This is How a Break From Spanish Did My Brain Good

While I was in the US, I took a break from Spanish. And when I first got back here I thought that maybe that had been a mistake because I was really struggling to remember anything in Spanish. Oh no, what have I done?! I thought. My brain broke! A mere week later, I realized the rest did a body brain good. Immersion language learning benefits extend to adults, too!

After all, I use concepts I’ve learned starting on the same day I’ve learned them.


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Sometimes, I feel like language learning is like climbing a tree. It’s scary, difficult, and yet pretty awesome when you get to the top. I’m not at the top.

Returning to Classes

This year marks the beginning of two things: the second language book in the series and increasing my class time from two hours per week to three hours. I decided to have more class time in an effort to learn and practice my language skills that much more.

During my second class of the year, I realized that I didn’t feel so frustrated with myself. The rest actually did do my brain some good! Eagerly, I took the final test in my book. Even though it felt again like I’d forgotten everything, I actually did okay on the test.

I’m stepping up my game

Another reason I added more classes this semester is because I realized that I must step up my game! In addition to my class time, I added Duolingo back into my rotation. I tested out of an entire skill set! With that accomplishment, I’m into the section of Duolingo that corresponds better with what I’m doing in my Spanish classes.

By the way, one of the reasons I like Duolingo so much (besides it being FREE) is that they’ve added conversation bots. You can listen while reading along and this really suits my learning style.

Continuing with upping my game, I am listening to the radio in my car now and listening to more Spanish language music. I need to develop my listening skills, along with my speaking skills.

Learning languages as an expat

I’ve complained that learning a language in immersion style isn’t easy. Now that I know that it still takes a lot of work to learn a language, even while immersed, I’m feeling better about my personal progress. I have learned a lot in a short time. Even when I feel like the biggest idiot due to my poor language skills, I still use the skills I have. My goal is to be conversational, meaning I can participate in and follow conversations.

One additional, really cool thing

During my son’s futbol (soccer) games, I’ve started talking to another mom. She doesn’t speak English. I speak with her in my broken Spanish. We keep conversing and I try to listen closely and work towards understanding better. Though I miss a lot, I know each conversation I have with a patient person will help me towards my goals.

I am so thankful this mom started talking to me and continues to do so slowly and with gestures.

My brain isn’t broken and my Spanish isn’t forgotten

Luckily, it takes a lot longer than 2 weeks to forget 8 months worth of Spanish. Even though it was more difficult to recall words once we returned from the US, I made a discovery once we were back home in Mexico. After I resumed Spanish classes, I realized that I feel refreshed. My frustration levels at my slow progress are much less. The less frustrated I am, the easier it is to retain new information.

Sometimes, a break does the brain some good!

How is your language learning progressing? If you are already fluent in multiple languages, did you experience frustration with learning? Do you have any tips that helped or are helping you with your new language?

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