I’ve been finding myself in a bit of a rut lately. It is my second consecutive year in Spain and picking up the language has proven to be WAY harder than I thought it would be.
I took Spanish all throughout high school and later minored in the language in college. I studied abroad in Spain and even moved back to continue my studies after completing my degree. So why am I not yet fluent? Why am I not even close? Why can’t I seem to reach the level that I’ve been so desperately working towards?
Learning a language isn’t easy. Especially for us “English Speakers.” No matter where we go or what we do, we can usually get by with our English. We’re never forced to learn. It’s too easy to get lazy and give up.
During the fall I began to get more and more discouraged. I was feeling embarrassed by my level and would even avoid telling people how long I’d been in Spain. Sure I could carry on a simple conversation, but there always came a point where I was stumped. There were always so many things I wanted to say and not being able to express myself was starting to get very frustrating. It just felt like an endless struggle to push myself to the next level. Instead of letting this frustration motivate me to work harder, I really let it get me down.
At times I even began to take the blame off of myself and place it elsewhere.- “I speak English all day at work, of course I’m not progressing in Spanish.” “My days are too busy and I’m too tired when I get home to devote real time to studying.”
Coming back from Christmas break it finally hit me- I only have a few more months to take advantage of Spain. None of these excuses are going to get me anywhere. The only one that’s keeping me from getting to where I want to be- is me.
So, this January I’ve decided to commit myself to starting the year off with some baby steps. I figure if I start small, I won’t get overwhelmed and may even get encouraged to push myself further!
Goals for my remaining time in Spain:
- Intercambios– I have dedicated 2 of my free hours at school to language exchanges with Spanish teachers. I also joined a Facebook group for English-Spanish “intercambios” and have a few planned for the coming week.
- Spanish Podcasts– I researched and downloaded a few different Spanish podcasts to listen to throughout the day. Instead of blankly staring during my twice a day 45-minute commute, I can dedicate this time to learning Spanish.
- Spanish/ English Rooms– Although I live with two Spanish girls, I often get lazy and communicate with them in English. I realized that as convenient as it is to be able to communicate with them quickly and smoothly in English, I should be taking more advantage of my situation. We now have rules for the different rooms of our apartment and what language is allowed to be spoken there.
- Increasing my level at my Spanish academy– I’ve always been one to learn better when I’m challenged. The level that I was previously in was mostly review for me and wasn’t really helping me to move forward. I decided to try a new class (level up), even though my teacher said they are pretty far ahead. If nothing else it will motivate me to study more!
None of these steps will be too invasive to my schedule, but I’m hoping to see some major results in the next few months!!
Motivation for this Monday: Have something in your life that you can’t just seem to master? Try to turn your frustration into motivation. Allow it to push you forward and keep you working toward your goal. Even if it’s not happening as quickly as you may want it to- just keep on making little steps. Hopefully we’ll be surprised by what we can do! 🙂
What are some things you’ve been struggling to get done lately?
Linkin’ up with the nectar collective today for weekly wishes!