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Learning a new language is a daunting task, and taking Spanish classes only go so far. Putting time into learning a language outside of the classroom is where real growth occurs. The process of becoming bilingual takes dedication and practice, but who says it can’t be a little fun too? That’s why film is a great way to increase your Spanish fluency. TV shows and movies offer real life conversation, provide a glimpse into the culture of Spanish-speaking countries, and are a fun way to increase your familiarity with the language. These past few months, I've been watching Spanish TV shows and movies, and was surprised to find how much it helped with my comprehension of Spanish. The recommendations I’ll mention range from fast-paced and thrilling, to humorous and touching, so there’s something for everyone!

Casa de Papel

Also known as Money Heist in America, Casa de Papel takes place in Spain and follows a group of criminals that come together to rob the Royal Mint of Spain. With the careful planning of the “Professor”, the mastermind behind the heist, the group partake in a suspenseful scheme that will have you holding your breath at every twist and turn. Casa de Papel was the first Spanish show I watched on Netflix, and I would now consider it my favorite TV series. In fact, I got my entire family and many friends hooked as well. It was recently renewed for season five, which is currently being filmed.

Élite

Another fast-paced and thrilling show, Élite is best described as a mix between Riverdale and Euphoria with its mature and dark plot. After the gruesome murder of a student at a prestigious Spanish high school, everyone becomes a suspect overnight. The murder mystery unfolds with flashbacks to the past and scenes of the present as the true events of the murder are revealed. This show was definitely binge-worthy, though certainly not as lighthearted as my other recommendations. If you enjoy thrillers with eerie undertones, this is for you.

Thi Mai

An endearing, humorous, and heartfelt film, Thi Mai follows the story of a grieving mother, Carmen, who learns her daughter had planned to adopt a young Vietnamese girl before she passed away. Carmen vows to live out her daughter’s wishes and travels to Vietnam with two close friends in an attempt to gain adoption rights. This film made me laugh out loud quite a few times, but was touching too.

Spanish and English offerings combined, these two TV shows and movie are, in my opinion, some of Netflix's best options. I promise that by the first episode, you'll be hooked, and by the last, you’ll feel a new level of comprehension for the Spanish language. Don’t be discouraged if you feel the speaking is too fast to keep up with at first. You’ll soon adjust to the pace and start to catch words and phrases as you continue to watch. In addition to these recommendations, Netflix offers a wide variety of Spanish language shows and movies, but I found these to be my favorites. Give some of these a try!

Ashley is currently a junior at Boston University. She is majoring in conservation and ecology biology with an interest in marine and wildlife conservation. In her free time she loves to practice yoga, read, create wellness content for her instagram @soulfullyashley, and surf when she can make it to the beach.
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