Soon after writing my last blogpost, I went all-in to finish my honours thesis. I stopped exercising, socialising, and language learning. When I wasn’t sleeping, I was at the library. Unsurprisingly, after handing in Hu’s Harmonious Society on October 8, I was completely burned out. I didn’t want anything more to do with eating muesli for breakfast every morning or going to bed early. I became unfit, unhealthy and unmotivated – even for the things I love to do. I felt lost and without a purpose. After more than a month of shuffling around, though, I can finally feel the juices flowing again!
My next moves with language learning are dictated by two big pieces of news. First, the saga is finally over. I have successfully completed the Diploma of Spanish as a Second Language (DELE): Level B2! For more information about the DELE and Instituto Cervantes, click here. My results were as follows (marks out of 25, pass mark is 30 for reading & writing + 30 for listening & speaking):
- Reading 21.53 & Writing 20.52 (total 42.05)
- Listening 15.83 & Speaking 17.17 (total 33.00)
I’m very content with my marks for reading and writing, but was surprised by my low score in the listening component. This suggests I need to improve my ability to recognise and recall key pieces of information. In the future I ought to practice listening in a more interactive way, for example, by taking notes of specific details and reproducing it in my own words. As far as speaking is concerned, I think it just comes with immersion in Spanish-speaking situations. Since the exam, I’ve gained a number of EXP points at SUSLAS’s conversation groups but I know that more exposure is still needed – which brings me to news item number two… I’m going to California, Mexico and Guatemala in January-March 2015!
Besides the Spanish language immersion, I’m extremely excited to experience first-hand what I’ve learned about the civilisations of pre-Columbus America. I’m also looking forward to trying all the tacos, tortas, pozoles, gorditas, and atoles and plan on sampling as many moles as I can!
Obviously, my primary language objective is now to improve my Spanish for my trip. If I continue working at it, there’s no reason why I can’t come back a much more confident, fluent speaker. As I mentioned before, I need to improve on my listening comprehension and my ability to respond. Accuracy and fluency. I plan on pursuing more active exercises by, for example, writing and talking about the content of the podcasts I listen to, articles and books I read or TV I watch. And, of course, I would like to have more conversations be it on Sharedtalk, at a Meetup or with Spanish-speaking friends.
I’ve been following this smooth Salsa & Bachata playlist on Spotify. If you’ve got more music to recommend me leave a comment below, tweet to me at @TimSpricht or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Click “Follow” at the top right of the page to get me delivered to your inbox.
I leave you with Arsène Wenger on life and languages: