I’ve completed the first week of the 3-Month language challenge and I want to reflect on the experience. First, for myself so I can clarify the experience in my mind and secondly for you readers out there. Some of you might be doing the challenge and others may be thinking of trying it one day. It doesn’t hurt to share these personal experiences of the journey.
How was the first week overall?
I’d say it wasn’t a success, but it also wasn’t a failure. I could have done a lot better and I’ll explain what happened.
My plan for the challenge was to work with Arabic on a daily basis each week. Unfortunately, last week, I only did this for four days. The main reason was because I was under the weather and had no energy to do anything. Now I’m starting to feel better and hopefully I’ll feel completely back to normal for the remainder of this challenge. If anything, I’d say that this first week has helped me to reconfirm my commitment to this challenge and I know that it’s something that I’d absolutely like to continue.
Something new that I’ve learned
Toward the end of the week, I had an online lesson with one of my favorite Arabic teachers. I asked her to help me with my pronunciation and the definition of new words in the novel that I’m currently reading. That was very helpful since we were able to cover these much more quickly than I normally do when I use a dictionary or translator. However, this session opened my eyes up to something. Something new that I learned is that my spoken Arabic has become absolute trash. Words that I once knew, escaped me. Conjugating words took some time and overall, I was shocked by how much of the language I lost. I don’t think that I’ve spoken the language in a sustained way in probably 5 months. It’s understandable why the level dropped so dramatically. As they say, use it, or lose it.
The original plans were good and those will stay the same for the most part. The only thing to change would be to add more speaking practice. I want to focus on becoming a better speaker again and that comes from practice. Practice will happen during lessons with my teacher, but the effort will also be made toward talking with native speakers of the language. Luckily, there are some security guards that I chat with here and there whenever I go to the local mall. It would be a good idea to move beyond the superficial and to have conversations that are a bit deeper or that force me out of my comfort zone.
Here’s hoping week number two turns out to be much better than the first!
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