ texts in Spanish, this would not be a good breakup line. Feelings need to calm down before you can be friends, if ever. If the relationship has not really developed yet, a friendship would be possible.

    I think we need a break.

    • Creo que necesitamos terminar.

    This is again honest, and to the point. No need to play with someone’s emotions by not letting them know how you feel. However, this could imply that you may fall in love with him/her again after a period of time, so use with discretion.

    You deserve better.

    • Mereces algo mejor.

    Yes, he/she probably deserves a better relationship if your own feelings have cooled down.

    We should start seeing other people.

    • Deberíamos empezar a ver a otras personas.

    This is probably the least gentle break-up phrase, so reserve it for a lover that doesn’t get the message!

    I need my space.

    • Necesito mi espacio.

    When a person is too clingy or demanding, this would be an suitable break-up phrase. It is another good go-to for that lover who doesn’t get the message!

    I think we’re moving too fast.

    • Creo que estamos avanzando muy rápido.

    Say this if you want to keep the relationship, but need to slow down its progress a bit. It is also good if you feel things are getting too intense for your liking. However, it is not really a break-up line, so be careful not to mislead.

    I need to focus on my career.

    • Necesito concentrarme en mi carrera.

    If you feel that you will not be able to give 100% in a relationship due to career demands, this is the phrase to use. It’s also good if you are unwilling to give up your career for a relationship.

    We need to talk.

    • Tenemos que hablar.

    This is not really a break-up line, but it is a good conversation opener with a serious tone.

    I just don’t love you anymore.

    • Ya no te quiero más.

    This harsh line is sometimes the best one to use if you are struggling to get through to a stubborn, clingy lover who won’t accept your break up. Use it as a last resort. Then switch your phone off and block their emails!

    We’re just not right for each other.

    • Simplemente no somos el uno para el otro.

    If this is how you truly feel, you need to say it. Be kind, gentle and polite.

    It’s for the best.

    • Es lo mejor.

    This phrase is called for if circumstances are difficult and the relationship is not progressing well. Love should enhance one’s life, not burden it!

    We’ve grown apart.

    • Nos hemos distanciado.

    Cross-cultural relationships are often long-distance ones, and it is easy to grow apart over time.

  • 8. Will Falling in Love help you Learn Spanish faster?

    Most people will agree that the above statement is a no-brainer - of course it will! Your body will be flooded with feel-good hormones, which are superb motivators for anything. SpanishPod101 is one of the best portals to help help make this a reality, so don’t hesitate to enroll now! Let’s quickly look at the reasons why falling in love will speed up your learning of the Spanish language.

    Three Reasons Why Having a Lover will Help you Learn Spanish Faster!

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    1- Being in a love relationship with your Spanish speaking partner will immerse you in the culture
    SpanishPod101 uses immersive methods and tools to teach you Spanish, but having a relationship with a native speaker will be a very valuable addition to your learning experience! You will gain exposure to their world, realtime and vividly, which will make the language come alive even more for you. The experience is likely to expand your world-view, which should motivate you to learn Spanish even faster.

    2- Having your Spanish romantic partner will mean more opportunity to practice speaking
    Nothing beats continuous practice when learning a new language. Your partner will probably be very willing to assist you in this, as your enhanced Spanish language skills will enhance the relationship. Communication is, after all, one of the most important pillars of a good partnership. Also, you will get to impress your lover with the knowledge gained through your studies - a win/win situation!

    3- A supportive Spanish lover is likely to make a gentle, patient teacher and study aid!
    With his/her heart filled with love and goodwill for you, your Spanish partner is likely to patiently and gently correct your mistakes when you speak. This goes not only for grammar, but also for accent and meaning. With his/her help, you could sound like a native in no time!

    Three Reasons Why SpanishPod101 helps you learn Spanish Even Faster when you’re In Love

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    1- All the Resources and Materials Will Help Both of You
    Falling in love with a man or woman speaking Spanish is an opportunity for both of you to learn a new language! For this reason, every lesson, transcript, vocabulary list, and resource at SpanishPod101 is translated into both English and Spanish. So, while your partner can help you learn Spanish faster, you can potentially also help him/her learn and master English!

    2- Lessons Are Designed to Help You Understand and Engage with Spanish Culture
    At SpanishPod101, our focus is to help our students learn practical vocabulary and phrases used by everyday people in Spain. This means that, from your very first lesson, you can apply what you learn immediately! So, when your Spanish partner wants to go out to a restaurant, play Pokemon Go, or attend just about any social function, you have the vocabulary and phrases necessary to have a great time!

    3- Access to Special Resources Dedicated to Romantic Spanish Phrases
    You now have access to SpanishPod101’s specially-developed sections and tools to teach you love words, phrases, and cultural insights to help you find and attract your Spanish soul mate. A personal tutor will assist you to master these brilliantly - remember to invite him/her to your wedding!

    Secret Revealed: The Best Way to Learn a Language on Your Own

    Learning A Language on Your Own

    Can You Really Learn Spanish Alone?

    Learning a language on your own or without traditional classroom instruction may seem quite daunting at first. What if you run into questions? How do you stay motivated and on track to achieving goals?

    Don’t worry, not only is it possible to learn Spanish or any language without traditional classroom instruction: SpanishPod101 has created the world’s most advanced and extensive online language learning system. Not only is SpanishPod101 specifically designed to help you with learning a language on your own, it’s actually faster, more convenient, and less expensive than traditional classroom options!

    Let’s look at some of the benefits of learning Spanish or any language alone.

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    3 Reasons to Learn a Language Alone

    Learning Alone

    1. Learn at Your Own Pace and On Your Schedule

    In today’s fast-paced world, there just isn’t time for traditional classroom instruction. Between getting to class and studying on some professor or teacher’s schedule, traditional classroom learning is simply impossible to fit in. But when you learn Spanish alone, you can study in bed if you like and whenever suits your schedule best, making it far easier to actually reach your goal of learning and mastering the language.

    2. Learning a Language on Your Own Reduces Stress and Anxiety

    Speaking in front of a class, pop quizzes, and tests are just a few of the stressors you will encounter when you learn a language in a traditional classroom setting. Specifically, these are external stressors that often derail most people’s dream of learning a new language. But when you learn Spanish alone, there are no external stressors. Without the external stress and anxiety, it becomes much easier and more exciting to study Spanish and reach your very own goals—all on your own!

    3. Learning Spanish Alone Helps Improve Cognitive Function and Overall Success

    Learning a language on your own is indeed more challenging in some ways than being taught in a traditional classroom setting. In fact, while classroom instruction requires more rote memorization and following instructions, studying a language on your own requires more problem-solving and higher cognitive function to self-teach lessons and hit goals. So while it’s more challenging and requires higher levels of cognition, teaching yourself a language pays dividends throughout life by better preparing you for social/work opportunities that arise.

    How to Learn a Language on Your Own with SpanishPod101

    Learning with SpanishPod101

    1. Access to the World’s Largest Collection of Spanish Audio & Video Lessons

    The best way to learn a language on your own is to study from native speaking instructors. Ideally, you want audio and/or video lessons that teach vocabulary, grammar, and provide actual Spanish conversations and dialogue to help you with pronunciation. SpanishPod101 has hundreds of hours of HD audio and video lessons created by real Spanish instructors and every lesson is presented by professional Spanish actors for perfect pronunciation. Plus, all lessons can be accessed 24/7 via any mobile device with Internet access. And, if you download the PDF versions of each lesson, you can even study without Internet access once the lesson is stored on your device!

    2. “Learning Paths” with Spanish Courses Based Upon Your Exact Needs & Goals

    Although SpanishPod101 has more than thousands of video and audio lessons, you need not review each and every one to learn the language. In fact, SpanishPod101 has developed a feature called “Learning Paths”. You simply tell us your goals and we will identify the best courses and study plan to help you reach them in the shortest time possible. So even though you are technically learning a language on your own, our team is always here to help and make sure you reach your goals FAST!

    3. Advanced Learning Tools Reduce Learning Time and Boost Retention

    When you have the right tools and Spanish learning resources, it’s actually easy to teach yourself a language! In the past 10+ years, SpanishPod101 has developed, tested, and refined more than 20 advanced learning tools to boost retention and reduce learning time, including:

    • Spaced Repetition Flashcards
    • Line-by-Line Dialogue Breakdown
    • Review Quizzes
    • Voice Recording Tools to Help Perfect Pronunciation
    • Teacher Feedback and Comments for Each Lesson
    • Spanish Dictionary with Pronunciation
    • Free PDF Cheat Sheets
    • And Much More!

    Armed with our growing collection of advanced learning tools, it’s truly a breeze to learn Spanish alone and reach your goals!

    Conclusion

    Learning a language on your own is not only possible, it’s actually easier and more beneficial for you than traditional classroom instruction. In fact, when you learn Spanish on your own you can study at your own pace, eliminate stress, and actually increase cognitive function.

    SpanishPod101 is the world’s most advanced online language learning system and a great resource to help you teach yourself a new language. With the world’s largest collection of HD audio and video lessons, more than 20 advanced learning tools, and customized “Learning Paths”, SpanishPod101 makes learning a new language easier, more convenient, and less expensive than traditional classroom instruction.

    And the best part is: With SpanishPod101, you can study in bed, your car, or wherever you have a few spare minutes of time. Create your Free Lifetime Account now and get a FREE ebook to help “kickstart” your dream of learning a language on your own below!

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    Dia de la Candelaria: How to Celebrate Candlemas in Mexico

    Candlemas

    In the very Catholic Mexico, many celebrate the religious holiday known as Candlemas (or Dia de la Candelaria in Spanish). By learning about this holiday, you’re also immersing yourself in one of the most important aspects of Mexican culture: its people’s religious beliefs, and how they’re expressed through celebration.

    So, what is Candlemas Day in Mexico? What are the most common Mexican holidays and traditions surrounding this holiday? Learn more about the significance of the Nativity scene in this holiday and more, with SpanishPod101.com.

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    1. What is Spanish Candlemas?

    Candlemas in Mexico may be best known as the day that Mexicans finally take down the Nativity scene that they put up before Christmas. This is a very religious holiday, and is also known as the day of the “Presentation of Jesus at the Temple.”

    This name takes root in the biblical book of Luke, and also commemorates the cleansing of the Blessed Virgin Mary. According to Jewish custom, a woman must be cleansed about a month after giving birth and so Candlemas is thought to be the approximate time Mary would have done so.

    2. When is it?

    Calendar

    Mexicans celebrate Candlemas forty days after Christmas, February 2, each year.

    3. How is it Celebrated?

    Celebration

    On Dia de la Candelaria, Mexicans take down the Nativity scene that they set up before Christmas. Further, many people will dress up figures of the baby Jesus to be blessed once at the iglesia, or “church.” This blessed figurine Jesus is then placed somewhere to dwell for the rest of the year, sometimes with a family who’s then expected to open their home to any visitors for that period of time.

    Another common tradition is the gathering of family and friends to feast together, particularly on tamals, or “tamales.” During this fiesta, or “party,” many Mexicans also make a special bread called rosca, which is shaped like a wreath and contains a figurine of the baby Jesus baked inside of it. A fun tradition centering on this is that the person who finds this figurine is the one to dress the Baby Jesus that will be blessed.

    Sometimes this Baby Jesus is a relic possessed by the family for many generations, making it a very sentimental aspect of the holiday. However, other families go out and buy a new one if they don’t already have one. Regardless of how long this Baby Jesus figurine has been in the family for, its blessing at the church is one of the most important things that will happen all year and is greatly relished by the family as a whole.

    While feasting, they also like to drink something called atole, which has a corn base and is typically served hot or warm. This beverage is certainly fitting to the comfort and warmth that Dia de la Candelaria holds.

    There are some places in Mexico that really go all out with Candlemas celebrations, complete with bull fights and special parades to enjoy.

    4. Additional Information

    The Nativity scene, or in Spanish Nacimiento, is a representation of Jesus Christ’s birth. They’re always set up prior to Christmas, traditionally on December 8, according to the celebration of the Conception; they stay up until February 2, the day of Candlemas.

    Under the Mexican tradition, Nativity scenes represent Mary and Joseph with clay figures in a manger or a “stable,” or establo, joined by a “mule,” or mula, and an “ox,” or toro. The scene can also include other figures to adore the Christ child, such as “shepherds,” or pastores, “angels,” or ángeles, and the “star of Bethlehem,” or estrella de Belén.

    There are Nativity scenes of all shapes and sizes. Some people put up extravagant ones, with cascades, rivers, lakes where ducks swim, shepherds and their flocks of sheep, and many other characters who attend to offer gifts to Baby Jesus. These gifts often include pots, hens, vegetables, and fruits.

    Some of these Nativity scenes are mobile, where the figures are moved around from day to day according to what happens in the biblical events; shepherds are moved, and the “Three Wise Men,” or Tres Reyes Magos, draw near the manger as the Epiphany draws near.

    5. Must-know Vocab for Candelario in Mexico

    Finally, once Candlemas arrives, these Nativity scenes are taken down to make way for the Candlemas celebrations!

    Candlemas Day

    Here’s some vocabulary you should know to celebrate Mexican Candlemas Day to its fullest! Be sure to study these in order to improve your Spanish vocabulary and pronunciation.

    • febrero — “February”
    • bebé — “baby”
    • madre — “mother”
    • vela — “candle”
    • iglesia — “church”
    • atole — “atole” (a drink served in Mexico, usually served hot or warm, with a corn base)
    • Virgen María — “Virgin Mary”
    • tamal — “tamal”
    • fiesta — “party”
    • Candelaria — “Candlemas”
    • rosca — “rosca” (a type of bread shaped like a wreath, with a baby figurine inside of it and candied fruit on top)

    To hear the pronunciation of each word as well, be sure to check out our Spanish Candlemas vocabulary list. Each word is accompanied by an audio file with the word’s pronunciation.

    Conclusion

    You’ve learned a lot about how Mexicans celebrate Dia de la Candelaria, particularly the significance of the Nativity scene and the blessing of the Baby Jesus figurine.

    Do you celebrate Candlemas in your home country, or a holiday like it? Let us know in the comments!

    To learn more about Mexican holidays and traditions, and its culture in general, visit us at SpanishPod101.com. We offer an array of vocabulary lists and blog posts, and we even host an online community where you can discuss topics you’re learning with fellow students. And if you want a more one-on-one approach to your learning, you can download our MyTeacher app!

    Make your account today and start learning Spanish efficiently and with a flair of fun!

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    Language Learning Tips: How to Avoid Awkward Silences

    Avoid Awkward Silences

    Yes, even beginners can quickly learn conversational Spanish well enough to carry on real conversations with native speakers. Of course, beginners won’t be able to carry a conversation the same way they could in their native language. But, just knowing a few tips like which questions to ask to keep a conversation going are all you need to speak and interact with real native speakers! But before we get to specific suggestions, let’s first take a closer look at how having real Spanish conversations is so vital to your mastery of the language.

    Learning to Carry a Conversation is Vital to Mastery of Any Language

    Communicating with other people is the very point of language and conversation is almost second nature in our native tongue. For beginners or anyone learning a new language, conversations aren’t easy at all and even simple Spanish greetings can be intimidating and awkward.

    However, there are 3 vital reasons why you should learn conversational Spanish as quickly as possible:

    • Avoid Awkward Silences: Nothing kills a conversation faster than long periods of awkward silence, so you need practice and specific strategies to avoid them.
    • Improve the Flow of Conversation to Make a Better Impression: When you know what to say to keep a conversation going, communication becomes much easier and you make a better impression on your listener.
    • Master the Language Faster: Nothing will help you learn to speak Spanish faster and truly master the language than having real conversations with native speakers. Conversations quickly expose you to slang, cultural expressions, and vocabulary that force you to absorb and assimilate information faster than any educational setting—and that’s a great thing!

    But how can you possibly have real conversations with real Spanish people if you are just starting out?

    3 Conversation Strategies for Beginners

    Conversation

    1. Ask Questions to Keep a Conversation Going

    For beginners and even more advanced speakers, the key is to learn to ask questions to keep a conversation going. Of course, they can’t be just random questions or else you may confuse the listener. But, by memorizing a few key questions and the appropriate time to use them, you can easily carry a conversation with minimal vocabulary or experience. And remember, the more Spanish conversations you have, the quicker you will learn and master the language!

    2. Learn Core Vocabulary Terms as Quickly as Possible

    You don’t need to memorize 10,000’s of words to learn conversational Spanish. In fact, with just a couple hundred Spanish words you could have a very basic Spanish conversation. And by learning maybe 1,000-2,000 words, you could carry a conversation with a native speaker about current events, ordering in restaurants, and even getting directions.

    3. Study Videos or Audio Lessons that You Can Play and Replay Again and Again

    If you want to know how to carry a conversation in Spanish, then you need exposure to native speakers—and the more the better. Ideally, studying video or audio lessons is ideal because they provide contextualized learning in your native language and you can play them again and again until mastery.

    SpanishPod101 Makes it Easier and More Convenient Than Ever to Learn Conversational Spanish

    Learning Spanish

    For more than 10 years, SpanishPod101 has been helping students learn to speak Spanish by creating the world’s most advanced online language learning system. Here are just a few of the specific features that will help you learn conversational Spanish fast using our proven system:

    • The Largest Collection of HD Video & Audio Lessons from Real Spanish Instructors: SpanishPod101 instructors have created hundreds of video and audio lessons that you can play again and again. And the best part is: They don’t just teach you Spanish vocabulary and grammar, they are designed to help you learn to speak Spanish and teach you practical everyday topics like shopping, ordering, etc!
    • Pronunciation Tools: Use this feature to record and compare yourself with native speakers to quickly improve your pronunciation and fluency!
    • 2000 Common Spanish Words: Also known as our Core List, these 2,000 words are all you need to learn to speak fluently and carry a conversation with a native speaker!

    In all, more than 20 advanced learning tools help you quickly build vocabulary and learn how to carry a conversation with native speakers—starting with your very first lesson.

    Conclusion

    Although it may seem intimidating for a beginner, the truth is that it is very easy to learn conversational Spanish. By learning a few core vocabulary terms and which questions to ask to keep a conversation going, just a little practice and exposure to real Spanish conversations or lessons is all it really takes. SpanishPod101 has created the world’s largest online collection of video and audio lessons by real instructors plus loads of advanced tools to help you learn to speak Spanish and carry a conversation quickly.

    Act now and we’ll also include a list of the most commonly used questions to keep a conversation going so you can literally get started immediately!

    How to Transform Your Daily Commute Into Learning a Language

    Learn a language during your commute!

    Today, classrooms are no longer the only or even best place to learn a new language like Spanish. More and more people are finding that they can easily learn a language just about anywhere they have a few minutes of spare time, including their daily commute to work. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average American spends over 50 minutes a day commuting to and from work, or over 300 hours a year.

    Rethinking Your Daily Commute to Work

    But rather than simply sitting in traffic and wasting the time, you can instead use your daily commute to literally learn Spanish in just a few short months! SpanishPod101 has developed specialized learning tools that you can use on your commute to work (and home again) to master the language in your spare time. Keep reading to learn how to get your free audiobook to use on your next commute so you can see for yourself how easy it is to transform “dead time” into realizing your dream of learning a new language!

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    But before we look at how to transform your commute home into a mini-classroom, let’s take a closer look at 4 reasons why traditional classroom settings just aren’t the best option for most people in today’s fast-paced world.

    • Difficulty Getting to and From Class
    • Learning on Someone Else’s Schedule
    • Very Expensive and May Cost $1,000’s to Complete
    • Can Take Years to Finally Complete Classes and Learn the Language

    The simple truth is that traditional classroom instruction is simply not a viable option for most people in today’s very fast-paced, time-starved world. Now let’s examine how you can learn a language faster, more easily, and at far less expense than traditional classes—all during your commute to work and back home again!

    Bus

    3 Reasons Your Daily Commute Can Help You Master a Language

    1. The Average Commute Time is More than 300 Hours Per Year

    Between the commute to work and getting back home again, over 6 hours a week is completely wasted and not helping you reach any goals or objectives. But thanks to online language learning platforms with audiobooks and other resources that you can access during your commute, you can easily transform wasted time into tangible progress towards learning a new language. With over 300 hours available annually, your daily commute could provide you with enough time to literally master a new language each and every year!

    2. Increase Your Earning Potential While Commuting to Work

    How would you like to transform all those spare commuting hours each week into more money for a new car, house, or even a dream vacation? According to research, someone making $30,000 per year can boost their annual income by $600 or more per year by learning a second language. Added up over the course of a lifetime, you can boost your total earnings by $70,000 or more while achieving your dream of learning a new language during your daily commute!

    How? From work-at-home translation jobs to working overseas, there are many ways to leverage your second language into more money in your bank account! So instead of wasting your precious time, you can make your commute more productive and profitable and the more languages you learn, the higher your income potential.

    3. Repetition is Key to Mastering a New Language

    Not sure if it’s practical to learn another language while commuting to and from work each day? Well not only is it possible—learning in your car on the way to and from work each day can actually help you learn and master Spanish or any language much faster! The simple truth is that repetition is absolutely vital to truly internalizing and mastering any language. So, if you listen to audiobooks or even audio lessons on your commute to work and then repeat the same lesson on your commute home, the information is more likely to be “locked-in” to your long-term memory!

    Learning

    5 Ways SpanishPod101 Makes It Easy to Learn a Language On Your Commute

    SpanishPod101 has been helping people just like yourself learn and master Spanish in the comfort of their home, during their daily commute, or any place they have a few minutes of spare time. Here are five features provided by SpanishPod101 that make it easy to learn a new language while commuting to and from work:

    1. The Largest Collection of Audio Lessons on Planet by Native Speaking Instructors
    Every single week, SpanishPod101 creates new audio lessons by native speaking instructors. All lessons are short, to the point, and guaranteed to improve your mastery of Spanish.

    2. Word of the Day
    Simply exposing yourself to new information and vocabulary terms helps increase your fluency and mastery of Spanish. So every single day, SpanishPod101 adds a new Word of the Day for you to learn and memorize during your commute.

    3. Daily Dose Mini-Lessons
    Have a short commute to work but still want to make progress towards learning and mastering Spanish? Not a problem! Our Daily Dose Mini-Lessons are 1-minute or less and designed to improve your grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation.

    4. All Content Available on a Convenient Mobile App
    You don’t need a PC or tablet to learn Spanish during your daily commute. At SpanishPod101, all of our lessons, tools, and resources are available 24/7 via our Mobile App. That means you can access all of our audio lessons and other tools during your commute to work or any time you have a few spare moments!

    5. Audiobooks and Other Supplemental Resources
    In addition to the world’s largest online collection of HD audio lessons, SpanishPod101 has also created several audiobooks to enhance your understanding and make it more convenient than ever to learn a language during your commute!

    Conclusion

    The average commute time of most Americans is over 300 hours each year and it’s the perfect opportunity to learn and master a new language. In fact, you can use the “dead time” during your daily commute to learn a new language and potentially boost your lifetime earnings by up to $70,000 or more! Whatever your motivation, SpanishPod101 has the tools and resources necessary to help you learn a new language each year during your commute to and from work. Act now and we’ll even provide you with a free audiobook to try out on your next commute!

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