When I first arrived in Valencia to teach English in 2009, I had taken 4 weeks of evening class. I think it’s fair to say I didn’t have a clue. When my parents came over to visit me after about a month of living there, I asked someone for directions to a restaurant, and pretended to understand them! We spent about half an hour wondering around getting lost before I gave in and we went somewhere else.
Progress in Spanish was neither quick nor slow, and it certainly wasn’t steady. Week after week, month after month, I carried on doing whatever I could to improve my Spanish. Everyone should find ways of learning that work for them – I memorised verb tables, wrote out hundreds of vocabulary flashcards, read Spanish books, went to Spanish classes, met Spanish speakers for “intercambios”, listened to podcasts, and did whatever I could.
I wasn’t following any particular methodology, just trying to live my new found passion for the language. Maybe I could have learned quicker if I had the latest gizmo app, or if I took approach A over approach B. I didn’t really think about these things. I just had a love for the culture, a love for the language, and a deep desire to learn it. That was all I needed – everything else took care of itself.