Progress Spanish

How I learned to speak Spanish in 2020

This year, I went from knowing a few basic phrases to being able to have meaningful conversations. I’m still learning. I still make mistakes. Though, the world of Spanish is more colorful than ever before. This is how I took my Spanish level from beginner to intermediate in one year without the help of expensive college courses or textbooks.

  1. I stayed motivated. 

Firstly, I maintained genuine motivation and interest in the language and the people who speak this language. Learning any language as an adult is a  huge challenge. If you keep your motivation levels high you will have an easier time committing to studying and practicing the language. My motivation derives from the desire that I have to speak with Spanish speakers, learn about other cultures,  and travel to other countries. Personally, I feel a stronger connection to the world when I learn languages and it keeps me motivated. 

  1. I set goals.

Secondly, I set goals. At the beginning of the year when it was time to select a new year’s resolution, I chose to learn to speak Spanish for 2020. I wanted to see how much I can learn on my own in one full year. I looked  at college programs but they were simply too expensive. I definitely did not want to wait for the perfect time or enough money… so I simply decided to start with the resources that I could afford.  

3. I created an immersive environment. 

Thirdly, I immersed myself in the language. Spanish is not a language that I naturally have in my life on a daily basis. No one in my family speaks it and I’m not surrounded by Spanish speakers. Therefore, I had to make a real effort to have more Spanish in my life. I listened to Spanish music, podcasts, and I watched telenovelas. I watched a ton of Youtube videos by Spanish speakers from exercise classes to cooking lessons and DIY tutorials. 

4. I used a variety of resources.

Fourth, I used a variety of resources. I used so many different resources including the Rocket Spanish program, Spanishpod101, Italki, books, Duolingo and many more. I used many resources throughout the year so that way I never felt bored or stuck with one way of learning. I often rotate the resources that I used from week to week.

5. I practiced weekly. 

Fifth, I practiced with native speakers weekly.  I met native speakers online from apps like Hellotalk and Italki. There are language exchange apps that connect you to Spanish speakers who are learning English and are willing to help you with Spanish. I have a few friends that I talk with once a week in Spanish and in English. I found that video calls were more effective for me. When I see someone speak I can understand them better and I feel increasingly present in the conversation. Nowadays, I try to have at least one solid conversation per week. 

6. I studied daily. 

Lastly, I was consistent. I know myself and I know if I stopped studying for awhile it would be difficult to start again. I am dedicated to learning Spanish on a daily basis because I want to keep Spanish in my mind and in my life. Today marks the 358th day in a row of studying Spanish. Some days I spent 10 minutes studying Spanish and other days I spent hours. What matters the most to me is that I stuck with it.

The most important factors of my progress was staying motivated, staying consistent, and practicing speaking with people who genuinely want to help me. Luckily, I’ve come across many individuals who are patient and genuinely want to help. They’re wonderful mentors and I’m truly thankful for their encouragement and support.

Siempre aprendiendo,

Rosa Janelle

Image by papagnoc from Pixabay Valencia, Spain.

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