We’re all getting older, and there are changes in how our brains work that science has documented. Even people in their 30s have brains that process things differently than they did a decade earlier. This is both bad and good news, as our amazing elastic brains compensate, and there really is such a thing as wisdom that comes with age!
Here are some thoughts I first wrote on my blog about living in Mexico, back when Mexico was our home for five years.
It’s easier to memorize when you are younger, but you can certainly still learn Spanish later. There may at times be a one-step forward/ two-steps back quality to your learning but ultimately those steps will take you in the direction you want to go.
If you have to work harder to learn Spanish, you can also work smarter. Research into how we learn shows that if you study something and then go back over it, you will retain far more than if you just review it once.
How often is ideal to review something?
- About an hour later
- A day later
- And a week later
- And a month later
Applying this to learning Spanish could mean keeping track of what you are studying and then beginning each study session with a review of what you had done the day before. Once a week and once a month you could review too.
Here’s a tip that comes from dog training: Dogs typically learn best if the training sessions are kept short and enjoyable, with treats. For us, that means don’t study to the point of exhaustion and make it fun for yourself, maybe even giving yourself a reward for doing a Spanish lesson. Dogs can’t eat chocolate but we can!
I’ve been told by retired friends who have gone to Spanish language schools in Mexico that they find they do best if they take a smaller course load than they might have when they were younger.
There are various nutritional supplements that can help you learn and remember. Gingko is perhaps the best known. I do find that the process of learning Spanish involves more forgetting than it used to, but I also think that the intellectual challenge of studying Spanish keeps those brain cells livelier.
Filed under: Learn Spanish