This page is part of a case study I did on rapid Spanish learning, see the full case study here.
HelloTalk is phenomenal for finding people from all of the world to talk with for free. It's all virtual but you can video call as well. Easily the best virtual conversation exchange resource. It's structured like a social media feed and you can post any language questions, experiences, resources on there. Or if you're just looking for someone to talk to in your target language you could make a post and get on a call with a native within 15 minutes.
Site is a little antiquated but it still gets the job done. Also free. You can search people by location, start having video calls to practice, I met a bunch of friends here that I ended up meeting with in person once I got to Argentina.
My favorite conversation exchange resource, they rent out part of local bars/restaurants for free conversation exchanges. They're growing quickly and are in a lot of cities. You show up, get a flag sticker with your native language, then a flag sticker of whatever language you're learning below that. Walk around and meet new people who have the opposite as you then talk and practice together in a social setting. It's the coolest experience.
They do in person and virtual meetups where they match you with speakers of your target language for 2 hours, share mate (only in person), bigger focus on culture sharing. Paid and free options.
Transcripts available online for reading while listening. Listen to the stories, they chime in in English for context, read and follow along with the transcript. My favorite resource and quickest way to learn if your do the "reading while listening".
Take songs you already know or songs in your target language and fill in the words for the songs. Gamified, great for listening comprehension.
Best resource I've found for learning from home. Can't beat $149/month for unlimited online 1v1 Spanish lessons.
Free lessons every week with an instructor located in Argentina. Online options as well. They also offer a free baseline test as well to test your level.
Great resource for vocabulary learning. Gamified & fun but not as fast moving as some other options.
I made a lot of quizlets and gathered a lot of great sets here. At the link you'll find sets for the 1000 most common words, popular cognates (you probably already know ~ 5o0 Spanish words but didn't know it), irregular verbs in each tense/subjunctive, and more.
genre-less, on Spotify
bite sized lessons on Spotify
This show is designed for Spanish language learners, it's meant to emulate "Friends" and is paced slower for building listening comprehension. One commenter summed it up best when he said "Cringe overload but at least I'm learning lol".
Great show on Netflix, made in Spain, watch in Spanish with subtitles to improve your listening. Fast paced, better if you already have a solid foundation of Spanish.
Credit Card Rewards
I used capital one and they were running a deal that gave me a $5oo credit if I spent and paid off $3000 in 3 months. This fit perfectly into my plans and I used this card for the majority of my purchases. Most credit cards have something similar, make sure you get a card that has no foreign transaction fees. Also consider the cash back rewards you get. I used the Venture Rewards card and then just cancelled the card before the end of the year to avoid the annual fee. They also will pay for your global entry or TSA pre check which is super helpful.
Airbnb Special Discount
A lot of people don't know this but if you just ask your host for a "special discount" they'll take 10-30% off. In my experience I'd say 3/10 hosts will give you a special discount if you ask.
If you're looking to get a fully immersive experience in another country and stay with a host family, Homestay has some great options. budget-friendly and you get to connect with a local and see their city from their point of view.
Couchsurfing offers opportunities to connect with fellow travelers who are looking to help each other travel on a budget. Accommodation isn't hotel status and can quite literally be a couch but there are lots of free options for people just looking to help one another. They use a rating system to verify hosts and guests so you can have confidence in staying with someone who's not a creep. Great if you're ballin on a budget.