Maximize Your Month | September Language Learning Strategies Language Resources

Hey all! It’s only a few days away from being September (and my birthday month – woo!) and that means that it is time for me to share my monthly language learning strategies update as part of Maximize Your Month.

For those of you just joining us, Maximize Your Month (here’s last month‘s post), is a goal-sharing link up I co-host with a team of talented, awesome bloggers. If you haven’t met them already, they are Lindsay, Esther, Mariah, and Hsiao-Ting.

Welcome to Maximize Your Month. Let’s all share our goals and motivate one another to pursue our dreams!

And of course, we’d absolutely love for you to a part of our community. 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. Do one page of Chinese calligraphy/writing practice a day. I didn’t do one per day, but I did one page for every day of the month, so I say it counts. I really, honestly don’t think it did anything to improve my handwriting, so it’s not something I’m going to keep up, for now. Besides, my goal with Chinese for the moment is to pass the HSK exam and as long as I write the characters correctly, I’m sure they don’t really care how neat it is.
  2. Get through the second third of the HSK 3 Memrise deck. I’m close enough to a third to call it a third, I’m going to say I accomplished this one too.
  3. Do at least two language update videos. I did one on Instagram. 50% accomplished?
  4. Catch up on review on previous Mandarin Memrise decks. I am more caught up than I was but still not caught up. I’d like to start adding new decks in, but I still don’t know the vocabulary I’ve been working on well enough to throw even more new words into the equation.
  5. Read at least two books. Hahahaha. I read parts of many, many books and finished one. But I just got a couple of new books that I’m excited about, so it won’t be the case next month.
  6. Have another major minimalist weekend. I threw out a pair of shoes that were beyond repair. Definitely doesn’t count as a minimalist weekend.
  7. Finish up my first round of the HSK 3 Practice Tests. I did. And I didn’t pass a single one. I came close, but not close enough. I have this month to work on review, so I’m not too worried about Level 3. Level 4 I’m a bit worried about though.

This Month’s Goals

  1. Finish up HSK 3 Memrise Deck. I already started level four, so these next few months will entail lots and lots of vocabulary review.
  2. Do at least one real language update video. Since I’m incapable of managing to squeeze in two.
  3. Finish reviewing my previous Memrise Decks so I can add at least one new one.
  4. Work through some of the new resources I’m excited about. Because it can’t be all work and no play!

And that’s it. The HSK exam is at the beginning of December so I now have only three full months to prepare. It’s quite a bit of time, but it means that I really need to reign in and stop doing anything superfluous even if it’s related to language study. I might also take a break from Russian in October/November so I don’t have anything else running around in my head while I’m trying to get in the right mindset for the exam.

My Language Learning Strategies and Updates

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

Nothing. Yup, that’s honestly how this month went. Without change. There wasn’t any need to make any changes to my study schedule, so I’ve kept up the momentum. I squeeze every spare moment I can to work on language, so there really isn’t much more I can add or subtract from what I’m already doing. Unless you count participating in IGLC once more a change, because that I did. And it was fun!

Resources I Used This Month

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

What I’m Using to Learn Mandarin:

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

  • Immersion
  • Reading books written by French authors
  • Listening to French radio/podcasts
  • FluentU

What I am Using to Learn Russian:























The Biggest Lesson I Am Taking Away from This Month

You can’t do everything.

This past month has been quite a challenge for me. We have spent the past few weeks wrapping up the final stages of our new album, I’ve had quite a few shows and rehearsals, I work full time, and I have also tried to maintain writing for this site and studying language as much as possible on the side. We also had family visit from out of town, and so, I struggled to balance it all. I ended up sacrificing karate (it allowed me to win back a few hours each week) and some sleep. I didn’t have to give up too much language study, but admittedly, it wasn’t as focused as I would have liked.

I’m going to use the beginning of this month to schedule a few posts ahead of time so that I can enjoy some time off for my birthday. October is going to be another crazy month packed with shows and travel, so I want to enjoy September and time with friends while I have some time off!

It also seems I need to get in some more focused study because the HSK test is coming up rather quickly and I really don’t feel ready!

PS. Our new album First Class is now available for pre-order on Amazon! Mazimize Your Month Link Up #clearthelist

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I'm a language lover, traveler and musician sharing my adventures and language learning tips over at Eurolinguiste. Join me on Facebook for daily language learning and travel tips!

  • Wow, studying three languages at once sounds insane. I took a few years of French in high school/college and then studied Danish when I lived in Copenhagen — even with no overlap, I kept getting the languages mixed up and would say something half in Danish and half in French! Good luck with everything!

    • Thanks Allison. I’m actually really only studying two languages (Chinese and Russian) actively. And I do get languages mixed up on occasion. I’ve gotten better at filing them away in different parts of my brain, but when I switch from one to another, I sometimes get a little mixed up. So cool that you studied Danish! Did you enjoy it?

      • I imagine it’s the kind of thing that gets a little easier with practice.

        I loved learning Danish — but even living in Copenhagen, it was hard to immerse myself because almost everyone there speaks fluent English. I’d go to a shop and try to speak in Danish and people would answer in English. Still glad I made the effort though!

        • Hi Allison, that’s really amazing that you still made the effort despite being replied to in English. I know from personal experience how discouraging that can be! Just out of curiosity, to what level would you say you got to with Danish living there? And did you speak it before you moved to the country?

          • I didn’t know a word of Danish before getting there! I was there for about nine months and by the end, I could read newspaper articles and simple texts reasonably well. Speaking was another story, because while I could probably understand more than I gave myself credit for, I really struggled when talking at a normal “pace” — I’d have to ask someone to speak slowly and then wait while I mentally translated what they said to English and then translated my reply to Danish. (Plus my accent was horrible, so many Danes, especially if they weren’t used to hearing a foreigner speak Danish, had trouble understanding me.)

          • That’s really impressive! The translation stage is really hard and can really slow a language learner down. For reading in Mandarin I’m at that stage. I have a tendency to read the characters in my head with their English meaning rather than Chinese and it’s kind of frustrating. Congrats on all your progress though! Are you doing anything to maintain your Danish now that you’re no longer there?

          • Nothing, sadly. It was almost 10 years ago and I had a hard time finding a reason to keep studying and practicing when I was trying to finish college, find a job, and all that jazz. I still have some of my textbooks and materials, though, so at least the potential is there!

          • That’s cool that you hung onto them! Balancing everything can get pretty hectic, so I totally get stepping away from it. Thanks for chatting with me!

  • Congrats on finishing the album!! You sound so BUSY, I think it is great you are slowing down a bit to take advantage of the rest of the summer 🙂 Best of luck on your September goals!

  • Wow, congrats on finishing your album! And you’re working on Mandarin AND Russian simultaneously? I am DEFINITELY going through your language tips! I’m working on Russian right now and it’s kicking my butt, even without the bits and pieces of French, Spanish, Japanese, and German that are still floating around in my brain and trying to surface when I’m looking for a word.

    • Russian kicks my butt too. I have the hardest time with pronunciation. I hope you enjoy some of my other posts! Good luck with your studies and thanks for stopping by!

  • I’m so excited for you about the album! How exciting!!

    AND your HSK exam so soon?! Busy busy! Enjoy September! 🙂

    • Thanks Lindsay!

      I know, it is so soon and I’m a bit frazzled over it. Yikes!

  • Ahh, what a busy looking month! Still, you’ve been rocketing through those memrise lists – awesome job! I’m sure I’ve already asked, but which level HSK exam are you taking? I tried doing a practice test for the HSK 4 but just ended up giving up, so the exam is not anywhere in my near future (maybe next year).

    Good luck anyway, with the HSK test and all your other goals – and congrats on your new album! That’s so exciting! 😀 I hope you manage to get a nice, relaxing birthday!

    • I am currently planning on taking the HSK 4. I had to build up to it (and I’m still working on level 3). Thanks Charlotte – my birthday won’t quite be relaxing, but it will be exciting! I’m going to share more details about it soon via Facebook/Twitter.

  • I have to remind myself that every month… you can’t do everything.. but you can do things you make the time for! and i think if you read lots of books.. that counts! haha i might have to add up the pages.. if it equals at least 100. that should count, no?!!

    • I definitely think that 100 pages should count 😉 That way the books that I read (which are like 600+ pages) count as 6 books and then I’d feel like a reading machine! Haha. I have really been thinking about the “can’t do everything” thing quite a bit lately. I wish time went more slowly so that I could fit more in! I really need to work on prioritizing and maybe think about applying minimalism to more than just my possessions.

      • Yeah that sounds like a good plan. I need to be more minimalistic in more areas of my life.. especially need to narrow down the million goals!

  • OMG, I bet your Mandarin is 10x better than mine. I’m Chinese but I don’t speak Mandarin very well. I’m Hokkien – have you heard of the dialect? A few years ago, I attempted to learn reading (yes, I can’t read Chinese writing lol) but my memory just couldn’t absorb the characters for long. So I admire people who make a go at the crazy language.

    “I read parts of many, many books” – yup. Sounds like me!

    • I have heard of the dialect, but I don’t know much about it. Is it very different from Mandarin?

      I used Memrise which is based on spaced-repetition. It really helps me retain the characters far better than I would with any other system. But it really helps seeing them in many contexts.

      Thanks for stopping by Elizabeth!

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