How I achieved B1 in Spanish in 6 months

Disclaimer: I am a native speaker of Romanian, which is a Romance language. Romanians can learn Italian or Spanish (or even Portuguese!) much easier than somebody who doesn’t speak Romance languages. Fun fact: we can easily understand Italian and Spanish, but Spaniards and Italians cannot understand Romanian at all! This is due to the Slavic influence that our language has.

Spanish is the first language I have learned 100% alone, without any form of tutoring. How did I learn it?

Step 1: The plan

Research on reddit, quora, forums. Bought some online courses and started towards step 2.

Step 2: The basics

  1. Passed through the Newcomer, Beginner (1 + 2) and Pre-intermediate courses on Babbel. Learned some basic expressions and words, revised words previously learned through the SRS system from Babbel. Purchased a one-year subscription (Black Friday special offer).
  2. Listened to Michel Thomas’ Foundation and Advanced modules. A friendly old man. I don’t know how much I remembered, but I’ve clearly enjoyed it.
  3. Listened to all five levels of Pimsleur. Very useful, I learned a lot in 75 hours.
  4. Listened to Linguaphone All Talk. I didn’t learn anything new, but I revised what I knew before. Also, I liked the story of the woman who arrived in Spain for a conference being a little drunk, to realize later that instead of the suitcase with super-secret documents of SnackTrack she took another suitcase.
  5. Listened to Next Steps by Paul Noble. Very similar to Michel Thomas, but a little more efficient.

Step 3: Shadowing

  1. Downloaded Anki, and found how useful and efficient it is. I started using it not only for Spanish, but also to improve my German.
  2. Used Memrise intensely. Being lazy, I didn’t make my own decks (neither for Memrise nor for Anki), but I used some already made.
  3. Made 1400 reps in Glossika. A very underrated resource for its efficiency. The price is a little high (30$/month).
  4. Made a subscription to SpanishPod101, more for fun than for the actual learning. Although I think Pod101 sites are great for learning when you are an absolute beginner, I was already approaching B1. Now I use SpanishPod101 quite rarely, I think Glossika and Anki help me more.

Step 4: Bragging

  1. Bragged in front of friends and family with my knowledge of Spanish. They don’t seem very impressed, but I’m not interested. I am pleased with myself.
  2. Looked for a DELE / SIELE exam center in the city where I live. Found. Closed because of coronavirus. Fuck.

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