1,000 Days Learning Spanish on Duolingo: Pros, Cons, and Otras Cosas

An ADHDer’s experience, from affordability and app-based learning to gamification and grammar gripes.

Dylan M. Austin


a phone’s messaging app, a speech bubble that says “Qué?” and the 1,000 day learning streak badge from Duolingo

TL;DR: I studied Spanish on Duolingo for 1,000 days in a row.

My language learning experience

As someone who famously has ADHD, I find many aspects of the Duolingo experience conducive to my learning style. It helps keep me consistent, motivated, and accountable for my Spanish-speaking goals.

After ~2.7 years of daily learning, I’ve become more confident and haven’t lost enthusiasm for it. That’s saying a lot since I’ve picked up and dropped many hobbies and skills over the years.

Really, though. You’ll find books on UX design, a Wacom tablet, acrylic paints, camera gear, multiple instruments, and other evidence in my apartment that pursuits come and go, start and stop. It’s just as easy for me to start learning something new as dropping that thing for the next spark of inspiration — especially if the difficulty gets in the way of having fun with it.

Here’s some proof of that:

Current state

Now, if I come across a random social media caption in Spanish, I can read it. I can keep up with SpongeBob and Shrek in Spanish, with captions to help fill in words I don’t know. I can also have short, basic conversations in Spanish with my boyfriend and friend circle who speak Spanish.

1,000 days are not enough (at least at the rate I have been learning) to claim I can speak fluent Spanish on LinkedIn or go on a fully analog, phone-free trip to Mexico. That…



Dylan M. Austin

Copy and content writer in Seattle. Sometimes satirical, sometimes sincere. Run-on mixed metaphor. Gay, autistic dog dad with ADHD (and too many plants).