Linda and I have been at this blogging thing for almost five years now and in that time, we’ve interacted with thousands of current and aspiring expats. We even stay in touch with many of them via email or social media to see how their new life in Mexico is going.
The majority of these expats are from either the U.S. or Canada, and although their reasons for heading to Mexico vary, there is one common goal that most seem to share, and that is to learn Spanish. Some say they would be content with just being conversational, while others say that they will settle for nothing less than being fluent.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the truth is that very few people actually follow through with this one.
Sure most of them start out strong. They download language apps like Duolingo, start binge watching lessons on YouTube, listen to podcasts, and some even sign up for in-person Spanish classes. But much like the majority of people who join a gym on New Year’s Day expecting to be buff in a matter of weeks, when the results don’t come fast enough, they quit.
This brings me to a common question that I get from our readers:
If I Don’t Speak Spanish, How Difficult Is It to Live in Mexico?
Obviously, you would be at a disadvantage not being able to communicate effectively in Spanish; however, the truth is that you can probably get by just fine with minimal Spanish skills if you fall back on a tried-and-true technique utilized by immigrants across the world for centuries…
You move to an area where there is a large population of folks from your home country.
Yep, it’s really that easy. Not only will you have fellow English-speakers to hang out with, you’ll also have a built-in support group to help you learn the ins and outs of your new country.
And, whenever you have to do something that might require some mastery of the local lingo, like opening a bank account or filing a police report, chances are good that someone in your community will be bilingual and willing to help you.
However, if you envision your new life in Mexico with you immersed fully in the Mexican culture, making friends with locals and living far from your compatriots — you better plan on hitting the books.
Let’s Wrap This Up
No matter what anyone tells you, It’s not easy to learn a foreign language, especially as an adult. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t do it.
I think it helps to think of learning Spanish as a continual process where your primary objective each day is to know a little more than you did before. That way you’ll become progressively better at it without burning out or becoming frustrated. Six months or a year down the road, you’ll look back and be amazed at how far you’ve come.
If you’re an absolute beginner, or pretty close to it, you might be interested in our free course to help you get started, Two Expats Mexico’s Spanish Course for Beginners.
We also have a YouTube channel where we post lessons for both beginners and intermediate level students: Learn Spanish with Qroo Paul.
Well, that’s it for today. ¡Qué tengas un excelente día! Hasta luego.