When we started to consider moving to Mexico, I first wondered do I need to know Spanish to live in Mexico, so I started using Duolingo daily (and still continue). Many years ago, my husband studied Spanish using an audio program as he spent much time on the road. While both methods have been easy to use, we are not close to being fluent.
We were aware when choosing La Paz as our home that it is not an international tourist destination and therefore didn’t have the expectation that English would be spoken. We always remind our visitors to expect that Spanish will be spoken everywhere and that prices are in Pesos (unlike most of the more touristy locations). We do believe that it is important for us to learn Spanish and are constantly trying to learn the language as well as increase our knowledge of the amazing Mexican culture.
Best way to learn Spanish in La Paz
Social Media has been helpful in providing resources to further our Spanish speaking skills. We found a weekly (free!) class at a local church. We also tried an online class, and while the content was great and the instructor excellent, it was difficult due to the connection and response lag time. A private or small group in person instruction is readily available but can be somewhat expensive. There are also at least two good options for Spanish/English conversation groups.
While we found that our skills were not advanced enough for one of the groups (although very welcoming), the other group (at an English School) turned out to be a great match! They invite native English speakers to attend with the goal of their students practicing English in conversation. We have become friends with the two teachers and they constantly assist us in our desire to learn Spanish.
Spanish translators are affordable and readily available for all types of appointments: medical, banking, and government services (residency, driver’s license). We have not utilized a translator for medical services yet, but we did for residency, obtaining our drivers licenses, and nationalizing a vehicle. Our medical and dental appointments to date have been with practitioners that speak English, but I would not hesitate to use a translator if I felt it was needed.
Is Spanish easy to learn
At times I become discouraged that my Spanish skills have not improved to a basic conversational level. While I feel confident in basic vocabulary, putting words together into sentences continues to be a challenge. We do live in a community that is mainly expats, and I wonder if my skills would be better if we chose a more diverse neighborhood. My personal goal is to be less self conscious and more confident in attempting conversations. The resources are here and it is common knowledge that the nationals of our host community appreciate any and all attempts to communicate in Spanish.