Hi guys,

It’s time for another update on my current status at the italki Language Challenge. Having already completed 12 sessions now, my current challenge is to memorize the vocabulary that I’ve learned at the beginning. To solve that problem, I started making vocabulary lists which is quite helpful for me.

In order to check my progress I also took a free language test online and the results were good but could be better.  My grammar and reading were great but my listening ability still needs improvement.  Therefore, I’m going to ask my French teachers to tailor my upcoming lessons to focus on improving my listening!

Current Progress Check

Total Completed Sessions = 12

Upcoming Sessions =  4 sessions per week

Lamb is one of our newest italki users and decided to take part in the Language Challenge. He wrote in with this update of his Language Challenge. It’s great advice for all Language Challengers (and language learners in general!). Lamb also posted a Public Video Pledge of himself before he started the Challenge. I’m sure even at the halfway point, he’s already come a long way!

Lamb’s original Notebook Entry (reposted with permission)

lambSo last month I signed up for the italki challenge, put my money where my mouth is, and scheduled 20 sessions with a few reputable looking teachers. This was a little frightening because: (1) I had never used italki before, (2) I had never spoken my target language [French] with native speakers before, and (3) I had only just started to learn French from scratch for about a month. A lot of people, myself included, feel a great deal of anxiety about having to speak a language they’re not proficient in.

Most of us would rather study textbooks and flashcards and use websites like Duolingo (all great resources that I also recommend) for months on end and hope that speaking takes care of itself. Now, and I’ve only put around 12 hours of speaking in, I think I can say that this is the way it works. You get better at speaking by speaking, and the anxiety of speaking goes away the more you do it, too. I don’t think that six more months of self-study would have gotten me there.

So for anyone who’s on the fence: try it out. Start talking. As bad as the anxiety might be, you will be impressed with your own progress and see that it’s worth it. If all goes well, in a month I’ll have finished the challenge and gotten some more money for lessons. But if the worst happens—sessions get cancelled or something unavoidable comes up—I won’t lose the progress I’ve made so far, nor will I lose the motivation to keep going in March.


Taking my French sessions over Chinese New Year’s

Hi Everyone! First of all, Happy Chinese New Year!!!

At Week 3 of the Language Challenge, I ran into Chinese New Year’s – our biggest national holiday here in China.  It’s a 7-day break here in China (everyone at italki is off as well).   I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Chinese New Year’s!

So here’s my current status updates:

Language Challenge Completed Sessions:  9

Language Challenge Sessions Remaining:  11
Session Schedule for Week 3:  4


For Week 3 of the Challenge, LindsayDoesLanguages gives us an update on how her Challenge is going.  She runs her own language learning blog where she blogs about her adventures learning and teaching different languages.  Below is her latest post that we felt we had to share with all your Challengers!  Reposted with permission.

Almost half way through the italki Language Challenge and I’m still alive! I haven’t been swallowed into the depths of German grammar never to return, nor have I been so overwhelmed I’m rocking back and forth in the corner. Nope. Still going, still learning and still loving it.

I made a rough plan of when I’d need to have lessons each week to achieve the challenge, fitting them around life accordingly. Unfortunately, Chinese New Year isn’t marked on my year view calendar and seeing as my German tutor lives in China, I suppose there was always bound to be some disruption. We seem to have come out the other end surprisingly not too far behind what I’d anticipated at this point, which is good news.

As for my German? I am feeling much more confident and prepared for my oral exam in May, which back at the start of the year was a big scary thought! The good news? I still have 11 lessons to go (1 later today – I’m not that far behind my schedule!) and I’m quite excited to see how I feel speaking German after these additional lessons. Stay tuned as I’ll be posting a video of my progress after all 20 lessons (eek!).

That sounds good! Can I do it?

Unfortunately, the deadline for this italki Language Challenge has passed but the site is open all year round with an abundance of tutors in a huge choice of languages. I’m even on there myself as an English tutor. :)

Great! So I just chat for an hour?

lindsay21You can make the lesson as intense or relaxed as you like it. If you’re after some hardcore grammar or starting from scratch, maybe a professional tutor would be the way to go. However, if you already have a sprinkling of the language you want to learn, there are also community tutors on offer, which is great if you need conversation practise to boost your language! (more…)

So Jim sat down with me today to check how my Language Challenge is going.  Below is our conversation about Week 2:

How’s your Language Challenge Progress so far?

Language Challenge Completed Sessions:  6
Language Challenge Sessions Remaining:  14
Session Schedule for Week 3:  3

So how are you feeling after week 2 of the Challenge?
I feel that I am on the right track. Taking lessons absolute helps me to practice speaking French in an efficient way.  I feel learning a foreign language is a strange thing, even you stop to use this language for one week,  you really  feel that you start to fall behind, and you could not speak as well as before. Taking 3 sessions per week for me is not very easy because my job is really busy, and last week one of my French teacher was busy with his school stuff so he canceled one of the sessions.  There were a couple of days that I stopped taking lessons, but when I started back to taking it again I could feel that my French had regressed.  It really proves that I need to keep up with practicing more regularly in the future!