I aimed to practice only Spanish for 90 days (11 Jan-11 Apr) culminating in the DELE exam. While I did achieve the former, the latter didn’t eventuate through a combination of having other priorities and a dislocated elbow. I definitely think having a time-limited goal helped keep me motivated, though, and I would try it again in the future. It also helped that one of my favourite YouTube polyglots, Steve Kaufman, was posting daily videos about his 90 day challenge.
I wrote in my progress report on Day 35 that I’d started backing up my listening activities with more writing to iron out kinks in my grammar and expression. I didn’t end up doing much more of this, which was probably a direct result of being burdened with uni work. Similarly, I didn’t read as much as I might have liked. I was a lot better at practicing listening (look out for a post about this soon).
Speaking was the skill I strengthened the most. I mentioned as well on Day 35 that I wanted to go to more Meetups but, in the end, I hardly needed to – the turnout for SUSLAS’s* events have been so good this semester I’ve been having 2 or 3 hours of Spanish conversation every week! Granted, I’ve often found myself the senior partner in these conversations, but I’m expressing common ideas a lot more fluently and assuredly now, which is a shot in the arm for my motivation. I know from my experience learning German how difficult it is to recount entire stories in a foreign language, so unsurprisingly that this is still an area for me to work on with Spanish.
Post-challenge, I will be relaxing my focus somewhat. However, I’d still like to aim to get a B2 DELE certification some time this year. I learned a great deal in the 90 days and have particularly enjoyed being a part of the SUSLAS community, which has led me to think: I need to find a language partner if I’m going to make similar progress with Mandarin. Going into Chinese grocery stores or eating at Chinese restaurants are small reminders of how useful learning Chinese is, but I need to recreate the emotional or social connection with the language I found while I was in Beijing. Extrinsic sources of motivation such as utility are simply not compelling enough.
Finally, and unrelated: I have updated the ‘About’ section of this blog and also intend on improving the FAQ section. Thanks for reading, and look out for a couple more posts in the coming days!
*Sydney University Spanish and Latin American Society