I’ve always wanted to learn Spanish – and now I am

I’ve always loved learning different languages.

I took French from junior high (now known as middle school) all the way through college. It was one of my favorite subjects.

Sadly, much of my French knowledge has gone by the wayside, but I’ve always thought about picking it up again.

Likewise, I’ve often regretted not learning Spanish since we have visited far more Spanish-speaking countries in our travels than French-speaking ones.

I have a whole new reason to learn Spanish now that Z is taking it in school; I’d love to be able to offer assistance as needed.

Now, thanks to an awesome little free app called Duolingo, I’m both learning Spanish and re-learning French – all in my free time!

Duolingo is one of the world’s most popular language-learning apps for a reason. It makes learning and re-learning languages truly fun by gamifying the process and really motivating you to keep logging in daily and doing lessons. I’m having a blast getting back to my language-loving roots.

As an English speaker, there are 40 languages to choose from – although one of the criticisms of the app is that there are far fewer language options for non-English speakers.

Another criticism is that the app hounds users to log on daily – but I see that as a plus, not a minus. The friendly reminders have kept me on a 75-day streak so far, and I plan to hit 365!

I know that some have found Duolingo’s gamification features unnecessary or even unnerving but for me, they work. There are a myriad of apps on my phone, but how many are actually teaching me a language, good for my brain health and motivating me to learn something new every day? Only one.

As someone who is notorious for starting new things (think: hobbies, habits, craft projects) but not always seeing them through to completion, I’m a huge fan of Duolingo. Once I complete the Spanish language course, I’ll move on to French and then who knows. Maybe Hawaiian?!

I got Z interested in Duolingo, but she mainly likes to do it with me and hasn’t started it on her own yet. I also got Z’s grandpa into Duolingo since he’s been on a German language kick for several years. He thought it was a great way to learn the written aspects of German since he mainly focuses on conversational German with his German American Club friends.

As for me, I love to travel because I am in awe of this planet and all its amazing people, cultures, lands, waters and experiences. When we travel, I want to eat local foods, shop for local products and, ideally, show respect and appreciation by trying to speak the local language.

Thanks to Duolingo, the next time I visit a Spanish-speaking country, I’ll have the courage and ability to say please and thank you in Spanish. And hopefully, I will be able to say a lot more than that!

Have you ever tried learning a new language as an adult, and did you find it easy or hard? I’d love to hear your language-learning stories in the comments below or over on Facebook or Instagram!

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About the author

Proud and loving midlife mama. Lucky and devoted wife. Dog, cat and snake mom. Travel nut. Natural born writer. PR and social media pro by day - tattoo doula by night.
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