📚 Rededicating to Spanish
As of writing this, I have been studying Spanish for a year and a half. I’m so close to fluency, all I need is one more push!
This journey has been simultaneously one of the most challenging and rewarding activities I have done in my life.
My wife will tell you that I am too hard on myself when it comes to my Spanish. That may be true. I want so bad to be more comfortable with the language. The reality is that I have good days and I have bad days.
Some days I am crushing it! I understand what people are saying to me (for the most part) and I am able to respond in a way that makes sense and that they understand. This made visiting family in Mexico all that more enjoyable. We spoke Spanish, not English – and I loved it!
Other days, I’m terrible. I don’t understand what people are saying to me. I get nervous and “close up”. My mind gets tired, and I can’t keep up with the topic of the conversation. Someone makes a joke and I completely miss it. These days are hard. It makes me feel foolish, and I feel like giving up.
I don’t have overly ambitious goals with Spanish.
I know that many people dream of being completely proficient in another language. And I admit, it would be cool to be like my wife, who has command over Spanish and English.
As great as that would be, my ambitions are far less than that. Ultimately, I want my level to be a very comfortable CEFR B2 (for speaking only).
The CEFR B2 level is considered the first level of fluency in any language. If you are at this level, then you have “upper intermediate” proficiency. That sounds just perfect for me. I don’t care about sounding like a native or advanced sentence structures.
In reality, I don’t even care too much about writing perfectly, either. The only time I write in Spanish is when I am texting with family, and my phone helps out if I get stuck. Ultimately, my goal is to spontaneously interact without too much strain for me or the other person. To understand what people are saying to me 95% of the time.
To get to that level, I will need to work harder than ever.
I’m at a point where I’m pretty good in Spanish. Strangers compliment me, I usually understand the theme of a conversation, and I can crack a joke here or there.
The thing is, I have been in this place for a good majority of this year. My gains in 2020 were far greater, but I also worked harder. This year, I have given myself permission to be lazy. I’ve gotten comfortable with my current level.
To get to a solid B2 though, I need to change my habits. I need to actively study again.
Here is what I am doing:
- Starting 1-on-1 online languages classes again with my teacher (3x per week for 1hr).
- ANKI flash cards for B2 level grammar and vocabulary.
- Reading Spanish books.
- Watching movies & shows in Spanish (with Spanish subtitles).
- Making a point to speak to Lorena more in Spanish.
This was the formula I used last year, and it worked really well. I’ll need to do this for at least four to six months consistently to see the results I desire.
Honestly, I know that I will never really be done with learning Spanish. The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know. I will always be aware of where I can improve.
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