In case you don’t know me, I’m Olga and although I’m originally from Barcelona (Spain), I moved to the UK for work reasons (I was a doctor and wanted to specialise in psychiatry) in 1992 and spent there over 25 years. During those years I did plenty of things: I worked as a psychiatrist (in a variety of specialities, mostly forensic psychiatry), I studied (a BA and a PhD in American Literature, an MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice), I wrote and published a number of books (in English and Spanish) and also translated the books of quite a few authors into Spanish and English.
A couple of years ago I returned to Barcelona to support my mother, started volunteering at a local radio station and for a couple of years taught English Composition online at the University of the People. That experience made me realise that I’d like to teach languages, and in March 2020 I completed a course and obtained the CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificate.
Of course, not everybody learns the same way (there are people who are more visual, others who learn better listening to a lesson and repeating the words, others who prefer to engage in activities and learn by doing, others for whom reading and writing are the best ways to make the subject stick in their memory), and there are people who don’t enjoy learning by themselves or don’t feel they are suited to it. It might be due to difficulties with motivating themselves (it is difficult to get motivated when you have to do something by yourself and even more so where there is nobody to offer you positive feedback or encourage you), to lack of time (there are so many things we must do, and if we don’t have a specific time scheduled to do something, it’s easy for it to fall by the wayside) , or because they don’t feel they are making progress, and eventually they leave it, or they try it in short spurts but without dedicating much time or attention to it.
That does not mean they can’t learn a language. There are other options. Attending a language school is a good way to learn. You meet people with similar interests, the teachers make sure that everybody joins in and prepare activities suited to different types of learners and tastes, and, especially if the groups aren’t very large, you get into a routine and feel you’re working as a team, and that makes you feel more motivated to go to class and to complete the course, which is designed to ensure a progression at the right pace for the level of the students.
But not everybody likes the idea of language schools either. Some people have had negative experiences in school and don’t want to be exposed to something similar, or can’t find a timetable to suit their diary, or there are no language schools nearby or want to prepare at a more intensive pace or with a specific goal in mind. In that case, one-to-one lessons are ideal. Be it in person or online, there are many advantages, as you can interact directly with your teacher, you can choose the teacher you like, you can focus on a specific project (a professional presentation, a report or essay for school or university, an article or a publication, a job interview…), or get ready for an exam, trip, a conference, or a short stay, intensively, dedicating most of your time to conversation and to improving your fluency, for example. Your teacher can analyse your needs and tailor the classes to your goals and your learning style, ensuring you obtain a customised experience.
With the pedagogical insights gained from the course, and as a native speaker fluent in English, I thought I could help English speakers interested in improving their level of Spanish, especially those eager to become more fluent, to practise what they have learned and brush up on their studies, those working on presentations or specific projects they would like a hand with, and people who want to communicate with the locals in a variety of situations. If you think you might be interested in that, we can chat about it in more detail. Just get in touch with me.
I am preparing a series of short videos with some basic topics, and you will find the links at the end of this page (I’ll share the links here as they become available). You can also check the following resources if you are interested in dedicating some time to learning and practising Spanish.
Instituto Cervantes (Plenty of materials, from courses to articles on all kinds of topics. A well-known institution with offices all over the world.
RTVE (Radio Televisión Española):
Spanish Learning Lab:
El blog Para Aprender Español
Español para Inmigrantes
Doc Molly’s (Medical Spanish)
Video ele (A whole course based around videos)
Tu escuela de español (Elena Prieto offers regular videos in her YouTube channel. There is also a Premium option)
Tio Spanish (You can also test your level and that allows you to choose level appropriate activities).
RAE (Diccionario panhispánico de dudas). The RAE (Real Academia de la Lengua Española) is the official institution tasked with creating the official dictionary and revising and updating the grammar. There are many other options, including other kinds of dictionaries, available on their website:
This is a bilingual dictionary and you can choose the languages. You can also select and see the definitions rather than a translation. It’s from Collins, and it has the advantage that it gives you several options, like showing you the word as it is used in expressions and collocations, and examples of the words suggested used in a variety of sentences, so you can choose the most appropriate.
My Videos (Remember that you can pause the videos to practise pronunciation and watch them over as many times as you like, as repetition helps to learn and memorise. Also, in the videos’ description on YouTube, I include a link so you download the presentation, and if you want you can print it out, follow along with the video and take notes):
1. Saludos y presentaciones (Greetings and introductions)
2.De Compras. Comida (Shopping for food)
4. Vacaciones de verano (summer holidays)
Many thanks, good luck, and keep learning!