Do you have to live in a Spanish-speaking country to get fluent in Spanish?

Do you have to live in a Spanish-speaking country to get fluent in Spanish?

Do you really have to move to a Spanish-speaking country to learn Spanish? Or is it possible to learn Spanish desde la comodidad de tu casa (from the comfort of your home), maybe even without leaving the house? 

I am Juan from Spring Spanish and you will find out right now if you really need to go abroad to learn Spanish! 

Here’s the dream scenario when you’re abroad learning Spanish:

Hey! You’re the new guy, right? Nice to meet you.

¡Mucho gusto también! No tienes que hablarme en inglés, puedo hablar español.
(Nice to meet you, too! You don’t have to talk to me in English, I can speak Spanish)

Ah, genial. Oye, ¡pronuncias muy bien! ¿Te gustaría venir a comer algo conmigo y mis amigos?
(Oh, cool. Hey, your pronunciation is really good! Would you like to come grab something to eat with me and my friends?)

Sí, ¡me encantaría!
(Yes, I’d love to!)

But unfortunately, here’s what usually happens when you’re in a Spanish-speaking country:

Sí señor, ¿qué le gustaría comer hoy?
(Yes Sir, what would you like to eat today?)

Hola yo quier eh… I’d like to order a salad

Ah, you’re from the United States! I speak English señor, what would you like your salad with?


Yo quiero salir en… a… wait, how was it again?

I think it’s Yo quiero salir a comer. O era comir? Man, Spanish is so difficult!

Yeah, tell me about it. Let’s just speak in English.

If your experience looks more like the second one, then living in a Spanish-speaking country won’t help you at all.

So here’s the deal: if you want to learn Spanish, you have to listen to Spanish a LOT. And just hearing the cashier asking “señor, quiere una bolsa?” (sir, do you want a bag) and the neighbors greeting you in Spanish is nearly not enough to learn anything. You need to listen to hours and hours of dialogue, every week. Si haces eso, vas a aprender cómo entender español y eventualmente hablarlo. (If you do that, you will learn how to understand Spanish and eventually speak it.) 

The advantage is that with the internet, you can do that from the comfort of your home… without having to go to a Spanish-speaking country!

You can get lessons online on YouTube or as online courses – Helloooo we have those at Spring Spanish! And listen to them. We have fully Spanish videos and we have lots of Spanish roleplays and sections in our beginner videos. Tenemos videos con conversaciones acerca de muchos temas diferentes: deportes, política, chunks para despedirte, para dar las gracias, hablar de trabajo o de música. (We have videos with role plays about many different topics: sports, politics, chunks to say goodbye, to say thank you, to talk about work or music.) You won’t want to miss them, so subscribe! 

For extra exposure, you can find many other Spanish resources on the internet such as podcasts, radio and TV. Netflix, Amazon Prime and all the other streaming services out there actually make really good Spanish language shows and movies that you can use to practice with Spanish or English subtitles. ¿Cómo dices? ¿Quieres saber cuáles son mis favoritos? (What are you saying? You want to know which ones are my favorites?) Well okay, then go ask in the comments and I’ll be happy to answer!

Puedes encontrar gente para conversar en internet. (You can find people to chat with online.) Either Spanish speakers that want to learn your native language so you can have a language tandem with them or with Spanish tutors like us and the ones we have in our Spring Spanish Inner Circle. You can join one of our speaking rooms there. Link is in the description. 

Parece increíble que puedas aprender español sin necesitar viajar, ¿no? (Seems incredible that you could learn Spanish without needing to travel, right?) So yeah, you might not need to actually go abroad to get all that exposure to Spanish, you can get it on the internet as well. Gotta love it.

Tip: Primero aprende lo básico y llega hasta un nivel intermedio antes de considerar ir al extranjero (First learn the basics and get to an intermediate level before considering going abroad) because by then you will be able to strike up some conversations and actually start improving. It won’t be overwhelming so you won’t be searching for an escape with other non-Spanish speaking people. Once you are in that bubble of non-Spanish speakers it is hard to get out of there again. You can start with our Spanish lessons for beginners! You’ll find a playlist on our channel page.

So do you need to go abroad to learn Spanish? Spoiler alert: No necesitas hacerlo realmente. (You don’t need to, actually). But I still encourage you to go if you can because you will be more motivated to learn and it’s also just nice to be in the country and hear Spanish all around you.

Also, if you live close to a Spanish-speaking community you are actually already basically there!

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