Hi there, I write this article to motivate you if you are learning a new language. I know that, in the beginning, this activity can be an overwhelming and a little scary task, but it doesn't have to be that way.
Let me briefly tell you my experience and maybe you will identify with it. All my life I attended conventional schools, although in the system where I studied, English was implemented until university, so I was studying that language throughout the university with a conventional program, books, grammar rules, and a writing system. During those 5 years, my grammar was very good, I could solve all the exercises in the books and I knew all the grammatical structures, and I was very proud of it.
However, my ability to speak in another language was almost nil, I couldn't understand any song in English, not even movies, and when a foreigner talked to me in the street, I didn't understand anything. Therefore, I always thought it would be impossible for me to learn English.
Sometime later, I promised myself to learn English once and for all. At first, I did not know-how. I enrolled in a private English school and it helped me a lot at the beginning, but it was expensive, and they also followed a conventional program but a little more focused on speaking. Which helped me a lot to have at least a sufficient level to be able to express basic ideas.
Then I met online tools like verbling, italki. I talk to many polyglots and practice a lot of my ability to speak in another language and based on that and the knowledge of the tutors I found, I can briefly say that learning another language is divided into 3 stages
The most difficult one, Input
At this stage, which should last approximately 2 to 4 months, you should consume all the content in your daily life in Spanish, so that your brain gets used to understanding new things and adapting to the language you are learning. Change the language of your phone, computer, television, social networks to the language you want to learn. That is, your whole environment will be in that new language.
For the listening part, I used a software called Pimsleur that is a series of recordings of conversations between natives and at the end of each conversation, you understand it perfectly. This software can take you from basic to intermediate level. However, you can also have private tutoring either online or in person with native tutors to develop the grammar part of language and listening. Since the focus will be on listening mostly. The goal of this part of the process is that you can understand a native as quickly as possible, and by changing your environment and practicing daily with Pimsleur, you can achieve it very quickly.
In the beginning, it can be frustrating since you will not understand much, but you have to have perseverance and discipline when you do not understand a word, goggle or investigate it, so that you do not give up at this stage since it is the most difficult.
Believe me, after a couple of months, you will totally master the use of the cell phone, the computer in that language you want.
I also highly recommend that you start watching YouTube series or channels that you like, in the language you are learning, but something very important at this stage is that this series is something that really catches your attention so that you keep full attention. You can start by watching it with subtitles in your native language, but little by little, you have to change those subtitles to the language you are learning.
Once your listening has improved thanks to these recommendations, it is time to put everything into practice and start talking. This stage should take you another 2 to 4 months. The free path would be to have a learning partner. My recommendation is to have a partner only for texts, and another only to speak; The easiest place to find a partner is Italki. The only disadvantage is that many times people start this very motivated and after weeks they are not interested in continuing to learn, and you need to find another partner, but hey, it was free.
The second option and the one I recommend the most because it worked for me, is to continue practicing your listening by watching YouTube videos a lot. But now you will add the advice of a private tutor once or twice a week to practice your speaking, I highly recommend this option because a native will be correcting your mistakes and will let you know if your speaking sounds natural or not.
Some sites to achieve this are verbling, Dutongui, italki and many others, but in those sites, the average cost per hour is $10 USD, which is a fairly fair price since you are saving years by practicing with a native.
The last stage, Refinement
At this stage, it is a combination of the previous 2, but now you have to go into different topics in order to obtain a vocabulary not only good but extensive, regardless of the topic being discussed.
I recommend that you now include the ability to write and have a private tutor to review it, since when we write the brain performs the creation of ideas just like when we are talking, therefore, this part is crucial to have a level advanced.
Well, those are my tips to learn a language in less than 9 months, I hope you carry them out because for me they have been very useful in learning English.
If you have any questions or need my advice to learn Spanish, please send me a message.