On Day 90, I was able to have a 20-minute conversation in Italian.
I am now at the end of a 2-week Italian study break after completing the challenge. My brain needed a rest. But with my trip to Italy getting closer, I’m jumping back into studying now.
I wanted to give a quick rundown of my thoughts about the whole challenge, now that it’s complete and I’ve had a minute to process things.
The #Add1Challenge goal: To set a non-negotiable study goal, follow it, track your progress (recording a YAY, NAY, or break day), and speak with a native speaker entirely in your target language for 15 minutes at the end of 90 days.
We received emails sit study tips and resources every day for the first 15 days. We were also divided into (optional) mastermind and/or study groups. The rest was up to us. In order to be eligible to complete the Add1Challenge, we also had to complete 3 mini-challenges, and upload progress videos for Day 0, Day 30, Day 60, and Day 90.
Here are my #Add1Challenge takeaways:
- The Add1Challenge community is the single best source of motivation for studying outside of school I’ve ever experienced. The A1C Italian community was meraviglioso! I highly recommend joining study groups for A1C. Everyone gave me a general sense of accountability, especially because my study group met once a week on Skype.
- I set my study goal to be 4 days a week, for 45 minutes per day. A bit on the light side, but I was able to surpass it on a regular basis, which was motivating. I only took all of my allowed break days while I was sick with a cough and couldn’t speak.
- Sometimes you progress in leaps and bounds, and sometimes you can’t see that you’re actually progressing at all. That’s what the monthly update videos are for. I’m glad I had them to re-watch.
- I went from “Ciao” and “Mi chiamo Tina” to having a (still very basic) linear conversation! That daily routine, even if I did the bare minimum amount of studying, really had an impact. Without the A1C, I probably would have gone to bed without studying at all for half of those three months.
- Posting videos of your face on Youtube will always feel weird. You just have to ignore that.
- Listening to your own voice feels the same in a second language as it does in your first language. Another thing to ignore.
- I mentioned the Italian learners, but all the challengers were highly motivating, no matter the language. Watching their videos as they progressed was inspiring! (Because if they can do it, so can I.)
- italki is the single best learning resource I have ever found and is tied with the A1C for motivation. I clicked with 90% of the tutors I booked lessons with. And I would get corrections on journal entries from native speakers.
- Committing to a finite amount of learning resources is important. There are too many out there to keep up with them all. Figure out which ones work best and leave the rest.
- I had a cough for almost 6 full weeks right in the middle of the challenge. I did get a little panicked about my progress then. At Day 60 I felt like I had regressed, but I doubled up on my italki lessons during the last 3 weeks of the challenge and made it! If it weren’t for the A1C community I wouldn’t have bounced back as fast.
- The most successful way I found to not get overwhelmed about my 90 day goal…. Was to ignore it. Haha! But it worked, right? And the advice of the other A1Cers who had done the video before helped as well.
- I met some of the best tutors on italki thanks to recommendations from other A1C participants!
- Another grazie mille to my tutor Blessy!
The Add1Challenge is something I would definitely recommend to anyone who wants to make a lot of progress in a short amount of time! I’m going to join another challenge in the fall in my push for conversational fluency. I definitely wouldn’t have been able to complete a 20-minute conversation at the end of 90 days without tracking my study time or participating in mini-challenges and study group!
List of Favorite Resources
- My friend’s great new resource website: Language Learning Library
- The Iceberg Project Blog
- News in Slow Italian