It has been just under two weeks since I was given my practice plan by Aggie at ChinesePod. With only a couple of hours to go before I jump on a plane and head to Beijing, I thought I’d make a few quick notes on my progress so far.
In terms of sticking to the plan (1 lesson every two days), I’m still on track. The pace seems to be reasonable for now and whilst it would be nice to cover more lessons, I feel it wouldn’t be possible to cover them in as much depth.
The lessons selected for my practice plan have been interesting. They relate to New Year celebrations, family and travel. All of these are relevant to my upcoming trip to China which is nice. There were a couple of lessons in the practice plan which I had already covered so I have switched these for some alternatives.
One area of the my study which I need to improve is in trying to work Chinese words and phrases into my daily life. I just haven’t been able to find an excuse (yet) to proclaim my burning desire to set of firecrackers in our garden. This is still an area where I feel I need to improve.
I had an interesting discussion with Larry the other day in which I identified two of my goals when learning Chinese. The first was to be able to go through a normal day and speak only Chinese, not a word of English. That might be some way off at the moment, but the second goal is probably more achievable: I’d like to write the occasional blog post in Chinese. To be honest, there is no reason I can’t start this now (see excuse below). Obviously I’m going to be restricted to simple sentences to start with but this would give me a chance to practice what I have been learning.
The next challenge I face is how to keep up with the practice plan as we travel around China. I’m unlikely to be able to stick to my schedule as I have no idea where I will be on any particular day. I have downloaded all the lessons just in case, but my instinct is to take a break from the schedule and try and make the most of being in China to use as much Chinese as I possibly can. I’m thinking of it as a chance to practice all I have learned so far.
So my action plan going forward is to:
- Speak some Chinese in China
- Keep a record of the words/phrases I learn whilst away
- Write a blog post in Chinese each week (after I return)
- Persuade Alicia to use more Chinese at home
In the meantime though, it’s time to chuck a few clothes in a bag (leaving lots of space for more shopping) jump on the train to Heathrow and prepare for the cold weather in Beijing. See you all when I return.