One thing that is important in life in general is also applicable for language learning: setting goals to achieve results. I started studying Spanish four months ago on italki, and that really had an impact in my life. Within a few weeks, I started teaching as a professional teacher on italki - I teach Swedish and English there - I decided that I was going to become a Spanish teacher, and I decided that I was going to move to Colombia the following year. During the first month of my journey of Spanish, I probably took 6 classes a week with tutors around the world. I saw great progress and I felt that I would be able to achieve my goals.
I had never studied Spanish before so I had to pass 3 courses in upper secondary school to be able to enter the Spanish program at the university in my city. I finished all of my courses during the fall and I passed them with ease, probably due to the fact that I took so many classes during the first month. However, when I got back to work the following month - I worked in upper secondary school as an English and Swedish teacher - my life was getting increasingly stressful. I was under a lot of stress in my "normal" full-time time job, being in a dysfunctional workplace with many students that came from very challenging backgrounds. On top of that, I worked 15 hours a week on Italki. And of course, I still did Spanish 4 times a week, and I still had to pass my Spanish courses. Something had to change.
I quit my job and I couldn't be happier with my decision. Now I am teaching full-time on Italki, and I leave for Colombia within a few months. Now, everyone doesn't have the luxury of being able to quit their job, but you do have the luxury of setting goals in your life - whichever they might be. For me, learning Spanish, becoming a Spanish teacher and moving to Colombia - all of that was more important to me than saving 2k USD a month. So set goals for yourself, and regardless if you want to take a language exam, move to another country, being able to read novels in your target language - be disciplined and don't stray from the path. With time, you will reach your goals. The key here being is that you actually have goals that you are working towards from the beginning. And when you finally reach your goals, you make sure that you set new goals for yourself - just like in life.
Starting a YouTube Channel
A great motivator for me has been my YouTube Channel. I started my channel after a few weeks of learning Spanish, and I upload all my Skype conversations with my Spanish tutors every week. Being able to see my monthly progress is really fun, and I enjoy the process even if it is time consuming at times. When I move to Colombia I am gonna continue with my channel and make videos about food, the nightlife, do interviews - and so on. Again, this connects to my goal of learning Spanish, as this will force me to keep providing content in the future where I will have to use my Spanish on a daily basis. It is also great to be able to help other language learners who are going through the same process as I am, as they can listen to my conversations and practice their Spanish.
My language challenges
My first language goal was to reach a high level of Spanish. I hope that my Spanish, after one year in Colombia, will be at a C1-level. Two weeks ago, I made a new language challenge for myself: I decided to start learning Portuguese. I hesitated at first since I was afraid that I was going to confuse myself and start using the wrong words all the time. But, I decided to go for it. Yesterday I made yet another goal for myself - I am going to start studying Italian again. So now I am going to take classes 6 times a week: 2 classes of Spanish, 2 classes of Portuguese, and 2 classes of Italian. This works, since my new goal actually incorporates my earlier goals. All of my conversations will of course be uploaded to my channel. I aim to do this for a couple of months after which I am hoping to do a video with a professional teacher on italki that speaks 5 of the languages that I already know or that I am currently learning: Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, English and Danish. He is the only one on italki who speaks all of those languages, so I am hoping that he wants to be a part of my language challenge!
If you have actually gotten this far I think you have realized what I am trying to say - goals matter. If you never set any goals for yourself, then how are you going to achieve anything? When I teach on italki, I can see which of my students are motivated and which aren't. And believe me when I say that 95% of the time it is the students who set goals for themselves, who are disciplined and motivated, who show up on time every week - those are the students who end up getting the best results. You can do that too. I wish you great success in your language journey.
Hi! My name is Pontus, and I am a licensed Swedish and English teacher from Sweden. I speak Swedish, English, Danish, Spanish and Italian. Right now I am trying to learn Portuguese, as well as working on improving my Spanish and Italian. You can follow me and my journey of learning languages and moving to Colombia on my YouTube Channel meta logos