Today is special. It marks day-100 on my journey of becoming a Spanish speaker. Just a hundred days ago, I started all the way from scratch. I only knew one word, “hola”. I was sure to persevere in my study of the language though. I knew I wouldn’t quit. Not before learning the whole language.
There wasn’t really any serious reason for me to want to learn the language, if viewed from inherent observation. I simply wanted to learn Spanish because of a really cool Netflix series I was watching and the Spanish music in it sounded great! I remember watching an episode one night (101 days ago), and I said to myself, “Okay, I’m gonna start learning Spanish from tomorrow. No matter what.”
And really that’s how I started learning. Just curiosity and desire. Curiosity and desire sparked by a Netflix series.
The next day, I did a lot of research. I discovered a specialization course (which I could audit for free) on my favorite learning platform – Coursera, and I also found out a great app – Duolingo to make learning the language a little more fun and challenging. Then the work began…
It was really fun at first to discover and get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of new words you could see, and the first week or so, I was having that so-called feeling of beginner’s high. Surprisingly, I still feel great whenever I get settled to learn some more (which is everyday really), the curiosity hasn’t faded away yet (and I don’t think it will anytime even in the distant future).
Presently, I hold myself at a great learning stage. I’m really well versed in the present tense, and am beginning to delve deeper into the past. I have a good enough vocabulary and I’m aware of quite a few helpful verbs. This is the first time I’m learning a foreign language, and I’m really in a sense doing it all by myself. The internet is of an enormous help. I like to believe that we live in an era now where you can basically learn stuff without spending a single dime. And till now, I proudly haven’t spent any dinero (money in Spanish) on my learning process. Everything has been done through the internet and my personal notes.
The fact that I started learning a whole new language because of a Netflix series intrigues me. But I’m happy that I did start learning a new language.
Here are a few things I’ve learned about learning a language for 100 days:
- The results aren’t quite noticeable early on: One huge thing I observed is that while learning a foreign language you don’t really see the results when you want to see them the most. Or at the very beginning, you simply won’t find yourself making a load of progress. You just got to trust the right process and keep learning. Then from time to time, you’ll be able to start making phrases of your own; in your mind. That feels really good! And is a great sign for a language learner. So you want to be able to persevere at the very beginning. And for that…
- You got to be having a strong “why?”: This may sound counter-intuitive because of my reason which would rather look foolish to some to be wanting to learn a language, but I did have a strong reason, though foolish, it was strong. I knew why I wanted to learn Spanish and I would do anything in my willing determination to succeed as a Spanish speaker. That’s what has made me push to learn little by little, something new, everyday.
- You need to immerse yourself into the language to actually learn it: Lastly, if you don’t become “one with the language”, the learning process becomes really hard. We need a lot of things that would truly immerse us into the language to actually learn it. There isn’t any good in scribbling down hundreds of words which you really won’t need to introduce yourself and have a short and normal conversation at the beginning. And everyone has a different style to learn. That’s why school education of a foreign language just NEVER works. There’s just one system and they make you by-heart all the words like a damn robotic machine, instead of actually immersing you to the language. Note, “language” does not necessarily mean culture. You want to try and become a new-born child again. You need to learn how they do it. By listening and immersing their emotions into their words. Just listen to the language being spoken, and aim for maximum immersion.
Learning a language is fun. It shouldn’t feel something like a burden subject for school children to get grades on. School makes you hate the art of language learning. But learning a language is fun, if you’re smart enough to figure out how to make it that way (hint: it’s really easy, just do YOU.)
I’m really grateful to have stepped onto this brilliant journey, and the first 100 days have been amazing. I can’t wait to see myself in another 100 days and then again when I’m finally, completely fluent. ¡Adiós!