Not Quite Fluent

Personal update… goals and beyond!

Hey everyone! It’s time for my first personal update. I’ll be sharing some of my goals for this coming school year and give an update about how my summer language learning went… hopefully you can learn something from me about what not to do. (very ominous…read on!)

First things first, I have to share about…

This Summer… In the beginning of May, I set out on an Italian mission to get to a B1 level in three months. By the end of July, I wanted to be able to have proficient organic conversations in Italian. That goal pretty much fell apart over the course of the summer though. Up to my neck in summer math, reading, and Christian studies, I dropped the ball in terms of language. Instead of a three month intensive study, I spent a very productive thirty days in May, but slipped into a once a week study at the start of June. Because of that, I only developed a few skills. I can read and write at a B1 level, even though it takes a while. But my speaking and listening… well, those were the two skills that fell through the cracks. I learned the value of conversation from day one, something which I didn’t really put much importance on. If I would have packed that first month with real life speaking, it would have motivated me to keep it up to be able to talk to my friends. But alas, I didn’t, so now all I can do is write about Italy’s education system. But if that’s your goal, ignoring conversation is a great idea! XD Okay, enough negativity about my Italian challenge fail. What’s up next?

School Goals: Chinese I will be a freshman in high school this year (an old fart, I know) so of course I have to plan for my first year of high school. The way my schedule worked out, I will finish all five Spanish courses by my junior year! So that means I get a wide open language bell for my senior year, which can only mean one thing… Mandarin Chinese! My long term high school goal for Chinese is to be able to take Chinese IV as my senior language elective. I could wait to start studying Chinese until my senior year and get stuck in a freshman Chinese I class, but I prefer the challenge. It’s actually super exciting because, for once, I will have to take a test to prove my language skills. I’ll have to test out of the first three years, which is awesome motivation. So that means this school year for Chinese I need to finish at least year one of high school. I have a textbook that a teacher gave me in seventh grade so I will start there!

School Goals: Spanish Spanish, my first love and second language, gets a big boost this year. Like I said, I’m skipping a year (aspiring polyglot benefits!) so first and foremost I have to make sure I’m up to speed with all the stuff I missed—preterit, imperfect, you get the picture. As for my independent study, I am going to start volunteering at my church and helping with the Spanish kids service. I don’t have any really concrete goals, other than making sure my Spanish is at a solid B2 level. I think I’m there, but helping at church will give me that extra little boost. In the long term, I want to be fluent in Spanish by the time I graduate high school, and finish all the Spanish courses offered as well.   School Goals: Italian As I learned from Luca Lampariello (LINK), if you’re going to learn multiple languages at a time you have to spend more time on the harder one. Italian will take the back burner a little bit this school year as I work on polishing my Chinese for the aforementioned goals there. But, I would like to solidify my B1 level by regularly talking in Italian. Talking, not texting! Twice a month is probably a reasonable goal for me, and I am going to throw a word of the day into the mix too. By the end of my high school time, I would probably like to be at a B2 level in all skills. We’ll see how that goes though. 😉   Those are my goals! If you stopped long enough to read them all, wow. You’re pretty great. Comment below what you plan to learn next.

Sydney Sauer • August 25, 2015


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