Maximize Your Month | Language Learning Strategies

As a quick introduction I’d like to share that I have teamed up with an incredibly awesome team of bloggers to host a monthly goal post. If you haven’t met them already, they are Lindsay, Esther, Mariah, and Hsiao-Ting.

This is our first post hosting this linkup and I am thrilled to share it with you. So let’s get to it!

Hey there! We’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


My Maximize Your Month Language Learning Strategies & Goals

Last Month’s Goals

  1. Finish reviewing the practice tests in HSK Book 2. Done!
  2. Finish the First 500 Words and HSK Level 2 on Memrise. By the time the 30th rolls around I’ll be done with this one. I finally finished the 500 words set and will have HSK 2 done.
  3. Get at least 2 weeks ahead on blog posts. Done!

This Month’s Goals

  1. Begin taking the HSK 3 Practice Tests. It might all be in my head, but I feel as though I’m a bit behind and not quite up to the level I need to be to pass the test in December.
  2. Have fun with my new language. I’m usually against taking on more than one language at a time (at a serious level), but I am too excited about my new language to keep putting it off. And don’t worry, I’m going to announce it soon.
  3. Do at least two language update videos. I have been doing quite a few videos lately, but I haven’t done as many speaking videos as I had intended to do. I want to change this.
  4. Get through 1/3 of the HSK 3 Memrise deck. I’m ready for some more vocabulary!

My Language Learning Strategies and Updates

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

  • I pushed myself harder than I had in the past as far as independent study is concerned
  • I started to play with the idea of picking up my next language

I pushed myself harder

I’m really starting to feel the pressure of the exam in December and so I’ve started spending more time each and every day studying. I’m not sure if I’m going to become overwhelmed, but so far it seems okay. It’s funny how we find ourselves more capable than we expected when we push ourselves beyond what we thought were our limitations.

I started to play with the idea of picking up my next language

I don’t want to risk growing bored or frustrated with studying only one language (something that has happened to me in the past), so I have started to look into the next language I want to study. I don’t normally study two languages seriously at the same time, but I want to make sure that I diversify my study schedule enough that I don’t grow bored with my main language.

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 2 Practice Tests
  6. WaiChinese
  7. Antosch & Lin
  8. Various Podcasts – Important Things with Jenny Zhu and Melnyk’s
  9. Hello Talk
  10. Ninchanese
  11. FluentU

What I’m Using to Learn Croatian:

  1. iTalki Lessons
  2. Pimsleur
  3. Memrise
  4. Serbian for Complete Beginners
  5. Teach Yourself Croatian

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 my New Language

  1. notebook
  2. Google Translate
  3. A PDF I created

The Biggest Lesson I Am Taking Away from This Month

It’s Okay to Test Your Limits

More and more lately I have seen posts go up about how it isn’t good to study more than one language at a time. That it’s better to really concentrate on one until it gets to a high enough level that you merely need to maintain it rather than actively learn. Up until now, I’ve agreed with this strategy, but when do  you decide that you’ve reached that level?

Defining when we get to that point is like trying to define fluency. Everyone is going to  have a different definition.

I have maintained a mostly monogamous relationship with Mandarin Chinese this past year (yes, June was my one year anniversary with Chinese!) and while I am studying to pass an exam, I have been itching to try out other languages.

After months and months of ignoring the temptation, I finally started to give in. Last month I decided with 100% certainty as to what my next language would be and that decision made it even harder to ignore resources I stumbled across for that language. So I decided it’s time.

Most of my study will still be focused on Mandarin because I have a very specific goal in mind for that language, but I’m not going to shy away from my growing interest in the new language either.

However, I would like to point out that the desire to take on a new language has also increased my awareness of my current level in Mandarin. And if I’m completely honest with both you and myself, I’m not quite happy with it. There are a lot of things that I need and want to work on (comprehension is number one) and so I started to push myself harder this past month.

I was worried that it would be too much – both working harder in the one language and dabbling in another. It was more than I had ever pushed myself to do in language learning. I worried that I was at risk of burning out.

As it turns out, however, I had underestimated myself. The more intense study schedule actually inspired me to keep pushing forward. It didn’t result in me feeling overwhelmed, as I feared it might.

I’m really quite happy with the change, and so, I’m going to keep it up. But, I’m also going to pay very close attention to how I look at study sessions. If I begin to dread them, or avoid them, I’m going to re-evaluate my study methods and make some adjustments.

I’ve come so far these past six months in Mandarin that I don’t want to risk wasting all of my hard work.

And don’t worry. I don’t plan on keeping my new language a mystery for much longer!

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 July. What are your goals for this month?