Learning new languages is a great way to improve your skills. It provides new job opportunities and enriches your cultural baggage, allowing you to access a different cosmovision.
Furthermore, by learning a new language, you are also getting more cultural awareness, because it helps you to understand other people and, thus, get a better insight into your own culture as well.
Spanish is one of the most critical languages in the world. With approximately 500 million native speakers, this language is the world’s second-most spoken native language in the world, after Chinese, and it is the official language in 20 countries.
With those numbers in mind, it is clear that learning Spanish provides countless new opportunities and, at the same time, you can access a massive cultural heritage, aside from allowing you to visit amazing destinations and feel confident while relating with locals.
However, how long does it take to learn Spanish? Is it more difficult than learning Anglo-Saxon-derived languages?
Becoming fluent in Spanish
Answering how long does it take to learn Spanish is not an easy task? First, it is crucial to determine which level of Spanish each person expects to achieve.
For some people, learning just the basics can be enough. However, in most cases, when people start studying a language, they expect to get fluent in it.
Fluency means that you can understand approximately 95% of the everyday language (spoken or written), feel comfortable conversating with natives, and have an easily understood pronunciation.
The method used for achieving these goals significantly affects how long it would take you to get there. Most language specialists agree that the immersive process is the most effective way of learning a new language.
Language immersive learning involves living abroad where Spanish is spoken natively and, at the same time, taking Spanish courses.
For instance, you can learn Spanish Barcelona while enjoying the many attractions the city offers for visitors. Barcelona is one of the most chosen destinations for language tourists who decided to make the best of their language learning experience by living abroad for some time.
When living abroad, you can learn a language from context, which is the most natural way of acquiring a new language. Instead of simulating conversations reading from a book, you will just be forced to practice daily.
Furthermore, when learning from context, you can get a deeper insight into the language because you will experience it first-hand. This learning method is easier, funnier, and faster, but it is also more effective because it is harder to forget what you have learned through your own experience.
Spanish courses for ex-pats
Living in a community where Spanish is spoken natively, it is crucial to learn the language, but taking courses is also necessary.
There are many Spanish schools in Barcelona especially designed for ex-pats. Expanish is one of the more famous Spanish schools in Barcelona.
It was founded in 2006 in Buenos Aires to create a better understanding between cultures and later expanded to Spain, opening a school in Madrid and Barcelona.
Expanish offers different programs, which can be in person or online, along with other valuable services such as accommodations and cultural activities that help students create bonds with peers and locals.
Located at the fancy Dreta de L’Eixample, Barcelona Expanish School offers courses tailored to each student’s needs and expectations.
The Intensive Spanish Immersion Program for small groups provides 30 hours a week of Spanish classes. The program offers grammar-focused classes during the mornings and interactive activities during the afternoon. This schedule is complemented with activities such as flamenco classes, a night out in Barcelona, or other real context experiences during the evenings.
The intensive programs consist of 20 hours per week and are the best option for those looking to become fluent and maybe start a university course or work in Spanish. For long-term studies, some programs can last from six to 12 months. This type of program is the best for experiencing the language in context since you can experience living within the culture.
Private lessons are also available, and they can be combined with group courses. This can be very effective if you need to work on a specific skill and, thus, require a personalized approach. The minimum lessons per week are two, and the class length is flexible, although it requires a minimum of 50 minutes.
Last, if you want to take DELE (Diploma of Spanish as a Foreign Language) or SIELE (Servicio Internacional de Evaluación de la Lengua Española) there are many courses available that are specifically tailored to prepare students for those tests.
Exam preparation courses include private lessons focused on working on the skills you will be asked to demonstrate at the test and evening activities to relax while practicing what you have learned during the day.
Housing and other services
One great thing about studying a language through an immersive method is that schools usually provide a complete service, which includes accommodation and plenty of activities.
By purchasing a school, you can access to share an apartment with other ex-pats students or in a homestay to grasp the Spanish way of living fully. Most accommodations are checked by the school and are located in the city’s best neighborhoods, close to the school, and with access to transportation. Private apartments are also available for those who prefer to have their place.
The school’s social activities provide the perfect opportunity to meet locals and have fun. There are many school activities, such as a welcome meet, extra learning workshops, and cultural plans, such as visiting a museum or taking a flamenco class.
In addition, the school provides city tours and group excursions to visit the highlights of Barcelona while interacting with other students.