South America Living

Travel, Dine, Live… Like A Local


When to Admit You’re Hopeless at Learning a Foreign Language

by Molly McHugh, Former Editor/Publisher of South America Living.     About the Author

Those with next to nil foreign language learning ability grey matter up top unite. Or at least read this blog post and know you´re not alone.

Sigh. Make that a big, heavy ´laden with disgruntlement´ sigh. Don´t like the disgruntlement part? Tough tushies!

Vamos Spanish Academy in Buenos Aires. For Information About Volunteering in Buenos Aires, Click on the Photo.

You would be too if you spent over 8 years in Latin America (Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Uruguay…) and still speak Spanish like a remedial-level 10 year old – not due to lack of effort.

I´ve diligently completed independent study working off a Spanish-English dictionary and private weekly lessons (Xela, Gualtemala) and played with the language in all types of situations such as enrolling my son in school, shopping, meeting native Spanish speakers and trying to converse, etc. Forced to ´play´ as I had no choice other than to try and communicate in Spanish. Did it help? Not much.

The material wasn´t really sinking in so in a fit of optimism (avoiding actually throwing one) I rationalized that I just needed time for the material to sink in. Yeah right and no such luck. A few years later I then took more private lessons (La Paloma, Uruguay) coupled with weekly ´Spanish-only´ nights with other expats trying to become fluent. Fun but not much success with the intended purpose.

New words stick here and there, my pronunciation of what I´ve already encrusted into hardened cranial nerve pathways improves off and on but that´s about it. It makes for being a great tourist and expat, but impossible to have an adult relationship (or conversation) with a Spanish-speaking native – something I have desired on more than a few occassions.

Time to admit more than a rudimentary grasp of the wrasp of mixed-up syllables and foreign-sounding nouns are out of my reach. Take a nap, then head to the beach.

Resources For Spanish Language Learning Online

For those who want to learn to speak Spanish, and hopefully have a bit more aptitude than I, here are a few online resources to help you get started:

Free Spanish Tutorials
All You Need to Start Learning Spanish
Learn Spanish Grammar, Language & Culture
Spanish Language Learning Guide for Students

I wish you the best of luck!

Photograph courtesy of Vamos Spanish Academy, all rights reserved.

2 to “When to Admit You’re Hopeless at Learning a Foreign Language”


  1. Lautaro Lamisovski says:

    Thanks for the info. I went to Vamos Spanish and it was the best experience I ever had!!!!


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