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How Much Spanish Can You Learn Taking College Courses?

I just began prereqs this semester and will be taking them for the next two years, then entering my school's nursing program. I have time to take all four Spanish classes the school offers. They are Beginner's 1 & 2, and Intermediate 1 & 2. I have a personal goal to become semi-fluent at some point. There is a high population of Spanish speaking people in our area and there are many jobs with "Bilingual a plus" in the description. Also a friend that is a new nurse at our local hospital said there are many Spanish speaking patients that she can barely communicate with without an interpreter. Could someone who has gone through Spanish classes tell me how well they could actually speak it outside the controlled classroom dialogue? I will be spending about $1,000 to take these extra classes, plus my valuable study time, so I want to hear that it is a good investment (or not).

To those who have learned another language, I would love some tips! I have tried roping my kids in to learning Spanish with me, but they quickly lose interest. I do try to practice what I've learned on my own on them.

Thank you, very much!

The ability to speak Spanish is such a useful attribute. Only attending class though, will not make you a fluent Spanish speaker. The only way to do that is to practice, practice, practice. Immerse yourself in it -- listen to Spanish music, read Spanish books, talk with native Spanish speakers every chance you can get. You'll find that what you learn in class is different from the real world, just as it is with English classes. We learn to speak with perfect grammar but that doesn't mean we all use it. ;)


Specializes in NeuroICU/SICU/MICU.

I took Spanish in middle school, honors Spanish in High school, and minored in it my first time around in college. I (if I say so myself) have extreme aptitude in learning new languages, and even with that, I'm only semi-fluent. I can get by with patients, and ask pertinent assessment questions, and hold a conversation, but if I need to get something very important across, I need an interpreter. For real fluency, you really need to immerse yourself in it, and spend time in a Spanish-speaking country.


Specializes in Home Care.

I've taken spanish classes in the past, my experience is that if you don't use it, you lose it.

I have a few spanish speaking friends from different regions, each has a style of speaking with different accents, slang or usage of words. Its like the difference between the way Americans, Aussies, Brits and South Africans speak english.

I'm slowly learning spanish through my friends, I can understand far more than I can speak and I'm pretty good at reading it. I have this one guy that texts me in only in spanish so I have to translate it...hard when he spells something wrong LOL

I think I'd go with something like Rosetta Stone to learn it and then practice with a native spanish speaker. Hmmm...sounds like a good plan for me after this semester since I have the summer off.

JBudd, MSN

Specializes in Trauma, Teaching. Has 39 years experience.

It depends on how seriously you take it, and how much effort you put in. I took Spanish from 7th to 11th grade, no college. I can speak fairly well, enough to get basic histories and do discharge instructions (do not consider myself fluent). If you want to learn it, you can... practicing is the biggest part.

For real fluency, you really need to immerse yourself in it, and spend time in a Spanish-speaking country.

Sounds like a good way to justify a vacation to Mexico ;)

Thank you very much for the replies...so true about if you don't use it, you lose it.

I think that taking these classes would be good. It will help you get the basics down. I was born here (USA) but my mother and father only speak Spanish so I only knew Spanish for pre-k to 3rd grade. Although all i speak at home is spanish, i still feel like i'm far from being totally fluent.

is it hard to learn spanish??? thanks...

not if you study hard enough by having conversations with other spanish speaking people (repetition++++, exposure). Make little sticky notes in spanish and place them around your house/dorm/room so that you can start familarizing yourself with the items names in spanish. if you get the opportunity to visit mexico as an educational program (not vacation) it would be a benefit.

thanks for the reply message... i think i'll start learning spanish language... ^_^

Hey there, my first major was Spanish (I'm going back to school to become a nurse).

The best advice I can give you (other than to study hard and practice) is to watch movies in Spanish and read books in Spanish. A lifesaver for me was watching movies I had already seen, but only watching them in Spanish. After I got the hang of it, I started watching movies I had never seen that were dubbed in Spanish. Also, I started reading books that I had already read (namely, Harry Potter, haha) in Spanish as well.

Unfortunately, if you don't use it, you lose it is SO true! Ever since I graduated, there have been few opportunities to use my Spanish... I feel dumber everyday having to look up words that I used to know off the top of my head! So, practice!

Lennonninja, MSN, APRN, NP

Specializes in MICU - CCRN, IR, Vascular Surgery. Has 9 years experience.

Any time that you can spend learning Spanish is never going to be wasted, unless you don't practice it outside of class as well. I took Spanish though middle school, high school and majored in it in college and I wouldn't consider myself completely fluent, but I'm getting pretty close. Close enough that I feel comfortable mentioning it on my resume and at clinicals. I've actually gotten to use it twice in clinical already this semester!

I think you should check out the Rosetta Stone website. I am planning on learning Spanish also and we are going to get Rosetta Stone for our whole family to use. You can get the full set for less than $1000 or you can purchase the sections separately for about $229 each. I took Spanish for a couple of years in hs and I don't remember much. What is different about RS is that it teaches you in the same way that you learned your native language. Most language classes teach you to translate from your language to the language you are learning and all that does is add in an extra step/extra time. Using RS and finding Spanish speakers to converse with would probably be your best bet. I live in SW Florida and being fluent in Spanish will definitely help me get a job. I'm hoping to start NS in May and I'm going to start with RS then too. Good luck!

Thanks, everyone, very much! I am looking forward to my first class this summer. I work with a few Spanish speaking people, so I do need to get the nerve up to ask them to let me practice on them.

I have a program I really like which has given me a great start, called Visual Link. If anyone is interested, they have free demo lessons online at learnspanishtoday.com


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