Embarking on a journey to learn Spanish opens doors to a rich tapestry of culture, communication, and connection. After all, Spanish is an increasingly important language for business, travel, and community life. It’s possible to start even if you’re a beginner Spanish speaker. You can learn Spanish by joining in-person or online Spanish classes as well as traveling and studying abroad in places where Spanish is widely spoken, such as Costa Rica, Colombia, and, naturally, Spain. Maybe you studied Spanish in the past and now you’re keen to brush up.

Whether you’re just starting to roll your “rr”s or looking to refine your conversational skills, the transition from beginner to intermediate Spanish may seem like a daunting task. Fear not, as this article aims to guide you through the process of learning Spanish with four simple steps that will propel you from basic vocabulary to more nuanced language proficiency. By incorporating these steps into your Spanish learning routine, you’ll not only build a strong foundation but also gain the confidence to navigate the vibrant world of intermediate Spanish.

Along the way, it’s helpful to have a companion on the journey, whether a private instructor, a classmate, or a friend. You may even want to dance the tango.

Understanding how to learn Spanish starts with understanding your level. Do you need a complete Spanish beginner to intermediate course? Are you looking for the best books to learn Spanish for an advanced or beginner Spanish level?  ¡Vamos! (Let’s go!)

A woman saying yes, we can in Spanish.

What level of Spanish is beginner?

The level of Spanish considered “beginner” typically encompasses individuals who have little to no prior knowledge of the language. Ok, so what can a beginner do?

Beginners may be familiar with basic greetings, simple memorized phrases, and everyday vocabulary for objects and actions, but they lack proficiency in grammar, pronunciation, and more complex linguistic structures. However, if you’re an English speaker, cognates and familiar Spanish words give you a leg up!

In language learning frameworks such as the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), beginners are often classified as A1 or A2 level learners. At the A1 level, beginners can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type, while at the A2 level, they can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters.

What is the intermediate level of Spanish?

The intermediate level of Spanish represents a significant step forward from the beginner stage. Intermediate learners have progressed beyond basic vocabulary and phrases to communicate more comfortably in a variety of situations. At this level, individuals can engage in conversations on familiar topics, express opinions, and understand more complex sentences and texts. Rather than repeat memorized phrases, you can make sentences that communicate ideas, even though there will still be plenty of errors or inaccuracies.

In language learning frameworks like the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), intermediate Spanish learners are typically classified as B1 or B2 level.  At the B1 level, intermediate Spanish learners can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. They can deal with most situations likely to arise while traveling in an area where Spanish is spoken, produce simple connected text on topics that are familiar or of personal interest, and describe experiences, events, dreams, hopes, and ambitions, and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans. 

At the B2 level, Spanish learners can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in their field of specialization, interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native Spanishspeakers quite possible without strain for either party, produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects, and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.

4 Simple Steps to Go from Beginner to Intermediate Spanish

Step 1: Build a Strong Foundation to learn Spanish

Like any skill, mastering Spanish requires a solid foundation. Start with the basics: familiarize yourself with essential vocabulary, grammar rules, and pronunciation. Make a habit of practicing regularly, even if it’s just a few minutes each day. Consistency is key to reinforcing what you’ve learned and building upon it over time. 

To maintain this consistency, it can be helpful to enroll in Spanish classes to set a schedule, engage with fellow Spanish learners, and interact with a professional Spanish language instructor. It doesn’t matter if the classes are in-person, which may engage more kinesthetic and interpersonal learning, or online, which may reduce commute time while still offering individualized guidance and group dynamics.

To immerse yourself further, try listening to music with Spanish lyrics, watching movies or TV shows with subtitles, or engaging with native speakers through language exchange platforms. Surrounding yourself with the language in various contexts will help you internalize vocabulary and improve your comprehension skills.

Step 2: Expand Your Vocabulary to learn Spanish Intermediate

As you gain confidence with basic Spanish, focus on expanding your vocabulary and improving your pronunciation. Start by identifying topics or areas of interest that resonate with you, whether it’s food, travel, sports, or literature. 

Create flashcards or use vocabulary apps to learn new words and phrases related to these topics. Incorporate them into your daily conversations, mixing Spanish into your English or other language which you speak. Do written exercises to reinforce your understanding and explore your thoughts in Spanish with journaling or creative writing. How about composing some simple rhyming couplets in Spanish?

Reading is another effective way to broaden your vocabulary. How about a Pablo Neruda poem next to an English translation? Choose materials at a level slightly above your current proficiency to challenge yourself without feeling overwhelmed. Short stories, newspaper articles, and online blogs are all great options for practicing reading comprehension while exposing yourself to new words in context. Online materials content tend to be rich in visuals that offer clues to meaning and cultural context.

Step 3: Practice Speaking and Listening 

Speaking and listening are key aspects of learning Spanish, yet they can be intimidating for beginners. In a new language, face-to-face conversations can be intimidatingly stressful and films can be frustratingly difficult. 

Overcome this hurdle by seeking out simple, short opportunities to practice speaking Spanish with native speakers or fellow learners. How about small talk with staff or fellow customers at restaurants, markets, or community events? Join language exchange groups, attend conversation meetups, or participate in online forums where you can engage in real-life conversations.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes—embracing them as learning opportunities is crucial to progress. Other Spanish speakers don’t care if your grammar is clunky or vocabulary is awkward. It’s the rough idea that counts. 

If you don’t know how to improve your Spanish accent, start by listening. Pay attention to pronunciation, intonation, and rhythm, and mimic native speakers to improve your accent and fluency. Likewise, hone your listening skills by tuning in to podcasts in Spanish, audiobooks, or radio stations. Challenge yourself with content that matches your current proficiency level, gradually increasing the difficulty as you improve.

Step 4: Dive Into Cultural Immersion

Language and culture are intertwined, so immersing yourself in Spanish-speaking cultures is how to learn Spanish most meaningfully and memorably. 

Your immersion adventure could range from a trip to Argentina or Spain to–perhaps more realistically in the short term–attending a local Latino event, such as a festival, concert, or dance. Explore authentic cuisine, music, art, and traditions from Spanish-speaking countries to gain a deeper appreciation for the language and its diverse communities. Local museums often hold a Latino arts festival, night clubs may throw a Latin dance night, and restaurants may host an event related to a Dominican, Mexican, or other Latin holiday.

Additionally, consume art and media in Spanish to further immerse yourself in the language and culture. Watch Spanish-language movies and TV series, read novels and newspapers, and follow Spanish-speaking influencers on social media. Exposing yourself to different accents, dialects, and cultural perspectives will enrich your language skills and help you feel more connected to the global Spanish-speaking community.

Some of the best countries to study Spanish abroad include Spain, for its linguistic purity, proximity to European destinations, and history; Mexico, for its affordability, diverse accents, and proximity to the USA; and Argentina, for its standard Spanish, famous Tango, and rich literary tradition. Additionally, Colombia offers high-quality language programs, a neutral accent, and friendly locals. Costa Rica has become a favorite for vacationing as well for its abundant touristic sights, spectacular beaches and nature, and growing economy. 


Becoming proficient in Spanish is a journey that requires dedication, patience, and continuous practice. By following these four simple steps—building a strong foundation, expanding your vocabulary, practicing speaking and listening, and immersing yourself in culture—you can progress from a beginner to an intermediate level with confidence. Remember, language learning is as much about the journey as it is about reaching your destination, so embrace every opportunity to grow and enjoy the process. ¡Buena suerte!

Related articles about studying Spanish, learning French, taking Portuguese lessons, and more: