Maximize Your Month | August Language Learning Strategies Language Resources

Hey all! It’s August and that means that it is time for me to share my monthly language learning strategies update as part of Maximize Your Month.

As a quick introduction to just what Maximize Your Month just in case you missed last month‘s post, it is a goal-sharing link up I am co-hosting with a team of incredibly awesome bloggers. If you haven’t met them already, they are LindsayEstherMariah, and Hsiao-Ting.

So, I’d like to welcome you to the Maximize Your Month Linkup where we share our goals and motivate one another to pursue our dreams. We’d love for you to a part of our community so that we can help inspire one another to achieve our goals. You can join us by adding a link to your own goal post below.

Please feel free to tag your posts or photos with either #clearthelist or #maximizeyourmonth

Last Month’s Highlights on Instagram

Maximize Your Month Instagram | Eurolinguiste

My Maximize Your Month Language Learning Strategies & Goals

Last Month’s Goals

  1. Begin taking the HSK 3 Practice Tests. I did and they’re so much more difficult than level 2.
  2. Have fun with my new language. I did! So, so much fun! I think I love Russian as much as I love Mandarin.
  3. Do at least two language update videos. Nope.
  4. Get through 1/3 of the HSK 3 Memrise deck. Yes! I even started HSK 4 to try to get ahead (although, I don’t really like the way this deck is setup in comparison to the previous levels).

This Month’s Goals

  1. Do one page of Chinese calligraphy/writing practice a day. My penmanship could use a little TLC.
  2. Get through the second third of the HSK 3 Memrise deck. And keep my momentum up!
  3. Do at least two language update videos. Since I didn’t really do this last month, I want to try to do it this month.
  4. Catch up on review on previous Mandarin Memrise decks. There are still a few words that are not in my long-term memory that should be.
  5. Read at least two books. I’m behind on my reading goal for this year and it’s time to catch up. Plus, finishing books that I have will help me move towards my next goal.
  6. Have another major minimalist weekend. So, I know I have mentioned that I’ve been making an effort to minimize my life, but this past month I ended up adding more than I ended up removing (new clothes for performances, new travel stuff for travel, new books for study, etc.). I need to get rid of a few things to make space for the new.
  7. Finish up my first round of the HSK 3 Practice Tests. You all, the difference between level 2 and level 3 is huge!!! It’s kicking me in the rear.

My Language Learning Strategies and Updates

Here are some of the changes I’ve made to my language learning methods from previous months:

  • I started studying Russian
  • I am going to start doing twice as many lessons in Mandarin
  • I am taking a break from Croatian

I started studying Russian

Even though a lot of language learners (myself, included), advise language learners to only seriously focus on one language, I decided to bring in a second. My primary focus will still be Mandarin – until I pass the HSK exam – but I don’t really see any reason why I can’t start to learn Russian. I’m motivated enough in both at the moment that I’ve been able to manage the two. If, however, I start to notice that my Mandarin suffers due to lack of attention or that two languages as once is too much, I’ll cut back on Russian. Or just take a break. For now, I’m enjoying the two.

I am going to start doing twice as many lessons in Mandarin

It’s crunch time, ya’ll. There is less than 6 months left until my exam so I’m ready to amp up my study. Lessons with another teacher will also give me another perspective and more material to work on. So I’m ready!

I am taking a break from Croatian

Recently, my Croatian studies have really only been passive, but I’m going to take a break completely to work on Russian. The two are similar so I want to put some distance between them so there isn’t any confusion. Plus, since I wasn’t really actively working on Croatian, this won’t be a big change.

Resources I Used This Month

So, a quick recap on the materials I am using.

What I’m Using to Learn Mandarin:

  1. iTalki Lessons – Honestly, this is still one of the best investments I’ve made.
  2. Pimsleur
  3. Memrise
  4. Assimil
  5. HSK 3 Practice Tests
  6. WaiChinese
  7. Antosch & Lin
  8. Various Podcasts – Important Things with Jenny Zhu and Melnyk’s
  9. HelloTalk
  10. Ninchanese
  11. FluentU

What I’m Using to Brush Up/Improve my French:

  1. Immersion
  2. Reading books written by French authors
  3. Listening to French radio/podcasts
  4. FluentU

What I am Using to Learn Russian

  1. A notebook
  2. Google Translate
  3. A PDF I created
  4. RussianPod101
  5. iTalki Lessons

The Biggest Lesson I Am Taking Away from This Month

Studying Two Languages Really Isn’t That Big of a No-No


When I first really started studying languages, I worked on several simultaneously. My progress definitely suffered as a result. But when I first stared out, I didn’t have the experience or knowledge that I do now. I also wasn’t quite as passionate about it as I am today. I don’t think I’ll have the same experience studying two languages at once as I did a few years back.

That being said, to really progress to the level I need to get to in Mandarin, most of my time will still be focused on that language. Russian is just a side project for the time being and it will be treated as such.

Even though I’ve read quite a bit from other language bloggers on why we should only focus on one language at a time, I think I’m ready to take on two. I will, technically, be focused on only one, so I am not technically breaking the “focus on one language” rule.

Since this is going to be my first time seriously (I mean really seriously) working on two languages at once, I’m going to pay very close attention to my progress. If my efforts in Chinese are slowed or if I start to have issues with retention, I’m going to hit the pause button on Russian until after my exam.

This is very much a personal experiment. I really want to learn both of these languages and I really enjoy studying them, so I had a really hard time justifying holding off on learning Russian. I just couldn’t continue ignoring all of the awesome resources I discovered.

PS. M and I just launched an Indiegogo campaign for our new album “First Class.” I would absolutely love it if you took a moment to head over and check it out or help us share the project!

Mazimize Your Month Link Up #clearthelist

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Tips for Language Learning | Eurolinguiste

That’s it for me in August. What are your goals for this month?

I’m a language lover, traveler and musician sharing my adventures and language learning tips over at Eurolinguiste.

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  • Woo hoo! You met 75% of your goals for last month. That’s awesome! Dang, what’s the reason for picking up Russian now? I’m glad you’re sticking with Mandarin though! 😉 HSK 3 sounds hard. I don’t even know if I’ll be able to pass that level … good luck on your goals for this month!!

    • No reason in particular for picking up Russian other than the fact that it has been on my “language wish list” for some time. Really interesting resources kept popping up and I was trying to ignore them while I focused on Chinese. But I finally gave in. I know I want to study Russian, so why put it off?

      The HSK 3 is so hard, but I’m sure you’d pass with flying colours! I’ve lost the pinyin moving to this stage and I didn’t realize how much I was relying on it to read still. I guess I’ll have to get used to riding my bike without the training wheels!

      Thank you! <3

      • Totally agree! If you really want to study Russian you should.

        Haha pinyin is definitely hard. I still struggle with the right tone for certain words :p you can do it!

  • I am so in awe of your motivation and language learning abilities!! Taking on Russian too!! If you feel like you can handle learning two at one time then why not 🙂 Best of luck on your August goals!!

  • I feel like such a slacker when I read your goals posts haha! That’s so great that you’re learning calligraphy too. I’ve always wanted to learn some sort of calligraphy.. I really love the way korean calligraphy looks too. My uncle used to try to teach me how to do chinese characters back in the day, but I wasn’t interested as a teenager. Now, I wish I took him up on the offer!

    • That’s hilarious because I feel the same way when I read your goal posts!

      I love calligraphy, but my penmanship is horrible, so I’ve never really seriously pursued it. When I started studying Chinese characters though, I really fell in love with Chinese calligraphy. It looks more like art than writing! I’ll never get as good as some of the artists out there, but I still want to make the effort to improve my penmanship so I figured, eh, why not? That’s so cool your uncle used to teach you! I can understand not being interested, though. There were so many things I ignored as a teen that I look back on wondering “Why?!”

  • Love this post so much. I might write up a post and join in!

    I’m taking a step away from German as it’s just too similar to Dutch for me to cope with so I can totally understand why you are putting Croatian to the side.

    • We’d LOVE for you to join in! Yeah, it’s hard to maintain two languages that are too similar at the same time. After I get comfortable with Russian, I’m definitely planning on revisiting Croatian, but for now, I need to choose between the two and Russian wins because it’s shiny and new. 🙂

  • Yay, language learning goals! I love watching your Mandarin progress; month by month I can see your path to the HSK and that’s so fun. (Side note: I really need to get on that.) As for the “learn one language at a time” rule – ehhhhh, it’s very much a ymmv kind of thing. I studied two side-by-side at uni (and I still do more than one at a time now) and the only thing I really think is that it’s best to be at different levels; but even then, I think it’s a very personal thing for you and the languages you’re studying. Some people can study like six languages at the same time, some can’t. I’m glad it’s working out well for you though. How are you finding Russian?

    And – of course – good luck this month!

    • Thanks Charlotte! I had to look up “ymmv” :/ I agree about it being best to be at different levels. I tried starting two at the same time a few years back and it was a bad idea. I ended up not learning either very well.

      Russian is probably one of the harder languages I’ve taken on. I’m really struggling with pronunciation. It’s slowly sinking in though. Verrrrry slowly. Thanks for asking.

      How are your studies going?

  • Looking forward to seeing how it goes with 2 languages. Personally, I feel that once you’ve got to a comfortable level in one language, there’s no reason not to start another – besides, we never really reach the end of learning a language so when else would you know when to stop! 😉

    • Thanks Lindsay. Personally, I feel you’re correct. 😉 If we waited until we were “fluent” in a language before starting another, we might not ever start another language. I’m also quite glad we never reach the end of learning anything really. It gives me something to look forward to.

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  • Good job! Reading your posts every month are so encouraging. I can’t wait to see how your Mandarin progresses. After I progress a bit more with Spanish I think I’ll be ready to pick up another language.

    • Thanks Chanell! I really appreciate that. Good luck with your Spanish studies! Any idea what your next language might be? 😉

      • French! Definitely French!

        • Great choice! Happy studying and thanks again for dropping by!