I’ve decided that it’s better late than never to revisit my language learning goals from 2019 and to lay out my plan for my languages in 2020. First, let’s get into how 2019 shaped up.
Language Realities 2019
At the beginning of the year, I was feeling really determined to improve my German and my Spanish and, at the same time, introduce a new language, Vietnamese. As is always the case when I make goals, I felt like a year was a lot longer than it really was!
The reason I chose to add Vietnamese was that I was toying with the idea of teaching English in Vietnam for a year. I didn’t have any experience learning a non-European language before and, while I knew they were different from what I was used to, I don’t think I was really prepared for the challenge that Vietnamese threw at me.
It felt like the process was sooooooo slow. Everything was different, and even getting a handle of the sounds of the language was super challenging. In the end, my plans changed a bit, and I decided that going to Vietnam for a year just wasn’t feasible for me.
After that, I decided to scrap my Vietnamese project. This was a struggle for me because I was genuinely enjoying learning it despite the challenges. I had never dropped a language before, when I decide to study a language, I tend to really commit. Vietnamese was my first experience with dropping something and feeling reasonably confident that I won’t be returning to it anytime in the near future.
German is a completely different story! German was the first foreign language I seriously studied, and it was what caused me to fall in love with language learning.
I’ve never been a huge grammar buff, and my lack of grammatical willpower was my biggest stumbling block for German in 2019. Last year I decided to focus more on input and to stop worrying so much about the structures. I found that for my daily needs, this works perfectly. I am a more fluent speaker by far than I was last year, and then I had a lot of fun along the way.
Spanish is the language that I have the most complicated relationship with. I live in the United States, so Spanish is an extremely important language, and I’m constantly surrounded by it. I love the way it sounds, I love Spanish music and poetry, there’s basically nothing about it that I don’t like, so why couldn’t I bring myself to study it much in 2019?
I traveled to Mexico for the first time in June, and that really gave me a motivation boost. Last year was undoubtedly the year I made the most progress in Spanish, but I still have this feeling that I’m not living up to my potential.
Language Plans 2020
So the key takeaway from 2019 is that it was a great year for enjoying my languages and incorporating them into my life, but not such a great year for organized study. As it turns out, that’s totally okay. My main goal for 2020 is to find a good rhythm and language learning routine, although I also have specific goals for each of my languages.
This year is all about German! I’m planning on moving to Germany for grad school after taking a gap year, which means that I will have to take the DSH or Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang. I haven’t scheduled a date yet, but I will likely be taking the test this summer or fall. To achieve this, I plan on creating as much German immersion as I can at home while focusing on test preparation.
While German is my primary focus, Spanish also has a huge part to play in my plans for this year. I’m planning a five-week trip to Peru and Ecuador this spring as a graduation present to myself. This means that in between studying for my last semester of college, obsessively studying for the DSH, and working two jobs, I also have to find time for regular Spanish study!
My main goal for Spanish in 2020 is to have a comfortable travel experience and to be able to have more meaningful conversations while I’m at home and abroad. I think this is pretty attainable with my schedule of one Italki lesson a week with my tutor as well as maintaining daily input. I recently found some new resources that I’m really excited about, and I think I can incorporate them into a daily routine.
It may seem crazy to include any other language-related goals into 2020, considering how full my year already is. Still, I’m definitely interested in adding a third language. Right now I’m flirting with French and I think it’s a strong contender. I traveled to Montreal last year for LangFest and I really fell in love with the city. I’d love to spend more time in Quebec and learn more about Quebecois!
I’m also playing around with Turkish right now, but since this is purely a side project, I am putting absolutely no pressure on myself. I’m enjoying playing with a few apps and learning in my spare time
How about you?
What are your language-related goals for the new year? Let me know in the comments and happy language learning!