Can I Learn Spanish By Myself?: Mistakes I Made When I Went Solo

“Can I learn Spanish by myself?”

This is a question that bubbles up with hope and a sprinkle of doubt. 

Is it really possible to navigate the vast world of language solo, without traditional classrooms or formal teachers?

The answer is yes!

You can learn Spanish by yourself!

In fact, this is my favorite way to learn languages, but here’s the crucial bit: there’s a catch. 

Learning solo is empowering, but only if you don’t waste your time doing the wrong things. 

Today, I’m here to share my personal journey of learning English solo.

(Yes, I’m a Spanish native speaker who learned English effectively)

I’ve been there, made my fair share of mistakes, and figured out the most effective strategies all on my own.

 My goal? 

To guide you through the maze of learning Spanish, highlighting the pitfalls to avoid and the powerful techniques to emulate in your Spanish learning journey. 

Get ready to turbocharge your language-learning adventure!

Learning Spanish By Yourself Is The Best Way To Learn The Language 

Woman jumping on lonely road

During my English learning journey, I found out that I had spent years studying the language. 

Yes, I was good at English in school.

I was able to pass all the tests and do my textbook homework, but I couldn’t hold a conversation with native speakers or understand a movie in English.

I remember thinking:

“There has to be a better way. Either something’s up with me, or perhaps the traditional school methods are missing the mark.

So, I took matters into my own hands and hit the virtual books, scouring the internet for resources.

Back in the day, online language learning tools were scarce. 

There were a few YouTube channels and blogs, but they often felt like repetitive echoes of what schools were already doing.

  • Endless grammar analysis
  • Vocabulary lists, 
  • And the classic mantra, “Keep practicing until you make it.”

But then I stumbled upon a game-changer: AJ Hoge. 

AJ, despite being a teacher, urged his students to own their language learning journey, emphasizing personal effort over relying solely on teachers. 

What caught my attention was that he didn’t offer conventional online lessons. 

Instead, he provided self-guided courses and a stream of valuable advice on optimizing your learning experience.

Fast Forward To My Twenties…

At this point, I had taken two courses by AJ Hoge.

And guess what…

Fluent conversations with English speakers became a breeze. 

I could understand everything, and diving into English movies and various content became an enjoyable pastime.

Heck, I even got a job in a call center and even became an English and Spanish teacher for foreign students!

So, why am I sharing this with you? 

Because there’s a world of language learning out there beyond classrooms, waiting for you to explore, but honestly:

The only way to get there is by taking matters seriously, and whenever you ask yourself this question:

“Can I learn Spanish on my own?”

You have to reply with a solid and well-founded:

¡Sí! (Yes).  

But let me explain in a little more detail what exactly changed in me so that I could learn to speak English.

This Is What I Did Differently

Stormtrooper walking the opposite side the army is walking

Essentially, what changed when I wanted to learn English on my own was the approach I was taking to learn the language.

Back in my school lessons, I was told to memorize grammar rules and vocabulary words. I was forced to speak with other students who didn’t speak English well.

It was basically an analysis of the language all the time.

What I did differently was to get myself into the language completely.

So, besides AJ’s courses, which, by the way, were all designed to be listening courses, I would immerse myself in:

  • TV shows in English.
  • Movies. 
  • Reading books in English
  • Listening to podcasts in English.

And in general diving into anything where I had to listen to the language and try to imitate the speakers.

Related: 10 Unusual Websites With Fascinating Spanish Articles To Read So That You Immerse Yourself In The Language

Of course, there were more specific techniques to learn, like the most powerful way to learn grammar that AJ taught me:

Listening to one story written in different tenses.

In other words, the same story told in:

  • The past tense
  • The present
  • And the future tense

I didn’t have a personal teacher who was guiding me or pushing me to do all this on a one-to-one live lesson, yet my progress was astonishing.

All those activities combined got me incredible results, to the point that my Spanish accent was removed from my English speaking.

These results led me to pass for an English native speaker.

Now, my intention here isn’t to brag, but after all the effort I put into learning this language, that’s such a rewarding feeling for me. 

And I’m mentioning my story just to respond to your question:

Can I learn Spanish by Myself?

Absolutely yes!

I can’t say that my journey was a completely happy story.

Honestly, there was a huge roadblock that kept me from making faster progress:

Perfectionism and lack of discipline.

I was a victim of one of our current world’s worst “silent teachings”: 

Get quick results with no effort.

It’s not like this for language learning, it never works that way. 

For example, after a while of listening to AJ’s stories, I would push myself to watch a movie in full English without any subtitles.

By this time, I had a lot of contact with English native speakers, and I could communicate with them very easily.

Yet since I couldn’t understand movies 100%, I would feel frustrated, and negative thoughts would get over my mind.

  • “I’m not good for languages” 
  • “All this effort for nothing”
  • “This is impossible”
  • “Something’s wrong with me”

But those were just lies I was telling myself! It was just a natural learning process! 

Looking back, that was a super immature way to measure my progress.

Honestly, the difference was huge when comparing the time I had spent studying the language in school with the time I had been doing it on my own.

Unfortunately, perfectionism was blinding me and keeping me from appreciating my achievements.

And when this happened, I would stop studying the language for days, and sometimes weeks…

Discipline Plus The Right Approach Equals The Perfect Recipe To Learn On By Yourself 

The other thing that was blocking my progress to learn English faster, was my lack of discipline.

But you know what? I’ve realized something important… 

Those moments of confusion and frustration? They’re just part of the journey as well! 

If I had pushed through those tough times instead of giving up for days or weeks, I bet I would’ve learned English way faster.

Consistency, my friend, is the real MVP in language learning. 

It’s like meeting up with a friend.

The more you hang out, the stronger your bond becomes.

Learning Spanish, or any language, is no different. Make it a part of your daily life, weave it into your routine, and watch the magic happen.

Sure, you need the right approach, but here’s the key: 

Do it daily! 

Trust me, the results won’t just be in your knowledge, but in your fluency and your ability to have smooth conversations. 

And guess what? It won’t take years – just a few months of daily practice.

I’ve been there, done that, and now I’m speaking fluently. And I’m confident it’ll work for you too, with your Spanish journey. 

So, take this advice to heart and watch your language skills soar! 

Related: 10 Bad habits that will kill your Spanish forever

Now, I know it is not the same to learn as a total beginner than if you already know The basics of Spanish.

So let’s break down these two stages of language learning, and let me tell you what you need to do to learn on your own, mi amigo.

Can I Learn Spanish By Myself As A Beginner? 

I’m a big fan of alternative methods, and I’m convinced that you can become fluent in any language without delving into all those grammar rules and traditional lessons, just like a child does.

Related: How do Spanish-speaking Children learn to speak? (and how you can do the same to learn Spanish)

You see, our brains are wired to pick up languages, but sometimes we hold ourselves back with limiting beliefs and old-fashioned ideas. 

So, for beginners, here’s what I recommend: Try looking for a TPR Spanish course.

TPR, by the way… stands for Total Physical Response, and it’s a method developed by Professor James Asher.

I knew about this method through AJ’s courses as well, so thanks again AJ!

TPR is all about learning through physical actions. Research has shown that people learn faster and remember more when they use this method.

Now, I haven’t come across any great TPR Spanish courses online myself. 

And if you know of one, please share it in the comments – I’d love to hear about it!

But hey, if TPR isn’t readily available, don’t worry. 

My next suggestion is to find a course that gives you a solid foundation in Spanish. 

  • Stick with it, complete the course
  • And then break free from traditional school-style learning.

Some courses even make learning fun and effective by using stories. 

One of my favorites is the Spanish Uncovered Course, which teaches the language through storytelling.

You may see more info about it in my resources page:

Resources To Learn Spanish

I’ve tried it before, and in my opinion, it’s the best resource for total beginners out there right now.

Can I Learn Spanish By Myself If I Already Know The Basics? 

If you’ve got the basics down, guess what? You’re all set to dive headfirst into the amazing world of language learning! 

The internet is your playground, and there’s so much waiting for you.

Seriously, you can do wonders! Think about your interests – now imagine immersing yourself in those topics in Spanish. 

That’s the magic of learning through what you love.

I get it, though…

Sometimes, it feels overwhelming, and a little structure can be a lifesaver. Here’s my golden tip: 

Focus on listening. 

It forms the foundation of fluent speaking and helps you grasp natural conversations.

And hey, if you need some resources, go for anything that teaches through stories. 

Skip the grammar overload – it’s not your best buddy in this language-learning journey!

For instance, you could explore my own Spanish stories (yep, shameless plug there!). 

Also, there are awesome apps like LingQ that revolve around engaging stories. 

I even did a review of LingQ a while back – you can check it in the following link if you’re interested.

Related: LingQ 5.0 Review: Is It Still Worth Your Time & Money?

Will You Make It By Yourself?

man and woman looking at the ocean as they celebrate graduation

As we’re to wrap up this blog post I want to say one thing to you, mis amigos: 

Congratulations on embarking on this remarkable journey of self-discovery and language mastery! 

Through this blog post, I’ve shared my odyssey, filled with challenges, triumphs, and invaluable lessons.

Remember that pivotal moment at age 16 when I felt lost amidst textbooks and exercises, questioning my ability to truly grasp English? 

That uncertainty resonates with many language learners, perhaps even with you. But here’s the revelation: 

You’re never alone in this pursuit.

The question echoing in the hearts of learners worldwide is: 

“Can I learn Spanish by myself?” And my resounding answer, based on experience and passion, is an empowering “Yes, you can!”


Learning a language solo is not just a possibility.

It’s a thrilling adventure waiting to unfold. 

Yet, here’s the challenge:

It’s not merely about the destination

It’s about the journey itself. 

As you venture into the world of language learning, armed with dedication and the right tools, remember this: 

Discipline and consistency are your trusted companions. 

The path might get tough…

You might face moments of frustration and confusion, but trust me, these are the very building blocks of your success story.

Through my English learning journey, I discovered that the key to fluency lies in:

  • Listening
  • Practicing
  • And embracing the language in its natural form. 

It’s about making language a part of your daily life, integrating it seamlessly into your routine until it becomes second nature.

Remember, if you’re just getting started, consider alternative methods like Total Physical Response (TPR) Spanish courses or learn Spanish through stories.

To all the learners out there, whether you’re taking your first steps or building on a solid foundation, I want you to know this: 

You have the power within you to learn Spanish, or any language, independently. 

Just let your passion drive you forward!

Diego Cuadros is a blogger and a Spanish online teacher. He uses stories to help Spanish lovers understand fast-speaking native speakers, so they don't freeze and panic in conversations.

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