https://www.duolingo.com/yeassaf3

Traveling in Spain with Spanish from Duolingo

yeassaf3
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Three months ago my girlfriend and I came back home after walking the Camino de Santiago (the french way) for a month and a half. We decided to do this trip a year before we actually did it. That gave us plenty of time to learn Spanish. After six months we finished the Spanish tree in Duolingo, and we kept practicing for the next six months. We did not learn Spanish from any other source, just Duolingo.

The main reason we learned Spanish was that we are vegans, so we wanted to be able to say what we eat and what we don't eat. So when we got to Spain we thought that our Spanish will be enough just for the vey basic communication - menus, prices, directions and not much more.

But to our surprise - we were able to communicate on a much higher level. When we encountered a local person, we never started speaking with him/her in English. We always started in Spanish, and they all understood us. And when they spoke with us slowly, we were able to understand most of what they are saying. This way we were able to have some meaningfull conversations with the locals, not only about prices and directions, but also about the political state in Spain, about its economy, its culture and much more. Of course, we did not understand everything, but we were able to learn a great deal about Spain with our Duolingo-made-Spanish.

In the end, we spent a month and a half in Spain and almost never spoke English with the Spanish people. We suddenly realised that we are able to get a long in a foreign country with no problems. And all thanks to Duolingo.

So thank you Duolingo very much!

2 years ago

28 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Shadowmere360
Shadowmere360
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Nice :) I am also learning Español too because I have family in Spain and my parents are going to move to Spain. You both are an inspiration xD have a lingot

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/yeassaf3
yeassaf3
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We are glad to inspire you :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bdavidfuentes

I am inspired too. Felicitaciones. Yo he estado en Santiago de Compostella y me gusto mucho aunque fue una visita rapida. Tambien vi la movie "the Way" and love it. no soy catolico, however I want to walk El camino de Santiago. Traveling definitely can change our lives. Qué Bueno qué tuviste esa experiencia en Espana y estoy seguro tendras Muchas otras mas. Saludos.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jimo54
jimo54Plus
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Awesome post! Have a lingot. Better yet, take two. They're small.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ceci213566

You can write español in lower case, we use upper case only for "sustantivos propios", nouns as Names, Surnames, Cities, Countries, acronyms; and the first word in a sentence ;)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Shadowmere360
Shadowmere360
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Thank you for the info. I am a total beginner as you can see I am level 3 so I am glad you pointed this out before I made the mistake again. I am enjoying the language so far :D

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bdavidfuentes

However his comment was not in Spanish, he didn't do any mistake.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PrincessPoohs

They meant the word "español", which he used and capitalized.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ceci213566

I forgot the " ", my bad.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/boncey
boncey
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Great story!

I've yet to test my Spanish in the field but hopefully will do so this year.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ddbeachgirl
ddbeachgirl
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Thanks for your inspiring story! I am debating whether to walk to Camino or do the GR 10 (French side of the Pyrenees). I am studying both French and Spanish just in case. I am planning it and you actually did it! Congratulations :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/yeassaf3
yeassaf3
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The camino is a greate experience. Don't miss it.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DraeWright
DraeWrightPlus
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Great inspiration! Congrats on your diligence and success and thanks for sharing.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/El_Gusano
El_Gusano
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I am in Nicaragua and I'm using Spanish from a variety of sources. However, duolingo was the spark that finally propelled me to being fluent. I have no trouble being understood and I can carry on conversations with little effort. I also recommend you check out memrise and their "5000 most common Spanish words by frequency" course. It's great for vocabulary and it's the most useful list you could learn! There's also a site where you really can learn 20,000 Spanish words in 20 minutes! Check out http://knowspanish.com

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/actuallyitsstar

Inspiring story! I'm learning español for my future job (I live in a Spanish-heavy area of the US); I was wondering if duolingo would be enough to allow me to carry on entire conversations with people. I suppose it will!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/katy.odell

I think it will enable you to communicate basics to people. And you can get a lot done with basics - especially if you don't mind making small errors or saying things in a slightly awkward way. Sometimes you have to talk "around" something. For example, I don't know how to say "spider" in French. But when I wanted to tell someone at a French campground that there was a spider in my tent I said, "There was... a... how do say the disgusting little creature with eight legs? .... Yes! There is one of those in my tent!"

And if your job requires particular vocabulary you will pick that up with practice (or looking it up.) Things you need to say often you will learn to say. I make a point of learning to ask "How does one say...?" "

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/katy.odell

How awesome! I am jealous - I've wanted to walk The Way of St. James (as I've always heard it called) ever since I saw the Martin Sheen movie about it. (The Way.) Gosh, this is inspiring - I love long walks and often wish I could take more than one day away to do a long one. I've never even been able to get away for one week to do The West Highland Way, even though I used to live right by it. To go to Spain for several weeks and do The Way of St. James would just be a dream come true.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ChrisWM4

Katy and yeassaf3: also consider the Ridgeway. It runs 87 miles in the south of England http://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/ridgeway We've walked long stretches at a time rather than the whole thing in one go, and it has been a trail since prehistoric times. It's an amazing walk.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/yeassaf3
yeassaf3
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Katy! Thank you for telling me about The West Highland Way! Now I have a new dream...

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Staceylmit

What pace did you take per day (1 hour or 5xp etc) and did you practice as you were doing the tree to keep it gold all the time? I'm thinking of going to Spain as well. Is there a Spain vs. Latin Spanish on duolingo?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/yeassaf3
yeassaf3
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Hi Stacey. Our practice changed from time to time. If I had a long on the public transportation, I could do 100xp a day. There were days we did only one lesson.

We tried to keep it gold, but at some point it was impossible for us. Right before the trip I had a day off from work and I went nuts and re-glide the whole tree. It took me 12 hours...

Duolingo is teaching Spanish of South America. But we had no problems in Spain. They pronounce the letters c and z differently, and they use the word vosotros instead og ustedes, but that's about it.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ryelo111
Ryelo111
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Thats awesome to hear! Even as a vegan who just started my spanish tree I found the food sections helpful! Yo NO come carne,pescado, pollo, leche, huevo y queso! I hope learning grammar won't be too hard on duolingo though! How did you cope with grammar after 6 months?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/yeassaf3
yeassaf3
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Hi Ryelo,

We had some fixed sentences at restaurants: "Hola! Nosotros veganos. No comemos animales y produtos de animales. Qué podemos comer aqui?"

As for the grammer - we did not need the complicated tenses there. We talked mainly in present and future tense. That was enough. So no problems with grammer. Also, the spanish people know that you are not from spain, and they are very patient and eager to help you with the language.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ryelo111
Ryelo111
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Oh that makes a lot more sense than listing what you can't eat! Haha! Am I right in guessing you said 'hi we are vegans. We don't eat animals and products from animals. What can we eat here?' (I haven't learnt podemos yet)

And that's really encouraging about the grammar as I was worried that the people would have no time for my broken Spanish and Australian accent! Let alone my 'difficult to accomodate food choices'. Was it hard to find restaurants that had more than a salad option?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/yeassaf3
yeassaf3
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Yes, you ae right. That's what we said.

As I said, thery are very friendly and very patient. If you ask them to speak slowly they will, and they will take their time while you struggle with your spanish.

We traveled mostly through small villages and places, so options were very limited, because almost all of their food contains meat and cheese. They usually offered us salad, but then we asked if there are pasta, rice or french fries (patatas fritas). Usually there was at least pasta. Part of the time we bought canning (beans, lentlils tec...) and other food products and cooked for ourselves. When we got to cities such Santiago de Compostela, Leon and of course Barcelona, we even found vegan restaurants.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MarkBarcla
MarkBarcla
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great to read your story. it sounds like a wonderful experience. thank you for sharing.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Melyndi
Melyndi
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wow! That's amazing. I'm just learning Spanish just for the heck of it and I do feel like I'm getting somewhere and I've only been at it a week now.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CindyFahrb
CindyFahrbPlus
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I've wondered if knowledge of the language developed solely with DuoLingo would accomplish this goal. Good to know it does and congrats to both of you. Sounds like a wonderful trip. I'm using DuoLingo to reawaken two years of high schools Spanish and a supplementary course from my employer several years ago. It's frustrating to still have such limited skills 40 years later but I do feel DuoLingo (and some other intensive study I'm engaged in) are really making a difference. My goal is to be fluent by summer.

2 years ago
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