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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi there. I'm living in Canada and have my sights on moving to Spain. I was born a Spaniard, but came to Canada at one year old, and my parents gave up my Spanish citizenship when I became a Canadian citizen. It will be about a year before my Spanish citizenship is reinstated. So this year I'm devoting time to setting up the big move to Spain.

My biggest concern right now is that I know enough Spanish to get around, but definitely not enough to live in Spain or work in Spain. So that's my big question right now. Does anyone know of an online course that is either free or really inexpensive? Of course there are lots of Latin Spanish courses, but I obviously need to know Castilian Spanish. The Spanish I do know is Castilian Spanish.

I have family there in Spain who I met back in the 70s, and I'm trying to find them with the help of a neighbour here who has family in Spain. But until I find them, hopefully I can get some guidance from people on this forum? Is there any general advice for a Canadian moving to Spain?
 

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Hi there. I'm living in Canada and have my sights on moving to Spain. I was born a Spaniard, but came to Canada at one year old, and my parents gave up my Spanish citizenship when I became a Canadian citizen. It will be about a year before my Spanish citizenship is reinstated. So this year I'm devoting time to setting up the big move to Spain.

My biggest concern right now is that I know enough Spanish to get around, but definitely not enough to live in Spain or work in Spain. So that's my big question right now. Does anyone know of an online course that is either free or really inexpensive? Of course there are lots of Latin Spanish courses, but I obviously need to know Castilian Spanish. The Spanish I do know is Castilian Spanish.

I have family there in Spain who I met back in the 70s, and I'm trying to find them with the help of a neighbour here who has family in Spain. But until I find them, hopefully I can get some guidance from people on this forum? Is there any general advice for a Canadian moving to Spain?
:welcome:

I wouldn't worry too much about what kind of Spanish you learn - the structure of the language is essentially the same - just some of the vocabulary is different - in the same was that British/Canadian/American/Australian English is essentially the same - we can all understand each other!!


As Nick says - if you'll be needing to work, I'd be more worried about that :(
 

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You know it might be easier to find a local Spanish speakers group rather than be left to your own devices.
What I'm finding is you can spend a lot of time learning all the many, many nuances of the language and it really doesn't sink in. The only time I feel like I'm achieving anything is when I actually try and use it in person, usually it ends in "Hablo Ingles?" anyway but each time progress is being made I guess.
We've actually discussed trying to find a group that meets at a pub or something to try and improve our speaking, the reading is coming along but that is so far detached from what a English speaker interprets it to what the language actually sounds like.
 

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Where are you BTW?

It's likely all the universities and colleges have Spanish clubs. Almost certainly they'll have language classes. I know tution fees have gone up but you might be able to audit the class for no credit.

Large lecture halls are easiest to unoffically audit if the school doesn't allow this.

If you're in the GTA you've got three universities and a large number of colleges. Call the department offices and ask.

The other thought is to contact the consulate. I assume Spain has one in Toronto. They might have leads on language classes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you.

Thanks for your replies. I'm in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, about an hour outside of Toronto. There are two universities here and I looked at the Spanish courses. There's a 3-three part course that costs about $200 per course. Yikes! Right now I'm doing a free online course called "Mi Vida Loca," which is offered by the BBC.

I never thought of asking the Consulate of Spain. I'm heading into Toronto today and will be going there, so I'll ask them about that. Great suggestion.

There are a lot of Hispanics in my building, and I'm practicing with them, just in brief conversations, which is really helping. I'm just afraid that I will be frowned upon by not speaking Castilian Spanish. I've looked for Spanish groups in my area, and haven't found any yet.

Yes, immersion is the best. This is how I learned the Spanish that I know - by going to Spain in my teens for 10 weeks as immersion, living with my family.

Yes, I know the work opportunities are brutal now in Spain with about a 25% unemployment rate. It may be that I can live there without working. I'm also looking into what kind of work I can do there if I need to work. Employment is one of the other things I'm looking into over this year.

Thank you all for your replies and advice.
 

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So the three part course is either UWO or Laurier then? Have you checked the colleges? IIRC there are a few in your area. College courses are often quite a bit cheaper.

The other thing check if there is some sort of night school program run by the city. No idea if Waterloo has something like this but it can't hurt to ask.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yes, college is cheaper by a bit. The University of Waterloo offers the course for $190 and Conestoga College offers the course for $170. They are both the same course, with Ed2Go (online). I've done the Ed2Go courses before and they're really good.

Night school courses through the city is something I've done before too, but I never checked into that for Spanish courses. My appointment in Toronto today was just cancelled, so today I'll look into that. Great idea. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I forgot to address the audit suggestion... It costs the same to audit a course as it does to enroll in a course.
 

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My Spanish, such as it is, was based on Colombian Spanish and I don't have a problem. The secret is to get the pronunciation and accent right, that way, even if your sentence structure and/or your grammar are a bit off, at least the other person will have a better chance of understanding what you are trying to say. For the most part, where I am, I have found there is less formality than in Colombia and I have only encountered one person (92 year old lady) who uses Vd or Vds.

Once you are making the right sounds, there is nothing whatever to stop you teaching yourself provided you have the aptitude which is essential if you are taking courses/classes anyway.

As to the Spanish you will need here, much depends on where you are planning to live, since there are various dialects, mostly based on Castellano (where I am it is mostly Andalu' but with local variations such as Castillero) but you could be running up against Valenciano, Catalan, Galego or... Then of course there is Basque!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for your input, Baldilocks. My understanding is that pronunciation is in fact the very difference between Hispanic and Castilian Spanish. I understand there are different dialects in Spain, such as it is in many countries, including Canada. Someone from Northern Ontario sounds a lot different than someone from Southern Ontario. The biggest difference is people from East Coast of Canada, most different being those from Newfoundland. So that's why I'm trying to focus on learning the right pronunciation. It's hard to unlearn something. But I hear what you're saying - that there are various pronunciations within Spain and even learning with the Hispanic accent will suffice. And, yes, I can make the Spanish sounds well - if I may say so myself, and I just did. :)

As to your question of where I'm thinking of living... When I stayed in Spain in the 70s, I stayed in Benagalbon and Victoria de la Rincon. My family had summer houses there, but I don't know if they're still there. So that's where I'd like to go again if my family is there.
 

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Thanks for your input, Baldilocks. My understanding is that pronunciation is in fact the very difference between Hispanic and Castilian Spanish. I understand there are different dialects in Spain, such as it is in many countries, including Canada. Someone from Northern Ontario sounds a lot different than someone from Southern Ontario. The biggest difference is people from East Coast of Canada, most different being those from Newfoundland. So that's why I'm trying to focus on learning the right pronunciation. It's hard to unlearn something. But I hear what you're saying - that there are various pronunciations within Spain and even learning with the Hispanic accent will suffice. And, yes, I can make the Spanish sounds well - if I may say so myself, and I just did. :)

As to your question of where I'm thinking of living... When I stayed in Spain in the 70s, I stayed in Benagalbon and Victoria de la Rincon. My family had summer houses there, but I don't know if they're still there. So that's where I'd like to go again if my family is there.
You should have absolutely no problem, then. Watch Spanish movies (with or without subs) try to understand what is being said without the subs then try with to see how you got on. Then try Spanish TV RTV.ES | Radio and TV
 

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Most of my neighbours are from South America, they don't sound much different to the native, Canary Islanders. In fact I was chatting to a guy from Argentina this morning, I didn't realise he was Argentinian until he told me so.

I have travelled on the Iberian part of Spain, the difference in the language is minimal and I had few problems, I think you are making mountains out of molehills. :)
 

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I majored in Spanish at a university in New Brunswick. When I got to Spain I found that I didn't understand much since my Spanish was definitely not Castillian and, where I live, they speak verrrrry quickly.

HOWEVER, my degree gave me an excellent base and it too me MUCH less time to be able to understand everything than my peers who hadn't even studied with Central/South American teachers. Whatever you can do would be awesome!

Suerte!
 

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I think that for expats living in Spain, all Spanish, south, north, mexican or whatever might sound the same, but I am Spanish myself and I can categorically say, it is not the same at all and they don't sound the same either. I have real problems to understand people from latin-american countries, like Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, etc. Whenever I am on the phone to Movistar/Orange, etc, I despair as I haven't got a clue what they are telling me.

My best friend is Mexican and most of the times, I make him repeat things and I not just talking about different words or dialects, but pronunciation and accent are very different.

When I first moved to the UK, I always thought everybody was English as they spoke English and since my English wasn't very good, I thought all sounded the same, in fact, there were from very different nationalities.

I think it is best if you do a Spanish course (castellano puro). My partner wen to University in the UK (for two years) to study Spanish before we moved down here and the teacher was argentinian and she made a mess with his spanish, teaching them words that are not spanish and never heard of here in Spain.
 

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I think that for expats living in Spain, all Spanish, south, north, mexican or whatever might sound the same, but I am Spanish myself and I can categorically say, it is not the same at all and they don't sound the same either. I have real problems to understand people from latin-american countries, like Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, etc. Whenever I am on the phone to Movistar/Orange, etc, I despair as I haven't got a clue what they are telling me.

My best friend is Mexican and most of the times, I make him repeat things and I not just talking about different words or dialects, but pronunciation and accent are very different.

When I first moved to the UK, I always thought everybody was English as they spoke English and since my English wasn't very good, I thought all sounded the same, in fact, there were from very different nationalities.

I think it is best if you do a Spanish course (castellano puro). My partner wen to University in the UK (for two years) to study Spanish before we moved down here and the teacher was argentinian and she made a mess with his spanish, teaching them words that are not spanish and never heard of here in Spain.
With all due respect, I don't agree. (Especially the part about expats finding all Spanish the same. ¡Madre mía! You take me off the Cantabrian coast and it gets much harder to understand people!) I think it's going to be tough, where the OP is, to find a "proper" Castillian Spanish course.

OP, you could check out the closest Cervantes Institute or look for things on this site: 'SPAIN arts & culture': the official website for Spanish arts and culture in Canada There are also classes available online. Here are some resources from the Canadian Agregaduria de Educación:
Canadá




PS - Lolito, tour English is awesome. :high5:
 

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I agree. The way words are used and pronounced varies greatly from country to country. Just the "ll" varies between Spain Colombia and Argentina - in Spain it is like a 'y', in Colombia it is like a 'ly', in Argentina it is more a 'zh' sound like the 'su' in pleasure (similar to the French 'je') so that "Calle" sounds like 'ka-ye' in Spain, 'kal-ye' in Colombia and 'ka-zhe' in Argentina
 

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I agree. The way words are used and pronounced varies greatly from country to country. Just the "ll" varies between Spain Colombia and Argentina - in Spain it is like a 'y', in Colombia it is like a 'ly', in Argentina it is more a 'zh' sound like the 'su' in pleasure (similar to the French 'je') so that "Calle" sounds like 'ka-ye' in Spain, 'kal-ye' in Colombia and 'ka-zhe' in Argentina
I used to teach English to a lovely Argentinian lady - in a group with another from Colombia & Spanish Spaniards from various parts of the country

by far the hardest to understand was the Argentinian pronunciation - it took me quite a few lessons before I 'tuned my ear in' to the 'zhe' sound she made for the ll when speaking Spanish

I'm used to it now - my younger daughter watches teen programmes on Disney which are made in Argentina - I'm used to it - but it still sounds very 'alien' to me
 

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With all due respect, I don't agree. (Especially the part about expats finding all Spanish the same. ¡Madre mía! You take me off the Cantabrian coast and it gets much harder to understand people!) I think it's going to be tough, where the OP is, to find a "proper" Castillian Spanish course.

OP, you could check out the closest Cervantes Institute or look for things on this site: 'SPAIN arts & culture': the official website for Spanish arts and culture in Canada There are also classes available online. Here are some resources from the Canadian Agregaduria de Educación:
Canadá




PS - Lolito, tour English is awesome. :high5:

EDIT: I don't agree because I think that OP is going to have a hard time finding a Castillian Spanish course where he/she is and that I think any base is a good base.

Imagine that you, as a BrE speaker, are teaching a Spanish student who will be moving to the US soon. Should that student find a (hard to find in Spain) AmE teacher or are you confident that the base you give your student will give them what they need to get on their feet when they move?
 
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