Hi, I’m Ingrid. In 2016, I took early retirement from software engineering at age 43 to pursue my passions for language learning, travel, and photography. This site is called Second-Half Travels because at my age I optimistically estimate I have half my life left. My goal is to spend as much of it as possible doing the things I love. Read More
If you’re like me, you spend too much time on Facebook. Fortunately, you can turn “El Feis,” as it’s known in Mexico, into a free learning tool. Follow these Mexican Facebook pages to improve your Spanish while keeping up with contemporary culture in Mexico. Read More
Getting hooked on a binge-worthy Spanish TV show is a great way to practice vocabulary and listening skills. You also learn about other cultures and gain exposure to different accents and slang. If you are an intermediate or advanced learner, I recommend watching with Spanish subtitles as studies show it enhances language learning. I also jot down any interesting new vocabulary and add it to my Anki flashcards later. Read More
Since retiring I’ve been frequently visiting family in Germany, so I needed to brush up my language skills. My German abilities were in kind of a weird place. Since both my parents are German I grew up speaking it at home here in the US, but now that I live far from family I have few opportunities to practice. Also, I never had a formal grammar education and intended to fill that gap. Additionally, I wanted to pick up more current German slang.
In February and March of 2017 I visited Mexico City and then spent three weeks in Guanajuato taking Spanish classes, followed by three days in Zacatecas, a beautiful northern mining town.
|1||Fly to Mexico City from US||Mexico City|
|2||Mexico City||Mexico City|
|3||Mexico City||Mexico City|
|4||Mexico City||Mexico City|
|5||Bus to Guanajuato||Guanajuato|
|6-26||Guanajuato - 3 weeks of language study||Guanajuato|
|27||Bus to Zacatecas||Zacatecas|
|30||Day trip to Jerez||Zacatecas|
|31||Fly back to US from Zacatecas|
In October 2016 I spent two and a half weeks studying Spanish at AIL Madrid. Overall it was a great experience and I highly recommend the school.
I chose Madrid since standard Castilian Spanish is spoken there with a clear accent, unlike in Seville, for example. There are also no regional languages to contend with, such as in Barcelona. Madrid is a little more expensive than other parts of Spain, but overall I found prices for school fees, food, and accommodation to be very reasonable.
Madrid ended up being a great choice. Despite being a big city, I found its inhabitants to be extremely kind and welcoming. It was easy to connect with locals and practice my Spanish. Madrid is famous for its night life and you could attend a different intercambio or social gathering via Meetup every night of the week. Read More