Learn Spanish Online: Free Courses to Get You Started

Learn Spanish Online: Free Courses to Get You Started

September 17, 2020

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National Hispanic Heritage Month, which lasts from September 15 to October 15, celebrates the history, culture, and contributions of Hispanic and Latino/a Americans. The event first began in 1968 as a weekly observance but has since expanded to a monthlong commemoration.

In 2019, the U.S. Hispanic population exceeded 60 million and now makes up nearly 20% of the total U.S. population. As the second-largest language in the country and one of the most commonly spoken languages in the world, Spanish stands as one of the most useful languages for students and working professionals to learn.

One of the most commonly spoken languages in the world, Spanish stands as one of the most useful languages for students and working professionals to learn.

Latin American countries continue to serve as one of the United States' most important trading partners. By learning Spanish, you can better communicate with Spanish speakers and improve your employability. Additionally, building on your Spanish-language skills allows you to travel and study abroad to Spanish-speaking countries, giving you an opportunity to better understand different cultures and customs.

In light of Hispanic Heritage Month, BestColleges has put together a comprehensive list of free online Spanish courses that can help improve students' and working professionals' Spanish-speaking skills. While each platform focuses on different aspects of the language, all of them supply a variety of language-learning resources and tools, such as interactive lessons, audio clips, and instructional videos.

The 11 Best Free Online Spanish Courses

Duolingo StudySpanish.com edX Live Lingua Lengalia Coursera FluentU Learn Practical Spanish Online The Spanish Experiment University of Texas Alison

Duolingo is a free language-learning app that teaches more than 35 languages, including Spanish. Each interactive lesson is tailored to your individual learning style and provides you with immediate feedback, helping you quickly identify areas of weakness.

Designed to feel like a game, this exciting learning platform includes a rewards system with virtual coins, unlockable levels, and daily challenges. Duolingo has over 300 million active users and is currently one of the most popular educational apps in the world.

StudySpanish.com is a language-learning program that can be conveniently accessed online or on mobile. Over the course of three levels, learners are introduced to different aspects of Spanish, such as tenses and types of pronouns. Courses are taught through audio units and feature written transcripts to help you practice and follow along.

The platform hosts a variety of unique features, such as cultural notes, audio assistance, and verb drills. Learners can access free demos and sign up for a seven-day trial.

A leading massive open online course (MOOC) provider created by Harvard and MIT, edX offers online Spanish courses that can be customized to your individual needs. Students who want to improve their employability can take courses that culminate in professional certificates, while those who are considering studying abroad in a Spanish-speaking country can opt for the Travel by Spanish America course.

Advanced Spanish courses focus on grammar, pronunciation, and sentence structure to bolster your conversational skills. While all edX courses are free, most certificates need to be paid for.

Live Lingua is a language-learning platform that connects learners with certified teachers. Designed to create a personalized experience, this online platform features one-on-one virtual classes with native-speaking tutors who customize curricula for each student. Learners can also access ebooks, listen to pre-recorded audio files, and practice their pronunciation with an online recorder.

While the first lesson is free, each subsequent lesson costs $16/hour.

Lengalia is an online school that offers 24 self-paced Spanish courses. With the help of a virtual instructor, learners take classes across all six CEFR levels (A1-C2). The full version of Lengalia includes a mix of learning resources, such as podcasts, instructional videos, and a verb conjugator. It also awards certificates for each completed course, which can be highly beneficial for both students and working professionals trying to enhance their resume.

After the free one-week trial period, learners can purchase a single Spanish course for one or three months, or all 24 courses for one year.

Another popular MOOC provider, Coursera offers dozens of online Spanish courses from top universities around the world. Each class features different specializations, allowing you to zero in on your area of interest.

Students considering studying abroad may take the Spanish Vocabulary: Cultural Experience course, which builds on basic terms and phrases. Another popular class, Spanish Vocabulary: Meeting People explores Spanish grammar and pronunciation, helping you formulate a working vocabulary so you can talk about yourself and interact with native speakers.

Most courses are free, but you may need to pay if you want to earn a certificate.

FluentU immerses learners using real-world videos. Unlike traditional language-learning platforms that primarily use written transcripts and audio, FluentU relies heavily on video-based content, such as music videos, movie trailers, and news. The platform also offers quizzes to help you quickly master Spanish vocabulary and pronunciation.

Although most content exceeds the beginner level, FluentU provides exercises and videos for learners of all levels. You can sign up for a free 14-day trial before purchasing a monthly or annual plan.

Learn Practical Spanish Online is a digital self-paced course that centers on conversational Spanish and grammar. Learners can access practice readings, ebooks, and audio files at the beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. Each level features different categories divided into subtopics.

To accommodate each individual's learning style, the course allows students to choose from audio, video, and written exercises. You'll be studying Latin American Spanish, with all audio files voiced by a native of Colombia. All resources are completely free to use.

A fun language-learning website, The Spanish Experiment offers language lessons as well as a collection of popular children's stories and fables, including "Chicken Little" and "The Three Little Pigs." Translated by a native Spanish speaker, each text can be read either in Spanish or English, helping you develop your Spanish-speaking skills using familiar words and phrases.

In addition to the famous fables, learners can access free introductory Spanish audio lessons. Each lesson homes in on a different aspect of Spanish, such as question words, greetings, and plurals.

The University of Texas at Austin provides a vast index of Spanish-learning resources, including videos, podcasts, and vocabulary exercises. The school divides instructional tasks into four levels: beginning, intermediate, advanced, and superior. The beginning level contains 15 tasks, each of which is accompanied by grammar exercises and video interviews. At the superior level, learners focus on role-playing to improve their conversational skills.

UT Austin also includes a dense grammar index with an emphasis on unique expressions, double negatives, and pronouns. Learners can access each task and its available resources for free.

Alison is an online language-learning platform offering two Spanish certificate courses. Its Introduction to Spanish class develops learners' pronunciation and grammar skills, whereas its Restaurants and Dining Out course digs into common phrases and grammar used when placing an order at Spanish-speaking restaurants.

Both courses feature a set of modules, with audio recordings and interactive tutorials that track your progress. All course material is free to access.

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