Our detailed guide covering best practices for learning Spanish using the Babbel language app, as well as answering all your questions
In the world of language learning, Spanish is by far the most commonly studied second language for English speakers. Given its prominence in both South and Central America, as well as Western Europe, it is a super popular choice for learning a second language. And one of the commonly chosen tools to learn Spanish is Babbel. Yet before diving in, people often have questions about how long it takes to learn Spanish using the Babbel app. As someone who has used Babbel Spanish extensively, let me break it down for you.
How Many Minutes Per Day Should You Study Spanish?
The amount of time you need to dedicate to your studies with Babbel will vary depending on several factors. The first and most important question is, how quickly do you want to become fluent in the language?
Those who are learning for an urgent need, such as a move or work relocation, will likely want to spend a few hours each day practicing. Dedicate as much time as you need.
If you’re not in a rush though, I recommend using the Babbel app 30 minutes per day, five days a week. This will help you to create a routine, as well as help your brain retain the information you’re learning.
Any less than 30 minutes and you’re likely not getting enough exposure to the Spanish language to make it really worthwhile. Anymore than 30 minutes and you may be pushing yourself too hard unnecessarily. It’s all about consistency, not volume.
The other major factor in this equation is your desired level of fluency. If you’re going for a more advanced level of fluency and the ability to carry on more complex conversations, stick with the 30 minute per day recommendation from above (at a minimum).
If, however, you just want to learn some basic Spanish (enough to “get by” as they say), then you can do as little as a couple lessons per week and you’ll still achieve that in a short timeframe.
How Many Hours Does It Take To Learn Spanish Using Babbel?
The good news is that Spanish is one of the easiest languages to learn for native English speakers. That being said, it still takes time.
The Foreign Service Institute suggests a timeline of 24 weeks, or about 600 class hours, for full fluency in the language. This more or less aligns with my experience.
I have tutored Spanish students for years and that is generally what I have found as well. Some students who are naturally bright and pick up language quickly might only take 400 hours. Yet others, for whom language learning doesn’t come as naturally, might take closer to 1,000 total hours. It really varies.
If you just need conversational skills, you could learn those in a matter of a few weeks. Obviously, if you want full fluency to the level of native speech, or you don’t have as much free time, it could take longer.
Now, in the context of the using the Babbel app, these numbers generally hold true. If you’re looking to achieve an intermediate level of fluency (perhaps B1 or B2 level, which Babbel is generally built for), plan to log around 300-400 hours.
I think if you commit a few hundred hours to Babbel Spanish, you’ll be able to hold your own conversationally in social settings.
How Long Does It Take To Complete The Babbel Spanish Course?
The core lesson work in the Babbel Spanish course takes 275 hours to complete. However, that figure is of course based on working directly through lessons at a normalized pace. If you repeat lessons, take your time to better understand individual exercises within lessons, or do any of the extracurricular practice offered through the Babbel platform, it will take longer.
In theory, it could take you twice that amount of suggested time (500+ hours) if you spend your time working through all of the content in the app and repeating important lessons. How long this will take you to complete on a calendar basis will turn on how much you study each day.
In my experience, I would mentally prepare to spend at least 12 to 18 months working through the entire Spanish app from Babbel. This depends on your availability, level of fluency needed, and so forth, but don’t think you’re finishing this course in just a couple short months. Not by a long shot.
Tips For Learning Spanish with Babbel
In order to succeed in learning Spanish with Babbel, it’s best if you learn some tips and tricks to help you along the way. Language learning is a challenge, but it’s not impossible. Far from. Here are some best practices to help:
Focus on Learning: Babbel, like many apps today, uses gamification to help users. Playing games is fun, but make sure that you’re taking the lessons to heart and not getting stuck in the competition. Don’t just repeat phrases and move on. Take time to think through and absorb the material.
Take Notes: There’s still a place for notetaking, even in today’s fast-paced, highly digital world. Even if you use your computer, make sure that you write down words you want to look up, things you struggle with, etc.
Immerse Yourself: The best way to learn a language is through full immersion. You probably can’t pick up and move to a Spanish speaking country (yet), but take advantage of all the virtual immersion options in addition to Babbel (books, movies, media, and so forth).
Set Realistic Goals: There’s nothing worse than setting yourself up to fail when you’re learning something new. Set goals that are realistic that will help keep you on track when you are learning Spanish with Babbel. You’re not going to be fluent in Spanish and understanding telenovelas within weeks. Give yourself grace.
Set a Schedule: You can’t learn a language (or anything, for that matter) by haphazardly sitting down to it whenever the mood strikes. You need to create a schedule that includes time with Babbel each day (or every other day), and make sure that you stick to it. Consistency is key.
With these tips, you’ll be much more successful in your Spanish learning journey. And if you want a faster and easier journey, don’t forget to supplement your Babbel training.
Best Ways To Supplement The Spanish Language Learning Process
Babbel is just one of many language learning resources available in your toolbox to help you learn Spanish. In fact, it’s highly recommended you combine Babbel with other tools. If you want to supplement your journey, you can consider:
- Watching movies, shows, and streaming content (Netflix has some great Spanish content)
- Reading children’s books (don’t be embarrassed)
- Listening to Spanish language podcasts
- Listen to Spanish music and read the lyrics (Spotify is great for this)
- Use technology, like other language apps, translators, and even pronunciation apps to help you master your skill
The best approach to learning Spanish is an ultra-immersive, comprehensive learning setup. Babbel Spanish is a great app, which I have given very high marks to in our Babbel Spanish review, but don’t think it has to be your only means of learning.
The Babbel Spanish app costs roughly $6 to $14 per month, depending on which plan you opt for. The longer the prepaid plan you select, the cheaper it gets on a monthly basis. Babbel Spanish is fairly affordable all things considered though.
How long it will take you to learn Spanish with Babbel obviously turns on a few factors, like your daily time commitment to studying and level of fluency desired, but I would plan on spending around 400 hours in total to complete the full Babbel program and all ancillary tasks. They say 275 hours, but with lesson repeats and moving methodically through material, it is longer in my experience.
Hundreds. I don’t know the exact number, but given that a typical Babbel Spanish lesson takes 15 minutes to complete, and there are 275 hours worth of lessons in the course, there were several hundred individual lessons to complete.
I really enjoyed my experience with Babel Spanish and think it is a very effective language app for learning Spanish. The drills are comprehensive and fast-moving, which I really liked.
Not directly. Babbel teaches a pretty standard form of Spanish. Basically, they teach generic Spanish, but make specific callouts in lessons for differences between Latin American Spanish and Castilian Spanish (Spanish as spoken in Spain). The course is sort of one size fits all, with divergences noted for regional dialects.