Monday, 4 April 2016

Sticking to Spanish with FlashSticks

Now that classes at Uni have finished, the next thing on my radar is going on holiday (just ignoring that looming exam that comes in between, lol hey I'm just going to spend the day buying 5 bikinis and not think about that). As of right now, Blair and I are off to sunny Tenerife in 50 days, 16 hours and 18 minutes and I couldn't be more excited, your gal is desperately in need of some Vitamin Sea. Every time I book a holiday I always make a pact with myself that I'll try my best to at least attempt to get to grips with some of the language before I go because I think it's polite but I also know I'd feel super cool breaking in to another language to order my food. Plus, I think I'm still emotionally scarred from Blair greeting our hotel's doorman with  'Aloha' instead of 'Hola' in Barcelona last Summer. However, I've never had much luck using apps or phrasebooks (my German phrasebook legit has a whole chapter on how to hook up with someone in German). So I was super excited when the lovely people at FlashSticks* got in touch and challenged me to learn 100 words in Spanish in a month before I jet set off and put my language skills to the test.

(yes, me gusta that Easter Egg very much)

In 2012, Richard, one of FlashSticks' original founders, was in need of quick fix to help him progress his Spanish between lessons when he was working abroad. He found that writing Spanish words on to sticky notes and sticking them everywhere he went meant that he was revising his vocabulary effortlessly and almost subconsciously. This sparked the idea for FlashSticks and a year later, the FlashSticks stickies and accompanying app were born.

FlashSticks currently offer packs in a range of 6 different languages with the choice between a beginner, intermediate or advanced pack in each. I have been trying out the Spanish Beginner 100 Unique Words pack but there's also packs containing words in specific categories such as Food & Drink and Holiday & Travel. One pack contains 100 sticky notes, each displaying a simple, common word or phrase in your chosen language at the top, followed by the phonetic pronunciation, the word in English and a cute little corresponding picture. Each sticky note is colour coded to signify the gender of the word with pink for feminine nouns, blue for masculine and green for all other word types. I found this super helpful as remembering the gender of each word was the bane of my life when I learned German at school.

However, as much as the sticky notes themselves are helpful, using them alongside the free app makes the learning much more interactive and effective. As well as a platform to play a few games and activities, the app doubles as a scanner, allowing you to scan your FlashStick notes and hear the correct pronunciation. This, alongside the written phonetic pronunciation, made it so much easier for me to learn each word as it meant I started to associate each written word with the way it should sound. However, my favourite part of the app definitely has to be the object scanner which can recognise and translate pretty much any object. I was amazed at how accurate it was, with it even recognising colours and specific brands and I'm pretty sure I've scanned and translated just about every object in my house now.

Straight away I found myself picking up the words and phrases really quickly and it honestly didn't seem like hard work at all. The combination of the visual, oral and kinaesthetic worked really well for my brain and seeing the words written down, hearing the pronunciation and sticking the notes to the relevant objects meant that everything was connected and made it easier to remember. As a student teacher, I am also super excited about bringing FlashSticks in to my own classroom and can picture myself getting a bit carried away and sticking them everywhere (apologies to my future class) plus I know that children would love the interactive side of using the app. I will definitely be purchasing the British Sign Language pack in the near future as this is something I've always wanted to cross of my bucket list, especially as it may come in handy for my job in the future.

I'm already feeling way more prepared for going to Tenerife now and I can't wait to annoy Blair by pointing to every object we pass and saying its name in Spanish. Hopefully, after a little bit more practice, I'll be ready to move up to intermediate (and then hopefully immigrate to Spain forever). Each FlashStick pack is only £4.99 and you can see a list of retailers or order online here, be sure to use my discount code at EMMAE10 at the checkout for 10% off!! Can you speak any other languages? What language would you love to learn? Thanks for reading!

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*This product was sent to me to review but all opinions and new found love for Spanish are my own


  1. I did this all the way through my exams in school, stuck post-its in French on everything in my house and drove my family mad haha. Enjoy Tenerife :)

    1. I wish I'd thought of that!! These make it so much easier. Thank you! Xx

  2. What a brilliant challenge! I'm learning beginners' Italian at uni and have my exam in five weeks or so - cue major panic about my lack of vocabulary! I'll definitely look into the app in particular to help me out. Have a great trip too!
    Lx |


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