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Nate’s Adventures is a fun channel and a wealth of knowledge for anyone studying Spanish. In this episode of the LingQ podcast Elle chats with Nate about where his love for Spanish started, his preference for grammar (whaaaat?) and what he hopes his next adventures will be.
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I am joined this week by another wonderful guest. I’m joined by Nate of the YouTube channel Nate’s Adventurous. He is a language coach and also YouTuber. Nate, thanks for joining us. How are you?
Nate: Very good. Thanks for having me. I’m really excited to chat with you today.
Elle: Excellent. Me too. Uh, whereabouts are you joining us from today?
Nate: I am joining you from Los Angeles, California.
Elle: Oh, very, very cool. And how are you guys doing down there in terms of the heat? Are you, were you in that whole heat dome?
Nate: Yeah, it was pretty hot. Um, it’s, it’s still definitely very hot, but not as bad as it was, um, a week ago or so, but yeah.
Elle: Excellent. I guess down there you’re more prepared. Is it mostly air conditioned?
Nate: It is. Yeah, it is. Yeah.
Elle: Good, good. That’s great. That’s much needed in a 40 degree hell hole heat wave that we just had here, so, okay. Good to hear. Um, so Nate, you run the channel Nate’s Adventurous as I mentioned. You focus on Spanish and your story is one thing that jumped out to me when I was reading your bio, you’re a little different from the YouTubers I’ve had on before in that you actually learned a language in high school.
Nate: Right. That’s correct. That is correct.
Elle: Wow, so like you’re in the minority. I would say most people in general and also the YouTubers that I have on are like, no, it didn’t work for me in high school then I went on to find my own methods. So how is it that you learned Spanish in high school?
Nate: Sure. Yeah.
Good question. Very common question. So, you know, it’s funny actually, because like you said, I am definitely in the minority. Um, to be honest, I mean, I can’t speak for everyone here, but I feel like it’s kind of one of those things where, you know, when most of us are in high school, we’re not necessarily interested in actually learning the language when we’re in school, it’s typically I need to meet a requirement or I just need to pass my classes or whatever, so I can go to college kind of thing. So sometimes I feel that, you know, because when people are in high school and they’re like, oh, I just want to pass a class. And that’s it. Um, but also for me, I just, I loved it. You know, I, when I started taking classes, I was like, oh man, this is amazing. I love this. And so I just enjoyed it. And then, because I enjoyed it. I paid attention and then I learned.
Elle: Excellent. It’s as simple as that. Did you have a, did you have a particularly good teacher would you say, or what was it more like you say your, your interest was sparked by the language?
Nate: Definitely a mix of both. Um, you know, I had, I had great teachers throughout high school. Uh, the majority of them were Mexican. Um, just because, you know, LA is very close to Mexico. Um, but yeah, it was definitely a mix of both, um, me taking an interest to it.
And also my good teachers. Also, it’s funny because I don’t know if this applies to me, who knows, but I’m also, I’ve read that, um, a lot of the times, if you’re left-handed, uh, or you play an instrument or something else that can help you learn a language easier. And for me, I’ve grown up playing instruments and I’m left-handed.
So who knows? Maybe I have a little edge.
Elle: Interesting. I haven’t heard that before. Huh. Now I need to ask people when they come on if they’re left-handed or play an instrument just to do my own research. And, um, what, uh, what musical instruments do you play out of interest?
Nate: Guitar, piano, a little ukulele, but mainly the guitar.
Elle: I wonder if people, people listening can comment if they, mostly they are language learners, because they’re listening for that reason, if they play an instrument. Okay.
Um, so tell us about your channel Nate’s Adventures. Obviously the focus is on learning Spanish.
It’s a super fun channel from perusing it myself. I’m not learning Spanish, but I enjoyed especially the video where were you surprised the online teacher with your Spanish. You were fumbling along and then burst out with this perfect Spanish.
Nate: Sure. So I actually started my YouTube channel when I was in high school. I was 17 and I was like, man, it’d be really cool to be, do this YouTube thing. You know? So Nate’s Adventures was born. And at first my channel was just me going around, doing fun stuff, going camping, and going rock climbing. And then one day, this was maybe just over a year ago, I was like, you know, let’s speak Spanish. You know, I feel like making videos about it would be a good way to practice. And I thought to myself, you know, I want to share the language with people and I want to share with people just how cool it is to know another language, whether that’s Spanish or another language.
Um, And yeah, so I wanted to make kind of silly videos. I wanted to make like entertaining videos kind of funny videos, as opposed to the typical like, Hey, like, this is how you learn the predicate tense or here’s the subjunctive mood. Like things like that. You know, the reality is, is less people are going to find that to be interesting or entertaining.
Right. It’s not as fun. So I started making these silly videos, you know, surprising teachers with funny Spanish or, you know, going out and trying different food or hanging out with my friends, speaking Spanish, um, things like that. And then the channel started doing pretty well. Um, especially like the silly teacher videos and videos like that.
Elle: People love that . These are hard times, especially now. Um, so your website, Spanishwithnate.com, you offer Spanish, uh, coaching. What kind of methods would you say you use in your spanish coaching?
Nate: Definitely. Okay.
So good question. Um, I’ve never been asked this before, so this is a good question.
Um, well it depends, it really depends on what the student needs and what their goals are, because I don’t want to teach someone grammar if they just want to go, you know, on a trip to Mexico for a week or two, you know, then we’re going to focus on, you know, simple phrases and things like that, that they can, can have down.
Um, but typically I actually really like teaching grammar. I feel like a lot of times people think that grammar is this horrible thing. Maybe it’s just the word grammar. People are like, ah, that’s scary. Um, but I’ve never understood how you could learn a languageto an intermediate or advanced level without learning some grammar.
Um, you know, I always say you, you know, when you’re learning Spanish, First off, you got to learn the present tense, the preterite tense in the imperfect tense. And then like the informal future is important, but like, if you can get those down, not extremely difficult tenses, you have a, you know, a good amount of the main grammar that’s used.
It’s kind of like the 80/20 rule, you know, learn 20%, most important stuff then you have 80% of the language, right. Um, and then from grammar that comes along with, you know, doing flashcards through, you know, whether it’s Quizzlet or Amki, um, are two great softwares for, for learning vocabulary. And then it’s reinforcing the things you’re learning in a classroom or in a book, or a course, whatever, reinforcing that by going out and speaking with, with native speakers, whether that’s in person or via, you know, an online app like like Tandem or Hello Talk, um, That’s kind of it, really using the language, uh, you know, that’s kinda the best way.
Again, you’re an outlier in that you enjoy grammar. You mentioned in the bio on the website that, um, learning, learning Spanish has changed your life. I mean, of course in that you have this now coaching business and YouTube channel, successful, 50,000 subscribers. Congratulations.
Um, so in what ways has learning Spanish changed your life?
Nate: Yeah, absolutely.
So, yeah, like you said, definitely the business side of it. I would have never expected that. So it’s pretty incredible. And really, yeah, that I can, you know, survive and make some money doing what I love. That’s amazing. Um, Yeah, to be honest with you I cannot imagine my life, what my life would be right now, if I had never learned Spanish, um, because seriously it is such an integral part of my life that like every day something going on in my life is relating to Spanish, especially in these past few years, um, with creating these videos and everything.
Um, but I mean, just the opportunities that it gives you, um, you know, to be able to like travel to Mexico or Spain or wherever, and just chat with the locals, have these deep connections with people. Um, one of the most meaningful things for me and this never gets old for me is meeting a stranger, Spanish as their first language, and, you know, they can speak some English, you chat with them a little bit in English, then you say, oh, you speak Spanish. You speak to them in Spanish. And they just do a 180. They’re a whole new person. That is one of the coolest things to me. Like I always say this in any interview that people do with me.
It’s like, I love the quote by Nelson Mandela, if you speak to a man in a second language, you’re speaking to his mind but if you speak to a man and his first language, you’re speaking to his heart. And it’s cheesy, but it’s so true. It’s like connecting with people on a deep level is like one of the most meaningful, satisfying things i, I feel like I’ve, I’ve find in my life. Um, so yeah, just the relationships I’ve been able to build and the places I’ve been able to travel to. Um, the workout now that I get for my brain in Spanish.
Elle: Yeah, no doubt. Yeah.
You’re, you’re obviously an advanced, um, speaker of Spanish so maybe you just, you just have advanced content in mind when asked this question, but I wonder if you have any book, podcast, movie suggestions for anyone listening, who is interested in studying Spanish or just is looking for a great movie?
Nate: Sure, absolutely. Yeah.
Actually, um, uh, Olly Richards, uh, I’m sure you’re familiar with him. He has some great books in Spanish. Just go “Olly Richards, you know, books in Spanish” whatever. He’s got those good short stories. Um, I just watched this movie called Tell Me When, um, it’s on Netflix. Um, it’s, it’s a beautiful movie it’s set in in Mexico City.
That’s really cool. I love Coco. Coco is my favorite movie in Spanish so…. Go see Coco in Spanish. Please go watch it cause it’s awesome. Um, but yeah, those are my recommendations.
So would you… your life is obviously revolves around knowing Spanish and, um, coaching it. Are you thinking about another language anytime soon? Or are you just all about the Spanish?
Nate: Sure. Well, for me, when it comes to language learning me personally, I don’t want to know a little of a lot of languages. I want to know a few languages at a pretty high level. So obviously I’m already there with Spanish currently, I’m working on Mandarin Chinese. Um, and I’ve been doing okay, much slower process now that I’m kind of in the adult world so to say, you know, I can’t, it’s harder to go to, you know, Spanish or Chinese class, you know, 45 minutes every single day. Um, you know, with everything that’s going on in my life. But, um, Yeah, that is, that is the current language I’m working on right now.
Elle: And will you be using any of the methods, I know it’s, it’s difficult to say because you actually basically became conversational in Spanish, in high school, which was how long ago?
Nate: So I started when I was 14, which is seven years old. Yeah.
Elle: Seven years ago. Okay.
So will you be using any of those same things kind of methods to study Mandarin or is it a whole different thing now?
Nate: Sure. Great question. Um, yeah, you know, me personally, I actually love the classroom setting, um, when it comes to learning a language, uh, being in person with the, with the teacher, because something that I found that helped me a lot when I was learning Spanish was asking a lot of questions.
So, you know, if you’re not sure about something you’re still confused just being able to ask questions constantly is so valuable. Um, but yeah, still I think grammar is so important. I think understanding that is really important. It’s, it’s kind of a mixture. It’s kind of like this base where it’s like build your base off of grammar, then move on to learn new vocabulary and then reinforce the grammar, the vocabulary via speaking with people, listening to audio, you know, watching movies, immersing yourself in the language.
Cool. And will you start making videos about your Mandarin learning journey?
Nate: I don’t know. You know, I’m not at any level close enough to where I think I could. Um, it might be interesting, like you said, do a little journey thing, but I think honestly, um, my channel has kind of become um, primarily Spanish focused and a lot of my viewers come from Latin America and Spain.
Um, so I think my channel will stay primarily Spanish focused. And actually I have, I have an idea where I might create a new channel where I teach people, um, where I’m actually teaching Spanish. Cause right now, You know, entertaining videos, conversations, things like that. I might make another channel and do both, um, you know, Hey, you know, let’s say we’re going to learn 25 great travel phrases from Mexico, or, you know, whatever.
Elle: Right. Okay.
Excellent. In terms of, uh, the channel Nate’s Adventures then you have had some great guests on, um, Steve Kaufmann LingQ co-founder of course. Um, are there any other guests in the works or are there any, is there anyone you would like on?
Nate: Good question. I think it’d be interesting to talk to EIenna. Um, he seems like, yeah, he seems like a really nice guy.
I met him once at this like online language conference. It was awesome. Um, and we got to chat a little bit, but, um, I’ve never really gotten to have like a full in depth conversation with him, but yeah, Ford Quarterman. He’s a pretty good, cool guy. Like watching his videos. Um, he he’s like a gringo guy. He travels around in Mexico.
Makes fun videos. Um, be cool to talk to him. Yeah.
I mean, there’s so many interesting people. I love speaking with people kind of in this space. Cause you know, everyone’s got their unique stories and, and uh, I think it’s cool because in the language learning community, there’s, there’s just like a very strong connection and everyone’s very worldly and it has many cool stories to share.
Elle: Yeah. And it’s such a growing community too, and I’ve spoken about this before, in other episodes, but it blows me away. Every week, every month, it seems to be a new channel popping up. I love it. It used to be that they were very few, um, kind of YouTubers or, you know, known people for the language learning niche community.
So, yeah. That’s very cool.
Nate: Yeah, absolutely.
Elle: And how about for the rest of the year and moving forward for your channel do you have any plans for kind of projects, different videos?
Nate: Definitely. Yeah.
So with regards to my YouTube channel, um, my goal is, so I have one year of college left or uni. I don’t know if that’s what you say in Canada.
Elle: Yeah. I guess… no college I’m from the UK so we say uni. In Canada yeah they say, I guess they say college.
Nate: college or whatever. I’ve got one year left. So my goal is finish school. And then once I’m done, um, if I’m making enough money to be able to just go travel around, I’d love to go to Mexico for a bit, um, and just make fun videos there.
Um, other parts of Latin America. I’ve been to Spain, but who knows? I might go back. Um, I really, I think the, what would be awesome for Nate’s Adventures is to turn it into, um, less of like surprising teachers with perfect Spanish, things like that. Because to be honest, those videos do great.,They get lots of views and they entertain the fun to make.
But a lot of times I feel like a one trick pony and I just get bored of them. So to have like a combination of those kinds of videos with like these fun travel videos, like, Hey, we’re in Mexico City and we’re trying out these really cheap tacos versus real expensive ones, things like that would be super fun.
Elle: Sounds fun. It sounds super fun. And what are you studying in college? Actually, I didn’t ask you.
Nate: I am studying marketing. Yeah.
Well, I mean, so far you’re doing really well with the channel, maybe using those expertise that you’re learning along the way,
um, Nate. Fantastic interview. Thank you for your tips and advice. I want to ask you one last question actually, what would you say to anyone who is thinking about starting a journey, a Spanish language learning journey, and maybe needs confidence or advice?
Nate: Sure, absolutely. Well, just get started. I always say, like I said, you know, I don’t mean to come back to the grammar, but just get yourself like a simple grammar textbook.
You can just go on Amazon, you know, you know, Spanish grammar textbook for beginners, whatever, just so you can get started. And my other piece of advice, it’s cheesy, it’s general, whatever is just enjoy yourself because at the end of the day, Yes, learning Spanish is a journey. It’s a process. Sometimes it’s gonna be harder than others, but at the end of the day, you’re learning the language to do something fun.
Right? You want to enjoy it. You don’t want to hate the process because learning Spanish is not this thing where you can learn it in a month and, you know, speak this beautiful Spanish. Like it takes time. That’s the reality, it’s with anything, you know, it takes time and it takes hard work. Um, but you need to have fun during the journey, because I always tell people, people are like, wow, your Spanish is so good. I’m like, thank you. But I’m still learning. I’m still getting better. It’s kind of, it’s important to have that mindset, you know, immerse yourself, love the language, have fun, um, and be consistent.
Elle: I like that one. I need to take that advice in my language I think for sure.
Well, great advice, Nate. Thank you so much. Best of luck in your final year of college and best of luck moving forward with Spanishwithnate.com and Nate’s Adventures. I’ll pop the links to both of those in the description. And yeah, thank you so much for joining us, Nate. It’s been a great chat.
Nate: Perfect. Yeah.
Thank you, Elle I appreciate all your questions.
Elle: Excellent. Bye-bye.