How long did it take you to fully learn to speak Spanish?

When I mean fully, not every word but to understand a full conversation. I’m taking Spanish 3 and I get all the conjugations and stuff but if I ever was in a conversation, I won’t be able to use it…either that or it takes me a while to process it all through my brain. Also I have trouble learning the vocab words.


  1. I can’t exactly tell you how long it took me – a few years maybe, but it helps to be immersed, for example: I only took a beginners Spanish class but I was fully immersed in speaking Spanish when I married a Mexican (he speaks English) and had a nanny from Mexico, who didn’t speak English, plus I worked in a Spanish speaking office. Also I speak Spanish with my in-laws. So if it’s possible to be immersed in a language where you are forced to speak it – it really helps. I also used to speak French and German fluently but because I don’t use these languages daily or hardly ever, and it’s been years since I learned them I have pretty much forgotten how to. One thing i’ve noticed about Spanish is that different Spanish speaking countries have distinct accents so I have trouble understanding Cubans or Spaniards for example since I learned "Mexican" Spanish, so to speak!

  2. I started studying super-young.

    I had a pretty good accent, and I was capable, but I was terrified to open my mouth in class. I was afraid to speak Spanish with the people around me who were natives, afraid I’d make a mistake and be embarrassed.

    Ten years after I started studying Spanish I went to Spain. In two weeks, I could speak pretty well, within a month, I was fluent (enough, though it takes longer to be truly fluent…I lived there all year. I fully recommend taking that long).

    People who had only studied for three years were just as fluent in the same time. My only problem was that my parents wouldn’t uproot the whole family to go live in a Spanish speaking country so I could do it when I was younger!

    Keep plugging away, and then plan to spend a year there…whichever country you can immerse in. Whichever one appeals to you.

    And you’ll get there.

    Remember, nothing worthwhile is easy.


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