The Tourist Course

Well, I’m progressing through the lessons, got to 15 at the moment. I seem to have hit a bit of a brick wall, in that none of the stuff from the last two or three lessons seems to have stuck. So, for the first time, I’m repeating them in the hope that something might gel on a rerun. This is the first time I’ve repeated a course, mind, I’ve stuck to the “only do them once” rule up till now. (I’ve read in this forum that Challenges 13 and 14 are considered hard, so I suppose my experience isn’t that unusual.)

It strikes me that I’m learning a lot of structures and ways of saying things but not a huge amount in the way of vocabulary. With this in mind, would the Tourist Course be useful? As I understand it, it’s an older course than the main course (and, having listened to the first few, it has lower sound quality). The main thing I’m wondering is will most of the new vocabulary in the Tourist Course be eventually introduced in the main course? In which case I might as well stick with the main course as I’ll get to it eventually. Or does it introduce vocabulary that will be useful in Spain (as a tourist) that the main course doesn’t, or at least doesn’t get to for a while?

What does everyone think? Is the tourist course useful or would I be better off concentrating on the main course?

One of the biggest problems I think I have is similar to one I have learning Aikido. It’s hard to tell how much (or little) you’ve improved because the improvement is so gradual. Each lesson always seems so difficult and it’s hard to remember that the stuff I’m struggling with now is so much more complicted than the stuff I was struggling with 5 or 6 lessons ago. I guess I just want it to become easy and it never does (ditto with Aikido)…

And with all real learning, I’d guess… :sunny:

There’s stuff in the tourist course that we won’t be putting in the main course - prawns, for example! - but I’d suggest that you stick to the main course, because it’ll get you to conversation competence much faster. I suppose the one exception would be if you were about to go on your holiday and really needed the whole ordering food/finding places/booking hotels kind of stuff.

13 and 14 are tougher than they ought to be (sorry, my bad) - so don’t give yourself a hard time about bits from them not sticking - your best shot would be to ignore them as a hiccup and push on through to the end of Level 1, and then (if you still think you need to) come on back and try 13 and 14 again to see if they feel easier… :sunny:

In my experience the tourist course is beneficial if not only for preparing for an upcoming trip but also useful for continued repetition of sentence structure. When I came across SSiS I was on the verge of attempting to have a conversation for the first time. I had been studying for a few months prior to starting the main course and it was the main course that I really benefited from in order to get me speaking and I imagine @aran will attest, conversation is what it is all about. I’ll note I’m about to travel to Perú and I’ll go back over parts of the tourist course again before going. Good luck @stephenflaherty!

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That’s really interesting input - thanks a lot! :sunny:

No problem. I would be happy to discuss my study techniques and what has worked for me if you are ever interested in having that conversation. I’ll reiterate that I think your approach is what helped me lift off from not speaking to speaking and I am very glad that I found your site.

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That’s definitely something I’d enjoy doing with a lot of different learners - I’ll hope to dig the time out one of these days!.. :sunny:

I for one would definitely like to know your study technique @garrettpless - tell us all. Maybe a new post though - wouldn’t want to hijack this one @stephenflaherty :smile:

I’m OK with the thread changing, the tourist course question has been more or less answered. I’ve been going through around one a day and am currently on challenge 24. I think I need to practice my Spanish more, but I do agree that the main course encourages speaking Spanish more - I mean, that’s how you practice.

i will work on this for you, no problem.

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I was just looking around in the forum and saw your post. It caught my eye because like you, I study aikido. And what you said seems spot on - improvement is slow, and subtle, so you don’t realize how much you are improving until you encounter it again in another situation. For example, in aikido, you may be improving, but it doesn’t seem like much is happening. However, when you compare your technique to a beginner’s, and realize that once upon a time, that is where you were, then you can see it better. Or have someone video your technique and you will see the improvement! It’s the same for languages - you are absorbing the material, but you can’t tell because you haven’t tried to use it outside of the lesson context. It’s very revealing to have a conversation (especially multiple conversations with the same speaker) with a native speaker. Quite often, the other person will call your attention to how far you have advanced. Don’t worry. The improvement is there (just like with aikido).


Long overdue but not forgotten

I use A Frequency Dictionary of Spanish (Routledge) via Anki for building vocabulary. My goal this year is to have 2,000 flash cards in my rotation by the end of 2016. I have found this system for learning vocabulary works very well for me. I started learning the first 1,000 words through March and now add 5 new words every day. I spend approx. 15 minutes a day learning and revising vocabulary.

I read graded readers daily. I read for approximately 15 – 30 minutes. I buy kindle books by Paco Arvit currently.

Daily I listen to youtube videos or the news or podcasts or anything in Spanish for 15 – 30 minutes throughout the day. Sometimes I don’t do it all at once. I listen in the car to (podcasts). I would suggest searching youtube for LanguageTransfer. These audios are great for grammar. I also revise SaySomethingIn but am doing it less now as I await Level 3.

Approximately twice a week I use a cuaderno de gramática from Difusión. They also have short videos on youtbue.

If I did none of the above the most important thing that I do on a weekly basis, approximately three times each week, for 30 minutes each time is that I speak with a native speaker. I use iTalki and have used Verbling and GoSpeaky. I found that I use iTalki more often. In my opinion speaking and making mistakes is the most important way for me to learn.

I hope this lends you some insight into how I learn.