Spanish is not the easiest language to learn, but English speakers are in luck - it has been ranked among the most painless languages to learn for Anglophone students. People in Mexico speak very fast, so keeping up can be hard. It has been said to be the second-fastest language in the world! Grammar can be complicated, so the easiest way to learn is to immerse yourself fully in the language. Most people in Mexico will be patient with your broken Spanish and will appreciate the effort, so don’t worry about making a fool of yourself.
How long will it take?
The time it will take for you to learn Spanish depends greatly on your native tongue. Achieving a basic level in order to survive is not hard, but it does depend on the person. If you plan on living in a tourist destination, most people will have at least a basic knowledge of English.
If you completely submerge yourself in the language and culture, you can have the language down in about six months. This will vary depending on where you choose to live. For instance, there are many areas of Mexico where you will be able to get by in English without any difficulties. That being said, it is recommended to learn Spanish, especially for when you have to deal with government offices.
Language requirements vary for job applications. If you plan on working in a Mexican company, for example, it is indispensable to have at least an intermediate knowledge of the language. If it’s an international company, you can start with knowing the basics and working up from there.
Socialization is one of the few things you don’t need to worry too much about. Most people can speak some English or will be very patient with your beginner-level Spanish. There is a large international community in Mexico, so you will feel right at home even if your Spanish is very basic.
Learning Spanish on your own
Listening to the radio and podcasts in Spanish, as well as watching Spanish-language TV, can speed up the learning process. You’ll want to get slang down as fast as you can, since it is used frequently in day-to-day conversations or exchanges. But remember: most of these expressions won’t work in other Spanish-speaking countries.
That said, the Spanish you learn in Mexico will work for you in any other Spanish-speaking country. You may have to adjust some expressions and cultural quirks, but regional differences don’t impede understanding in most cases.
If you’re looking for extra support, Mexico is full of language schools. The presence of an international community has generated demand for language-learning institutions. The price for these language schools varies greatly depending on your specific requirements, so it is worth comparing different prices and offers.
Language exchanges called intercambios are the perfect way to guarantee that you practice your Spanish each week. These work by pairing up with a Spanish person that wants to learn your language. This is also a great way to make new friends. Most universities and language schools either maintain lists of potential Spanish candidates or at least have a bulletin board with postings.