If you need to learn Spanish from scratch or brush up on your Spanish skills before digging in with your kids, and are wondering how to learn Spanish online for free, check out these free resources!
Free Online Spanish Courses
While it’s easy to find paid Spanish courses online, the series of courses below are totally free and taught by university instructors in Spain. They’re also self-paced, meaning no stressful deadlines to meet!
EdX Basic Spanish 1, 2 & 3
The Universitat Politecnica de Valencia in Spain offers three self-paced online Spanish courses through EdX.
The best part? They are free! (You may optionally request a certificate of completion for $40-50 per course, but it’s not required).
Basic Spanish 1: Getting Started is a seven-week online course to get beginners started with conversational Spanish. You’ll learn Spanish letters and numbers, how to describe yourself, and how to use and conjugate the verb to be.
Basic Spanish 2: One Step Further is a four-week online course for those with basic Spanish knowledge. You’ll learn how to talk about yourself and your daily routine and activities in the past, present, and future tense.
Basic Spanish 3: Getting There is a four-week online course for those with basic Spanish knowledge/60 hours of practice. You’ll learn how to tell time, express an opinion, talk about health, and form a shopping list, among many other things.
All courses include audio, video, dialogs, texts, glossaries, opportunities to practice speaking Spanish with fellow students, quizzes, and tests.
At the time of writing this post, over 320,000 students are enrolled in Basic Spanish 1, so you’ll have plenty of support and company to get you through it.
As a busy mom, I love that they’re self-paced, so that you can work on them whenever you want and don’t need to worry about meeting any deadlines.
You really can’t get much better than that if you want to get started learning Spanish or brush up on your Spanish skills!
Free Spanish Apps & Websites
Here are some of the best free Spanish learning apps and websites to learn Spanish in your free time.
Duolingo is a really popular way to learn a new language.
It gamifies the language learning process, with users unlocking new levels by earning virtual coins. You’ll get customized activities to help boost your vocabulary and grammar skills.
The app is a great way to get small bits of learning in throughout the day, whenever you have a spare minute.
It shouldn’t be the only tool in your arsenal, but it’s a great way to supplement your language learning on the go.
It’s free, although they also offer a paid service, Duolingo Plus, which removes the ads.
Memrise is another option that includes both web and app learning.
It’s different from Duolingo in that it focuses on conversational Spanish from native speakers.
Also, it’s worth noting that while some courses are created by Memrise, other courses are created by users.
This allows Memrise to offer a larger variety of courses, although quality may vary.
They’ve broken down their Spanish courses into Spanish (Spain) and Spanish (Mexico), which is a great distinction to make, especially when it comes to understanding native speakers.
Just like Duolingo, the app allows you to learn whenever and wherever you can.
BBC Spanish is a website full of resources to help you learn Spanish from the British Broadcasting Corporation.
It is an older website, and the BBC states that it has been archived and is no longer being updated. But that doesn’t mean that it’s inferior in any way.
It is chock-full of information and lessons to help improve your Spanish.
Talk Spanish is a 10-part video introduction to the Spanish language with printable activities.
Mi Vida Loca is a 12-week video drama that leads you on a mystery adventure to Madrid and beyond.
It links to many different news, TV, and radio outlets throughout the Spanish-speaking world, for more adventurous learners who want to practice more advanced reading and listening.
It even has special sections for kids to learn Spanish called CBeebies.
It’s definitely worth a look, even though the interface is starting to look pretty dated.
Learn Spanish on YouTube
When it comes to learning any new skill, there’s nowhere like YouTube, and that definitely goes for learning Spanish.
The mix of audio and visuals that you get from YouTube is absolutely wonderful for learning a new language.
Here are some of the best YouTube channels for learning Spanish that I’ve found.
Learn Spanish with SpanishPod101.com has so many free videos for Spanish learners, it’s actually overwhelming!
Their videos are divided into categories such as Introduction to Spanish, Spanish in 3 Minutes, Spanish Words for Every Day, and many, many more.
Most of their videos are pretty short, clocking in at under 10 minutes, so it’s easy to get in a snippet of learning whenever you have a free moment. However, there are some longer videos mixed in there too.
Butterfly Spanish is another immensely popular Spanish learning YouTube channel.
Your teacher, Ana, guides you through lessons covering grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, conversation, and culture.
They tend to be longer than SpanishPod101’s videos, mostly over 30 minutes each.
Most of her videos have millions of views, so that’s a great testament to the quality of these videos.
You can also sign up for her free monthly Learning Spanish newsletter at her website here.
Buena Gente is a YouTube video series for beginners made by Spanish Playground.
It’s filmed in Guanajuato, Mexico and follows a mystery about Mateo and Sofia. It mixes in cultural information about Mexico as well.
It features short episodes of native Spanish speakers speaking slowly, and is really fun to watch.
You can also check out their printable materials at their website here.
Podcasts are a great way to train your ear to understand native Spanish speakers. They greatly improve your listening skills, and they almost always include a transcript to read if needed.
Here are some of my favorites.
Notes in Spanish
Notes in Spanish is a Spanish language podcast produced by Ben Curtis and Marina Diez, a British-Spanish intercultural couple living in Madrid, Spain.
Their free, high-quality podcasts are available for almost all skill levels, from inspired beginners to advanced learners.
I love listening to their conversations and chemistry, and find them to be totally authentic and sweet.
Ben is a native English speaker and Marina is a native Spanish speaker, so they mix the two languages together when necessary and I always end up learning a lot when I listen to them.
Duolingo Spanish Podcast
I mentioned Duolingo above as a great website/app to learn Spanish, but did you know that they also produce a Spanish language podcast?
It’s a great podcast for intermediate-level learners, as it mixes Spanish and English and translates new vocabulary as you listen. The narrator often speaks in English, while the subject of the podcast speaks Spanish.
It tells true stories about real people around the Spanish-speaking world. It does a really great job of clarifying vocabulary that might be unfamiliar, without helping us along too much.
The transcript for each episode can be found on the website.
Radio Ambulante is a Spanish language podcast distributed by NPR. It’s a narrative podcast that tells Latin American stories all in Spanish.
This one is for intermediate to advanced Spanish learners. About 20% of their listeners are Spanish learners.
Every episode includes a Spanish transcript along with an English translation, so if you feel overwhelmed by so much Spanish, you can read along and look at the translation too!
I have listened to Radio Ambulante a lot, and find their journalism and topics to be really, really interesting.
They also recently released an app called Lupa to help train your ear and follow along with the podcasts. It’s free to try out for two episodes, then $10/month or $99/year for all episodes.
Spanish Language Partners
If you’re an extrovert (or an adventurous introvert!) who loves meeting new people and isn’t afraid of real-time conversation, a Spanish language partner is a great choice.
You’ll learn so much conversational Spanish and also greatly improve your speaking and listening skills.
Here are some free options to find a Spanish language partner for a language exchange.
Want to make new in-person friends and help each other learn a language at the same time? Lexody is for you!
Lexody is a fairly new startup company founded in Brooklyn, New York, that matches people together for a real-life language exchange.
The premise is that you meet for an hour with a native speaker of your target language, spending 30 minutes speaking one language, and 30 minutes speaking another. That way both of you benefit, and make new friends at the same time.
It’s totally free to try out with 5 free “connect coins,” and $7/month or $39/year for unlimited connects.
There’s nothing like chatting in-person to improve your language skills, but of course you always should meet in a public place.
And since it is in-person, people who live in larger metropolitan areas will have a much easier time finding language partners.
Italki is a website that connects you to language partners around the world for free. (You can also find one-on-one paid tutors, if you’re interested).
You simply sign up for an account, search for language partners by language, gender, where they’re from, and/or where they’re living, and send them a message. From there you can connect on Skype or your chosen method to practice languages together.
No discussion of language partners would be complete without mentioning Meetup.
Meetup focuses on in-person events of ALL kinds, but is a great place to find language exchanges.
I joined a Meetup group for Americans living in Montreal while I was there, and met some of my best friends to this date.
It’s full of all kinds of groups, whether you’re looking for a social group, a dating group, or wanting to get together to learn or practice a hobby or craft. There’s something for everyone.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for in your area, you can start your own Meetup group. There are options to make it free or to charge a fee for members to join.
Get out there and start learning Spanish
You officially have no excuse! Here is a list of some of the best free ways to learn Spanish online (and even in-person).
Most don’t require much time commitment, and are easy to fit into your hectic schedule.
Have you tried any of these free resources? Do you have any other suggestions? Let us know in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!
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