At first, I mostly started to learn Chinese because a friend suggested it. I was bored, so learning anything new sounded good.
After one term of weekly evening classes, I found myself progressing at a steady pace. If I kept going, I thought, I might be able to communicate with my grandmother, who lost all knowledge of English after her stroke.
After the second term, motivated by my rapid progress, I was determined to keep going. I enrolled in an immersion type Study Tour, where I lived at Zhejiang University and at the Beijing Institute of Education for a couple of months, learning Mandarin as well as doing some extra-curricular courses in Chinese culture, painting, calligraphy, and so on.
If you try to make learning a part of your life every day, you’ll retain so much more than if you just used it during a class once a week.
During the second leg of the Study Tour, I met a beautiful Chinese girl, and we became friends, keeping in touch after the tour was over. Eight months later, she comes to visit me. Everything just seems to fit and we start to date. It was a long-distance relationship at first, as I found a new job here, and she had to go back to finish her Master's Degree. I visited her in China five months later, meeting her parents and entire family over the Chinese New Year break.
We've been engaged since then! My life has completely turned around—I can speak more fluently (I can speak to my grandmother, and she’s very happy that she can listen to me ramble on about things), I am learning more every day with my fiancée as well as the fantastic night classes, and my goal to be able to achieve reasonable fluency is not that far away!
I consume lots of material from many sources—songs, textbooks, movies, sites like LinguaLift, to try and get a complete picture of a language. One source is just never enough to understand a language. There are always variations and regional differences. There’s always something to review or re-learn when you forget. If you try to make it a part of your life every day, you’ll retain so much more than if you just used it during a class once a week.
If you also use LinguaLift, we’d love to hear how it makes your life better. Write to: firstname.lastname@example.org — We can’t wait to hear your story!