My family and I are taking a vacation to Spain (covering Madrid and Barcelona) in three month's time. I'm the only person in my family who knows a lick of Spanish.

I've been enrolled in Spanish classes in school from first grade to twelfth grade (USA), and while I don't consider myself a fluent speaker at all, I do consider myself a proficient reader and writer.

However, after four years in university of not using Spanish (thanks, STEM major), I'm afraid I can't remember various common nouns or how to conjugate in common tenses (like the conditional or the subjunctive), at least not off the top of my head.

I've heard that while Barcelona is very tourist-friendly, Madrid is a bit more cultural and knowing a base level of Spanish would be helpful in making the experience more fluid.

Since I'm going to have free time before the vacation, I was wondering if there are any good resources to brush up on my Spanish. Note that the importance here isn't that I need to learn a new language, but rather jolt my memory regarding conversational Spanish (ordering food, asking for directions, small talk, etc.).

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  • 2
    I'm afraid this question is off-topic for our format: a good answer would be too broad and we don't do product recommendations. Maybe Spanish SE could help? And honestly, just look at your old course resources, you will be faster this time and pick up what you have already learned.
    – mts
    Apr 5, 2016 at 22:29
  • 1
    I agree with mts here. That said, have a look at duolingo.com, it's what I personally use for learning languages.
    – Belle
    Apr 5, 2016 at 22:30
  • I suspect that a few phrases in Catalan may earn you as much goodwill from the locals as polished Castilian.
    – choster
    Apr 5, 2016 at 23:13
  • I'd start by watching Spanish (from Spain) TV. RTVE.es is free and available worldwide most of the time. 24h is a news channel (available at that website) produced in Spain and with a neutral European Spanish accent. You will find it quite different from Latino stations in the Americas, and will prepare you for your journey this side of the pond. Apr 6, 2016 at 9:58

1 Answer 1


1) Duolingo has a Spanish course for English speakers. It is mostly for learning a language. However, the courses are divided into topics, for example, family, places or time, but to be able to access a chosen topic you need to know all preceding material. One way could be go over all the topics, otherwise there is a placement test to omit things you know.

2) Omniglot contains the very basic phrases with audio and a lot of links to various resources.

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