FSI Spanish Headstart for Spain Course

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What is Spanish Headstart for Spain?

The Headstart series of language courses was originally created for US military personnel who needed to gain a basic grasp of the language in countries where they were posted. These courses teach the language required to function in a broad range of situations that anyone living in the country might face.

The Spanish for Spain course was first published in 1984 and consists of four modules of 2-4 units. In each unit, new language is presented in the form of a dialog, which is provided in audio format for students to listen to. This is then followed by a series of exercises designed to let students practice what they have just learned, drilling and manipulating the new sentences until they have fully mastered them.

Along with the coursebook and audio recordings, you will also find a cultural booklet about Spain that – although now quite dated in parts – gives you an in-depth introduction to many aspects of life in the country.

How can you use Spanish Headstart for Spain?

This course is designed to be used either with or without a teacher, making it ideal for autonomous study.

As a beginner, you should start with Module 1, Unit 1 and work through from there.

At the start of each unit, first, read the objectives. When you have done this, you can then begin listening to the audio. All the instructions you need will be included on the recording, so you can just listen and do as it says.

You may be told to stop the recording to read the notes, at which point you can do as it suggests. However, resist the temptation to read anything before the recording tells you to do so as you should listen to the audio first.

After the presentation of the language, you will be given the chance to practice, and again, the recording will guide you through this.

Since this course was designed for military personnel, you will find that the material is heavy in terms related to military service. However, you shouldn’t try to remember all the military words. Instead, just focus on the language that will be most relevant to you.

For a complete beginner, the whole course can be finished in around 30-40 hours of study.

Taking it further

Although these materials are designed to give you a comprehensive introduction to Spanish, you can’t learn a language through books alone. You should also try to find other materials to supplement your study, and at the same time, you should look for native speakers to help you practice speaking. After completing this course, if you want to continue studying, you can also try the FSI Basic course, which contains a wealth of other activities that can help you continue learning.

Above all, try to make speaking Spanish a part of your daily life, and if you can do this, you will see how quickly you begin to make rapid progress in this extremely useful language.

Student Text

Cultural Notes


Module 1

Unit 1 audio
Unit 2 audio
Unit 3 audio

Module 2

Unit 1 audio 1 audio 2
Unit 2 audio  
Unit 3 audio  
Unit 4 audio  

Module 3

Unit 1 audio
Unit 2 audio
Unit 3 audio

Module 4

Unit 1 audio
Unit 2 audio