Most organizations measure fluency on the basis of reaching a certain academic level or obtaining a certification. So when the FSI says it takes 1,200 hours to learn Spanish, they’re really talking about passing a Spanish exam.
Even the most popular software and apps use this as a benchmark. Rosetta Stone, Duolingo, and Babbel have all funded their own studies claiming that their app can help you cover the requirements of one college semester of Spanish.
Now there’s nothing wrong with trying to learn Spanish for academic reasons, but there are many people who have passed a test, or have received a Spanish certification, but can’t actually speak Spanish with confidence.
The truth is, the vast majority of people want to learn Spanish for REAL LIFE. They want to speak with and understand REAL PEOPLE, not just fill-in-the-blanks on a test paper.
As you can see, there is a gigantic disconnect between how languages are taught, and the results that people are looking for when they decide to pick up a new language.
So if you want to learn Spanish for the real world, then you should devote as much time as possible to learning via real human interaction.