In 1998 I was planning to go travelling in South America so decided to learn some Spanish. I started with All Audio Spanish, which gave me a good introduction to the language, though I found it quite frustrating searching through the tapes for particular sections. Other textbooks I've used include Sueños World Spanish, Colloquial Spanish, Madrigals Magic Key to Spanish and Breaking Out of Beginner's Spanish.
I went on a trip to Mexico and Guatemala in 2005 and explored Aztec, Mayan and other sites. I found I could understand and talk to local people without too much difficulty. Then in 2006 I visited Cuba and my knowledge of Spanish was very useful there.
In 2015 I went with the Bangor Community Choir and Coastal Voices on a trip to southern France. While we were there we popped over to Spain for a day. I spoke a bit of Spanish while I was there, although I discovered that I didn't know a lot of food-related words.
In 2018 I started using Duolingo to refresh my Spanish and to learn more. I completed all the lessons and took a break from Spanish while I learnt other languages. I went back to it in 2020, when I found that a lot more Spanish lessons had been added to the course. The Duolingo Spanish course is the most comprehensive of their courses with the most lessons, including ones on grammar, lots of tips on how to use the language, stories and podcasts. Some of the things it teaches you are a bit bizarre, but that makes them memorable, and even if you would never use them, you would probably use the structures and some of the words.
I can now understand, speak, read and write Spanish moderately well. I occasionally listen to and read things in Spanish, watch Spanish films and even talk to actual people in Spanish.
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