Part of the #Add1Challenge is completing mini-challenges on top of your main minimum time commitment goals. I completed Mini-Challenge #1 awhile back, but here is a recap:
Mini-Challenge #1: Speak with 3 different & new language tutors or exchange partners, for at least 30 minutes each, within the span of a few weeks.
I used italki back in early 2015 for a few lessons thanks to Benny’s Fluent in 3 Months blog, so I wasn’t new to the idea. But when my computer died a slow, painful death, and my life got busy, I hadn’t picked it back up… Even after the Add1Challenge started. So, I was excited to get back to it.
I made it 30 days already in my challenge! I edited out about 3 full minutes of dead air during one subject switch, because I had talked myself into a bit of a dead end with my vocabulary. But I did it without looking at notes! Yay! I don’t see much progress with my day to day studying, but looking at this video, versus the day 0 video, I’m happy with my improvement. So parlare un po di Italiano… Sono molto felice, è meraviglioso. 🙂
So I read this really interesting ebook about “organizing” your language knowledge to actually be able to speak at the proficiency level you’re at… Instead of staring off into the distance and attempting to remember sentence structure for the verb you want to use. One of the author’s tips was about forming language “islands,” or pre-prepared monologues on a lot of different topics. So, if someone asks you where you’re from, instead of me just saying, “I live in Oklahoma,” I could say “I live in Oklahoma. I like it. I like it because…” And then the conversation wouldn’t devolve into yes/no questions.
So, after going to Italy in 2014, I attempted to learn Italian on and off for most of 2015. I bought some books, took a few tutoring sessions on iTalki.com, and loved them… Then my computer decided to be super slow, I started working on The Bridge, went on a work trip for a trade show, had a few colds, got a dog, and I forgot about my language learning.
Then in January I found, applied, and was accepted to the #Add1Challenge community. The goal is to have a 15 minute conversation with a native speaker COMPLETELY IN YOUR TARGET LANGUAGE (in my case, Italian) after 90 days of study and practice. I have a mastermind group to keep myself accountable and motivated, and a study group to actually work on the same language with at the same time.