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November 12, 2015
Advanced Spanish – Episode 026 – Feria de las Flores
The Feria de las Flores is one of the great cultural events of Medellin – and one of the biggest parties in a country of many fiestas. The 10-day long event attracts tens of thousands of people and has a number of exciting events and parades. But just what is the best flower…? Today we reveal all about a great Colombian event!
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19 min
June 18, 2015
Advanced Spanish – Episode 025 – Cirugía Plástica
In certain parts of the world plastic surgery is very popular. The USA has the most plastic surgery operations, while it is also popular in parts of Europe and South Korea. Another region of the world where it is popular is Latin America. Countries such as Brazil and Colombia have quite high levels of plastic surgery. In today’s episode we look at the facts and (opinions!) behind it. Where is it most popular? What operations do people have? Why is it more popular in some countries than others? All will be revealed in the new Spanish audio podcast!
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21 min
June 6, 2015
Advanced Spanish – Episode 024 – Refranes
Every country and every culture has a variety of sayings that people use in all manner of situations. They are often illogical and used in only certain parts of a country or region. But, they are essential in truly understanding a culture and a language. Today we share with you a variety of interesting and popular refranes from Colombia…
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21 min
May 26, 2015
Advanced Spanish – Episode 023 – Culturas antiguas increíbles!
Before the Europeans arrived to the American continent, a variety of cultures were living - and had lived – on the continent over the years. In this episode, we discuss two of the most incredible from Colombia. We start by looking at La Ciudad Perdida, a city that had been lost for hundreds of years until the 1970s. Then we look at the fascinating site of San Agustin – land of amazing statues. Both of these sites can be visited today and both have their share of interesting tales – as we tell you about in the Spanish audio podcast!
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21 min
May 16, 2015
Advanced Spanish – Episode 022 – Mitos!
Much like legends, myths are important to many cultures. In this podcast, we discuss myths specifically related to how aspects of the world were made. We traverse the American continent and feature a story from Colombia, as well as the Tehuelches in Argentina and the Mayas in Mexico. So get prepared for some wonderful (and not so wonderful) myths from Latin America!
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20 min
May 7, 2015
Advanced Spanish – Episode 021 – Leyendas Increíbles!
Legends are part of every culture. They have often been passed down through the generations, and many come from the countryside. After all, it wasn’t too long ago when most people were living outside of towns and cities. Today, we tell the tales of a variety of interesting and scary legends! From La Llorona to El Sombreron, and the terrible deal that Juan Machete did with the devil, you’ll get to hear some fascinating stories in today’s Spanish audio podcast!
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21 min
April 30, 2015
Advanced Spanish – Episode 020 – Estereotipos de los Latinos en Hollywood
Hollywood has its great points; however it is not perfect. And one thing it sometimes does, is stereotype certain groups. In this episode we look at the stereotypes associated with Latinos in Hollywood. From certain low-paid jobs to drugs, and crazy, shouting Latinas to psychopaths, here we discuss just what they are…
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19 min
April 23, 2015
Advanced Spanish – Episode 019 – Huelga! El Paro Camionero…
Truck drivers have been on strike across Colombia. In this Spanish audio podcast, we explain the main reasons why. And what the effects have been on the country… Just how are people moving around if the roads are blocked? Have prices risen in the shops? And most importantly, just how do you get fruit and vegetables if the truck drivers aren’t moving goods around the country? We explain all here…
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20 min
April 18, 2015
Advanced Spanish – Episode 018 – A las serpientes o las montañas? La región de Nariño!
In the southwest of Colombia is the department of Nariño. Even though it is a lesser-visited region of the country, it has many fascinating sites. And what makes it even more special is that it ranges from the high mountains to the tropical coast. Today we talk about volcanoes, one of the most stunning churches in Latin America (if not the world), and a very different nature reserve – It used to be a prison and is now a tourist destination complete with a number of snakes (and sharks for that matter!). Enjoy!
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22 min
April 9, 2015
Advanced Spanish – Episode 017 – La Gastronomía!
From the north to the south, and the east to the west, there are many culinary delights in Colombia! From the Colombian ‘English breakfast’ that is bandeja paisa to ajiaco and sancocho, we look at a wide range of fantastic food! There’s also the delightful fish and coconut rice, as well as guinea pig… In fact, there’s so much wonderful food that we run out of time - so part 2 will be here later this year!
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18 min
April 2, 2015
Advanced Spanish – Episode 016 – Despiértame cuando pase el temblor!
It was just a few short weeks ago when an earthquake of 6.6 on the richter scale struck much of Colombia, including the capital Bogota. Fortunately there were no deaths, but it was still very scary! Today Paola tells us what exactly happened on that crazy day. We also look back at the history of earthquakes in the region.
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March 26, 2015
Advanced Spanish – Episode 015 – Los hombres latinos y el machismo
Do all men in Latin America look like footballer James Rodriguez? What is el amor latino? Is machismo still a key feature of Latin American society? Today we take an interesting look at all of these questions and discuss the role of men – particularly younger men - in modern Latin America. This is a fascinating episode so we hope you enjoy it!
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20 min
March 19, 2015
Advanced Spanish – Episode 014 – Cómo hablar con Latinos!
This Spanish audio podcast looks at how to speak to people in Latin America. We discuss differences in how open people are in different Latin countries, and share 5 questions that many people may ask you – according to Cristian’s guide book! We also tell you in which countries you will probably be able to practice more Spanish (as people are really friendly), as well as other interesting topics of conversation… In short, this podcast explains why we decided to focus our audio podcasts on a certain part of the Spanish-speaking world!
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21 min
March 13, 2015
Advanced Spanish – Episode 013 – La Alegría
In a recent survey, Colombia was among the happiest countries in the world. Many other Latin American countries, such as Costa Rica and Peru, also feature among the happiest! So in today’s podcast we look at some of the reasons why Colombia is among the happiest countries – from the strange to the not so strange! And some of them reasons might not be what you think…
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22 min
March 5, 2015
Advanced Spanish – Episode 012 – Reinas de Belleza
In some Western countries, beauty queens and beauty pageants seem rather old-fashioned. But in various Latin American countries they remain very popular. In this episode we discuss how you win a beauty pageant, other types of reinado, and some recent controversies from beauty pageants. Oh and how one Latin American country recently won Miss Universe…
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20 min
February 26, 2015
Advanced Spanish – Episode 011 – San Andrés
The Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina is formed of a group of Colombian islands far removed from the Colombian mainland. They are idyllic tropical islands, many of which are close to Nicaragua. In this episode we talk about what you can do in this vacation destination, as well as tales of pirates and how English is an official language there!
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18 min
February 19, 2015
Advanced Spanish – Episode 010 – Domingo
Many people in Latin America work six days a week, which means that people’s days without work are even more precious. In this episode, we discuss the variety of events that happen on domingo – from family outings and cultural events to church and food! And Cristian also wonders whether people are particularly ‘relaxed’ on a Sunday… Paola is not impressed!
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21 min
February 12, 2015
Advanced Spanish – Episode 009 – Carnaval de Barranquilla
Many of us have heard of the Rio carnival, but far fewer the second biggest carnival. This takes place in the sultry city of Barranquilla, on the northern Colombian coast. Today we look at the carnival’s history, some of the fascinating characters who join the parades (such as Rey Momo!), as well as the intriguing fantasy parade. We also discuss the fun that people have for 4 days in the heat – or some 40 days if you include the pre-carnaval!
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21 min
February 6, 2015
Advanced Spanish – Episode 008 – Cuentos Chinos
Cristian shares a fascinating article he recently read about how short-sightedness in children has increased in China due in large part to the amount of time that children study. This leads on to a variety of topics – including how much people read in Colombia and why not many people seem to wear glasses there… Plus so much more!
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19 min
January 30, 2015
Advanced Spanish – Episode 007 – Gabriel García Márquez
The Colombian Gabriel Garcia Marquez was possibly the most important Latin American writer of the twentieth century. His magical realist writing produced such classics as One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera. Here, we discuss his fascinating life, books, and how learners of Spanish can benefit from reading his books! Oh and how he knew Fidel Castro...
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19 min
January 22, 2015
Advanced Spanish – Episode 006 – Vendedores
Many people sell products on the street in Latin America. In this episode we look at this serious issue in a different way… We focus on the people who sell products on public transport. From the charismatic man who spent 30 minutes selling health products on a bus to the popularity of English books, and bus rappers to the very unique way that Coca-Cola is sold, this audio podcast will provide an insight into the innovative ways that people sell!
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17 min
January 15, 2015
Advanced Spanish – Episode 005 – Coca y Cocaína
Coca is a herb that has a long and mystical history in many parts of South America; whereas cocaine does not. There is much confusion around coca as it is a (very very small) part of the cocaine production process. Partly for this reason, coca is illegal in many countries. In this episode, we explain coca’s fascinating history and important cultural elements.
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19 min
January 7, 2015
Advanced Spanish – Episode 004 – Mas vacaciones!
We look at the little-visited Pacific coast of Colombia in this episode. With it being difficult to reach, much of the region is largely unknown to foreigners. So in this episode we tell you how to get there and some of Cristian’s adventures in the region – including the little plane, the deserted beach, the incredible heat, and a search for whales…
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21 min
December 30, 2014
Advanced Spanish – Episode 003 – Año Nuevo
In the episode we learn about how important New Year is to many people in Latin America. In fact, it is just as important as Christmas for many. We also find out about some very quirky and unusual new year traditions that Paola has been involved in!
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19 min
December 16, 2014
Advanced Spanish – Episode 002 – Vacaciones!
In the second episode of the audio podcast that will greatly help your Spanish, we look at vacaciones! After all, summer is with us in much of Latin America!
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18 min
December 7, 2014
Advanced Spanish – Episode 001 – Navidad
The first ever episode of the Learning Spanish Fast podcast series has arrived. It is about Christmas – Navidad! In this episode Paola tells us what happens during Christmas in South America, in particular in Colombia. And Cristian shares his experiences of Christmas in another Latin American country.
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23 min
December 6, 2014
About us / Quién Somos? Un poco mas!
Bienvenida a Learning Spanish Fast. Following on from our introduction, today we tell you a bit more about us, our 19-minutes a day concept, and what type of Spanish we focus on.PS – It is only days until we release our first ever audio podcast! A papua penguin in Ushuaia, Patagonia, Argentina. By Luis Alejandro Bernal Romero, http://aztlek.com. Available here. What is the 19-minutes a day to Spanish fluency concept?The core team who make the site has used its knowledge of teaching and learning Spanish to create a fascinating way to enhance your Spanish.One of us is an experienced Spanish teacher; the other is somebody who has learned Spanish as a foreign language. Between us we have developed a rather unique way for advanced and intermediate learners to take their Spanish to the next level!Our experience shows that a little learning each day is the best way to perfect language skills. After all, our brains are programmed to only take in information in short bursts. So it is far better to spend 30 minutes a day learning a language than 4 hours straight on a Sunday afternoon. With that in mind, our audio podcasts are (about!) 19 minutes – the perfect length for you to listen to, and then do something relaxing afterwards. You could even reflect on the key points that you have learned later in the day, and - if you are really keen to improve your Spanish - supplement the podcasts with a bit of light reading from a Spanish-language website!Then, before you know it, your Spanish should improve greatly!One other point. We are going to release one audio podcast a week. This means that we’re not going to have a treasure trove of archives to start with, but in time, we shall have a world of fascinating audio for you to listen to! This means that there will be many 19-minute audio podcasts for you very soon... Many countries speak Spanish. Which Spanish do we focus on?As learners of Spanish know, as well as Spain, Spanish is spoken in most countries in South America and Central America – from Mexico to Peru and Colombia to Argentina. It is also spoken in other territories around the world, including by many people in the USA.However, the accents that people speak with are different across these Spanish-speaking countries, and sometimes words change too. The biggest grammar and vocabulary differences are commonly found between the Spanish spoken by the approximately 45 million people living in Spain and the approaching 400 million people in Spanish-speaking Latin America.With that in mind, we decided to focus on Latin American Spanish. Not only do more people speak it, but Latin America is a strongly growing region that provides a plethora of options for working and travelling in. Even so, within Latin America some words, phrases and slang differ, but fortunately, grammar generally does not change too much in Spanish.We are planning to give you an insight into Spanish across the region, but to start with, we had to choose one country’s Spanish. And we chose Colombian Spanish. Why?Well, here are a few reasons:Many people say that the accent from some cities in the interior of Colombia is the most neutral Spanish there isColombia is geographically central in Latin America, meaning that it has influences from some of the other larger Latin American countries and is culturally close to many Latin American countriesColombia has recently recovered from its troubles and provides amazing travel experiences and interesting work opportunitiesThe economy is booming and large, while there is a vibrant cultural sceneThe people of Colombia are renowned for being extremely friendlyColombia is geographically diverse, with mountains, snow, deserts, tropical rainforest, and beautiful coastlineThe people of Colombia are perhaps the most diverse in the region and capture a good microcosm of Latin America – there are people of Indigenous, African, and European descent. Not too many countries in the region have this level of diversityWe have a fantastic Spanish teacher from Colombia!What does the future hold?All being well, alongside our audio podcasts, we shall be bringing you more free Spanish language guides as well as transcriptions of our audio podcasts. And – if you really like what we do – we shall be creating a Spanish course with a tendency toward learning about the cultures and peoples of the Spanish-speaking world.So we hope that you stay with us for all of that!  We hope you enjoyed this article! And remember, in a few short days our first audio podcast about Navidad (Christmas!) will be released! See you then… Cristian y Paola
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December 2, 2014
About us / Quién Somos?
Bienvenida a Learning Spanish Fast. In our first ever blog post, we shall be telling you about the site and who we are. And maybe the subject of our first audio podcast too! Que disfruten! Sunset, Montserrate, Bogota. By Mitch Weisburg. Available here What do we do?We’re a site that creates a variety of exclusive content that will excel you to Spanish fluency! We create audio podcasts as part of Learning Spanish Fast, as well as fascinating Spanish guides. By listening to our 19-minute audio podcasts, we think you will become an expert in Spanish faster! Who are we?Two friends who met in Colombia in 2013.Dennis Paola es de Bogotá, es decir..¡es rola!, pero en su sangre lleva una mezcla interesante de varias regiones de Colombia. Actualmente, es docente investigadora, es una profe apasionada por los temas culturales y de lenguaje, ha trabajado con prestigiosas instituciones, y ha compartido con estudiantes de todo el mundo. Le gusta nutrirse de nuevas vivencias con gente de diferente procedencia, diferentes ideas, creencias, y generar espacios para el intercambio de saberes. Cree en la importancia de la diversidad, y está aquí para crear con ustedes una  experiencia interesante, en la que no solo se aprenda más de la lengua, sino con ella y a través de ella se comprenda más de todo aquello que encierra pertenecer a esta parte del planeta: costumbres, tradiciones, pensamientos, ritos, historia... Cultura. Cristian is from the UK. He started to learn Spanish when he studied his degree for 10 months in Madrid, Spain. Since then, he has made two extensive trips to Latin America, including spending five months working in Paraguay. He tries to keep up with his Spanish through reading articles online, language exchanges, and books. However, at the time of writing he has not lived in a Spanish-speaking country for about 18 months - meaning that his Spanish is probably not as good as it used to be. Hopefully this means that you can learn from his mistakes in our audio! Why did we start the site?Well, we’re a team who love learning and are passionate about languages and helping people improve their language abilities. After all, with a language you can truly experience, travel or work in another country, which is such an enriching experience. And with Spanish you can speak to over 400 million people. With that in mind, here are our objectives:1.     Help intermediate and advanced learners expand their vocabulary. In particular, to improve their knowledge of Spanish words that people actually use, rather than just the formal words you learn in textbooks2.     Allow Spanish learners to improve their ability to listen3.     Support you on your way to becoming an expert in Spanish grammar4.     Develop your knowledge of the culture of the Spanish-speaking world – after all, to really know a language you have to know the culture that made it5.     Create a community of Spanish learners who can help solve problems. Why not post a comment on our Facebook page here right now? Our longer-term aims:1.     Produce a detailed Spanish course that allows advanced learners to master Spanish and really understand the cultures of Spanish-speaking countries2.     Create a course that allows all levels of Spanish learners to improve their Spanish - from beginners to advanced learners  In a few days we shall tell you a bit more about us. And next week our first audio podcast about Navidad (Christmas!) will be released! We hope that you’re excited… Cristian y Paola
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