One month of speaking French everyday

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Another month is gone. I don’t know about you, but these days I feel like time is running away from me. It could be because I try to do too many things, or because I do a lot of unnecessary things. One thing is clear: April is gone way to fast.

If you read my previous articles, you may already know that I made a habit of picking a new goal/challenge every month, something that I would focus on for the whole month. The goal I chose for the month of April was speaking French everyday for the whole month.

The main purpose of choosing a goal and focusing on it for one whole month is not only related to improving that activity or skill in itself, but also a way of educating myself to become more disciplined, more consistent, more intentional, and, the most important aspect, to keep the promises I make to myself.

Working to achieve a monthly goal brings a lot of benefits. Practicing this daily brings a lot of satisfaction and when you see the results, you know that your work paid it off. Also, the fact that I write about my goals and I share them with you on my blog makes it also a promise to the people who read my blog. This is actually one of the reasons I write about my goals: it makes the promise harder to break. Writing about my goals and my results is also a nice method of tracing my progress and keeping my motivation to start new projects. But back to my April goal.

The reason I chose this goal was mainly because my French got a bit rusty since I didn’t have too many occasions to use it. The importance of speaking the language you want to learn or to improve is tremendous. Trying to learn more languages, but not making a habit of practicing regularly will only make you feel tired because of a pointless effort and demotivated. I actually felt a bit demotivated when trying to polish my French because I can’t seem to find original content that I like and that would make me want to advance my French. However, I like to talk a lot in other languages, so I started from there.

One month of speaking a language daily even for 10 minutes can help by a lot to improve your level. Keep in mind that we are talking mostly about intermediate and even advanced learners whose language got rusty because of a lack of practice for a while. In my case it was more than a year. However, only one month of practicing your language won’t do wonders, not if you only practice for 10 minutes a day. There were days when 10 minutes became 15 or 20 minutes, but that was rare because I tend to get bored. Talking to a language partner is a lot more interesting and more challenging.

After one month of speaking French daily I regained my confidence of speaking the language which means that the words flow more naturally and I don’t have to think too much to find my words, my accent softened a bit more and observed some aspects that I need to working more like vocabulary and grammar.

As a conclusion, speaking French for one whole month was the perfect workout for my brain that took a long break from practicing French in particular and gave me the idea for a new goal. This month I will focus on practicing Japanese daily. Nothing too difficult; I will try to keep up with the writing systems and practicing with reading activities. I can’t wait to see the results.

Thank you for reading and I will see you around.

Inspiration from anime

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I have always been interested in visual content in all its forms. Movies, animations, books, photography, they are all fascinating to me. For me visual content is not only a way of entertaining myself, but also the best learning method. I remember even now the Philosophy exam I passed with maximum score after watching a few videos on YouTube explaining the meaning of a few famous paintings that had to be put in a complex essay. Maybe it is also highly related to my learning style, but writing an essay on concepts that were explained using visual content helped me to better understand and apply them in various contexts. Since then, I have mostly used this method to learn or research different topics.

Since I have decided to start learning Japanese, my study plan relied mostly on using visual content to learn in a fun and fast way. Traditional methods are to be avoided in my case. Thus, mnemonics, charts, pictures, illustrated books, YouTube videos and even anime are the resources that I use the most when studying Japanese.

However watching anime is not solely used for studying, but also for nurturing my fascination. With all these holidays and more free time, it would have been impossible not to spare more time for watching animes and dramas.

Today I want to introduce to you an anime that I have re-watched recently and that I have found some inspiration in for this article. It is about Ancient magus bride (Mahoutsukai no Yome). It is an anime that uses supernatural elements, beautiful art and nature scenery, and it is also great to watch for people who love content about supernatural beings, fantastic worlds, life lessons and so on.

When I watched this anime for the second time, I could see more details and go beyond the story. This anime enriched me by making me think about what is important to me, about self-love, growth and interconnections. Of course, every person could see something different when watching a movie or reading a book. Our observations and analysis are also highly influenced by our experiences and the knowledge we have in the present. This is why, being able to relate and to understand more made me think about the little changes that might happen but pass unnoticed.

While watching the anime, I took the time to write down some quotes I loved and that I thought you too might find useful or inspirational.

  • One today is worth two tomorrows.
    I really loved this quote as it emphasizes the importance of the present and living in the now. My efforts of becoming more present and living in the now might be the reason behind my fascination for this quote, but I like it anyway.
  • We live and learn.
    As a lifelong learner I couldn’t agree more to this quote. Life gives us teachers and lessons but how we use what we learn it is totally up to us.
  • Better to ask the way than go astray.
    I like this is one because somehow it has to do with how we think about ourselves and the relationships with others. I used to be extremely uncomfortable and lack confidence when I had to ask someone something I didn’t know. I was afraid I would be laughed at or scolded. Well, one of the reasons I hate traditional teaching is exactly this one: the lack of dialogue and the emphasis on taking what you are given without asking the WHYs.
  • You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs
    The message is simple: you learn from mistakes. And more mistakes mean more lessons. The problem is that many people still see mistakes as failures and not as lessons. But changing our mindset requires time too. Next time when you break an egg, think about what you can learn from it.

So what do you think? Are you inspired by these quotes? By now, you might have realized that there are so many ways we can learn new things. Inspiration and motivation comes in different forms and from different sources. Use every thing that you do to learn something new and correlate it to others things. Everything is interconnected and this is how you can learn the best.

Why you should keep a journal in another language

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As fun and healing journaling can been, you can use the benefits of journaling in more ways than you would have thought. While keeping a journal is totally a person’s decision, you might be tempted to try this method as a way of practicing a language you want to learn.

My sister told me the other days that I used to keep journals since childhood. I think I started to keep a journal when I was 14. I started to write the things I couldn’t discuss with other people, to write my worries and the things I was proud of. I kept that journal for a few months until I got into high-school. Then a new period began and I started writing a new journal. Why? Because it was mostly about my days in high-school and about the guy I had a crush on. And because I wrote only cheesy stuff the way teenagers do, I wrote it in English because I was afraid my younger sisters would find it. You know, when you have younger sisters or brothers, your things are not really yours :))

No matter how cheesy that journal was, it was my first journal written in another language and I was proud that I could do that. I had a precedent. My next journal, the one I started writing during my university years, was written in Korean because I really wanted to learn the language and I did everything I could to become better at it. I have realized that journaling in another language is a very powerful method when learning a new language.

Now I have 2 journals, one in English, a regular one, and one in Korean, a general one. I can’t give up on any of them because they are that helpful in many ways. In English I write not only for practice but also because I am more advanced than in Korean and I also feel more comfortable than I do in my mother tongue. I used to read my old journals from time to time in order to check how much I improved, how I felt then, how I dealt with different people or situations in the past. But keeping journals in different languages made me realize that my language skills were improving too. Sometimes, when I feel discouraged that I am not doing a lot better with Korean, I pick my old Korean journal and start reading. I can easily see how much I have improved and it gives me hope and a positive feeling.

No matter how I look at it, journaling gives me joy and a sense of achievement. And it’s also fun.

I want to hear from you. Have you ever used journaling in another language as a tool to practice and improve that language? Share with me your stories and thoughts on this.

As always stay safe and positive and I’ll see you around.