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Language Challenge Update #1

Hey everyone!  It’s been over a month since the 3-month language challenge began so I thought it would be a good time to share some updates.  This is language challenge update #1. If you’re new to the blog and you don’t know about the challenge, you can read about it here

Things have Become Easier with Time

One thing about having a language challenge is that it limits you.  There’s a time restriction that you have to work within. Because of that, you can’t procrastinate or leave things until another day.  Everyday that passes is a day closer to the end of the challenge. Every day of practice that is missed, is a day lost. At the start of this language challenge, it was a little difficult to be consistent.  I practiced and worked toward my goal, but it wasn’t always the easiest thing to do. With things being busy and fluctuating at work, I found my energy levels completely depleted once I went home for the day.  This was an almost daily fact for each weekday. Although language learning was important for me, I often had to drag myself to get going.  

Things are different now after more than a month.  Whether it’s reading, speaking, or listening, I find myself automatically gravitating toward Arabic.  Plans of what I want or need to do are already in my head. If there are no plans, the desire is still there to do something with Arabic each day.  It’s easier now to pick up a book, watch a show, or talk to someone than it was at the start.    

Increasing my Practice

At the outset, working with a teacher once a week was going to be a component of my learning strategy.  After a month of doing that, I decided to do it twice a week. One class is a 30 minute conversation session while the other is an hour long and focused on reading.  The reading course is to help me with pronunciation, building vocabulary, and reading comprehension. In addition to these two, I’ve started to attend weekly Arabic sessions that are sponsored by a local social group.  These social sessions enable me to use Arabic outside of a classroom context. All in all, I’m doing three sessions of Arabic each week. These sessions are in addition to reading each day and watching programs here and there throughout the week.  

A Reflection

Already, in the period of about a little more than a month, I’m seeing progress.  In fact, yesterday while reading, I realized how much my desire had increased to know this language.  I can honestly say that I was truly immersed while reading. On top of that, it was easier to understand the text that I was reading and make sense of it.  However, the progress that was made wasn’t only in terms of language abilities. It’s also related to how I’m approaching learning. I’m learning to slow down and enjoy the process.  This second month of the 3-month language challenge has me extremely excited for the possibilities ahead. I’m optimistic that by the end of this language challenge, I will reach my goal.  December 31, 2020 is only a stone’s throw away, but I’m walking toward it with determination.        

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