Why Travel Volunteering Is The Best Way To Learn Spanish For Free

Hola amigos! From apps to audiobooks, there are many tools out there to help you learn a new language. While these tools can give you a great head start, one of the best ways to learn Spanish is to immerse yourself in the language and culture fully. How do you do that? I hear you ask….


Language immersion is where you hear, speak and learn the language in authentic everyday contexts and experiences. You start absorbing the language without realizing how much is actually sinking in. This means that not only is it easier and cheaper than traditional tuition, but it’s much more likely to stick with you as you associate words and phrases with actual life experiences.

So delete the apps, pack your bags and let’s learn Spanish the most fun and easy way possible!

trio of travellers and locals laughing together around a table with food

Why Learn Spanish?

Before we dive into why Workaway is the best way to learn Spanish, you may be wondering, of all the languages in the world…why Spanish? There are numerous advantages, both personal and professional. These include:

  • Global Language: Spanish is the second most widely spoken language in the world, with over 460 million native speakers. It is the official language in 21 countries, including Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, Spain, and Chile.
  • Career Opportunities: It’s no secret that employers often desire bilingual candidates. However, with Spanish being so widely spoken, knowledge of the language can open up a wide range of career opportunities. It also opens a world of possibilities for those considering the digital nomad way of life, as you can live and work in so many countries around the globe.
  • Travel and Cultural Experiences: Having Spanish as a second language, allows you to enhance your travel experiences. It enables you to connect with locals and gain a deeper understanding of their customs, traditions, and way of life.
  • Personal Enrichment: Learning Spanish broadens your horizons while showcasing personal growth. It will open a whole new world of literature, films, music, and art giving you insights into different perspectives and a stronger understanding of cultural diversity.
  • Improved Cognitive Skills: Studies have shown that learning a second language (such as Spanish) has been shown to improve your memory, problem-solving, and creative thinking!
diverse group of workawayers and hosts posing around a table with wine and pizza

Why Workaway Is The Best Way To Learn Spanish For Free

Save Money

Let’s start with the most obvious reason that Workaway is the best way to learn Spanish - money! Whether it’s app subscriptions, college courses or night classes, learning a language can be expensive. While there are many volunteer platforms that offer a language exchange, Workaway is unique in the way we have a one-off membership fee for the entire year instead of expensive agency fees.

Not to mention, host families may have a range of resources available for language learning, such as books, magazines, movies, or music in Spanish. By staying with them, you can have access to these resources without paying any extra costs. These materials can boost your learning and understanding, allowing you to learn Spanish for free in a fun and enjoyable way.

Find A Language Buddy

No plans to leave home any time soon? No worries! You can still learn Spanish for free, even without leaving home and living with a host family. Thanks to our find a language buddy feature, you can find a Spanish speaker to practise with before your next adventure. This is an incredibly useful tool to learn a few basic phrases to help you navigate your next destination.

Once you arrive, you can also use the find Workawayer nearby feature to find someone to practise your new Spanish skills with. Learning a language with a friend doesn’t just help to fill any gaps in your knowledge but will also keep you motivated to continue learning.

two workaway members chatting with each other in a quaint home corner

A Home Away From Home

It takes on average 600-750 hours to become proficient in a new language. Imagine how many days you’d need to spend stuck to a screen to make up those numbers! So, when it comes to the quickest way to learn Spanish, total immersion is the answer. By using Workaway to find a host family or homestay, you’ll be surrounded by Spanish 24/7, getting you fluent in no time.

Whether it's through heartfelt conversations, waking up to a cheerful "buenos días" or homemade meals, your host family will embrace you as one of their own. You'll find yourself seamlessly integrating into the Spanish way of life. All while they encourage you, inspire you, and create an environment where you can thrive in your language-learning journey. Being part of a supportive host family allows you to feel more confident and learn any language fast.

They can offer guidance, answer your questions, and correct your mistakes in a supportive environment. Far more beneficial than playing quizzes on an app!

group of workaway hosts and travellers clapping and laughing around a table of food and flowers

Cultural Context

No textbook or language app can provide the authentic experience of daily interactions and local traditions. Language and culture go hand in hand, and volunteering with Workaway provides an invaluable opportunity for language learners to understand Spanish within its cultural context.

By living within a community, you'll gain a unique perspective on their way of life, history, traditions, and regional dialects. You'll learn idioms, expressions, and gestures that are unique to the region, expanding your cultural intelligence and making your Spanish skills more authentic.

By collaborating with locals, you'll have countless opportunities to communicate and connect with people from diverse backgrounds. These genuine interactions will challenge you to actively listen, comprehend, and respond in Spanish, enhancing your conversational skills and boosting your confidence.

Conversations, Conversations, Conversations!

I’ll never forget the time I was using a very popular language app (you know the one) and it asked me to translate this sentence,

“disculpe, soy una manzana”

“Excuse me, I am an apple”

I found it equally funny yet frustrating. When would I ever, EVER need to use that phrase? This is why Workaway is one of the best ways to learn Spanish. You are conversing with actual people, having actual meaningful conversations. Not robots.

Imagine engaging in lively discussions over breakfast, sharing stories as you paint fences or join debates during the washing up. Conversations flow naturally, and you'll pick up new vocabulary, grammar structures, and colloquial phrases effortlessly. Every conversation becomes a lesson, and every interaction is an opportunity for growth.

workawayer and local child journalling together

Personal Growth and Adaptability

Talking of growth, this is another reason why Workaway is the best way to learn Spanish as an adult. While swiping through an app or popping on a podcast can teach you a few phrases, volunteering in a Spanish-speaking country pushes you out of your comfort zone. You'll navigate new environments, face challenges, and learn to adapt to different situations. Every. Single. Day.

This resilience and adaptability translate directly into language learning as you become more open to making mistakes, experimenting with the language, and embracing new ways of expressing yourself. Your increased confidence and flexibility will contribute to not only learning Spanish quicker but overall personal development.

back of three travellers on a bench gazing at the nature view

Boosts Your CV

Alongside personal growth, Workaway is one of the best ways to learn Spanish for professional growth. If you are considering a career in teaching it can be difficult to gain real life experience, especially if you lack confidence with the language. That’s where volunteering as a teacher comes in.

It gives you classroom experience as well as the ability to test drive your dream career and improve your language skills – all without committing to an expensive college course or relocating permanently. While Workaway makes it possible to travel the world as a language teacher, it can also help boost your CV in other ways.

If you dream of being a flight attendant, au pair, a translator/interpreter or working in tourism, having experience living like a local in a Spanish speaking country will do wonders for your language skills and put you ahead of the competition in the application process.  

Although degrees and courses can help boost your CV, employers often value experience most. Thanks to Workaway you earn extra bonus points because you gained that experience overseas and we can provide you with a reference letter to prove it!

Friends (and skills!) for Life

Once you pass exams, graduate, or complete the final level in an app, it can feel like your language learning journey is over. Will you actually get to use it again? Will you forget it by this time next year? Workaway is one of the best ways to learn Spanish because it allows you to build deep connections and forge lifelong friendships. You won’t just learn it once, you’ll remember it for life.

Your host family becomes your support system, cheering you on as you navigate their language. As you will have developed a more natural and intuitive grasp of Spanish by volunteering, this experience will expose you to an entire network of Spanish speakers who will further enrich your learning journey. These genuine relationships provide you with a safe and encouraging environment where you can make mistakes, learn, and grow as a Spanish speaker.

group of local and travelling language learners playing game in classroom

So, if you really want to know the best way to learn Spanish, join Workaway and begin living, laughing, and learning with your host family. Remember, volunteering in a Spanish-speaking country isn't just about improving your language skills. It's a transformative experience that allows you to make a positive impact, connect with local communities, and broaden your worldview.

¡Vámonos! (Let's go!) Your Spanish-speaking host family awaits, ready to welcome you with open arms and an endless supply of phrases and fun (Just make sure not to greet them with my phrase….“disculpe, soy una manzana”)

¡Buen viaje! (Have a great trip!)

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About Lauren

Growing up in a small coastal village in Scotland inspired Lauren to seek adventure and challenge the norm. Armed with just her backpack and trusty travel companion Darren, she quit her day job to liv... show more...

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