Well, it’s month into the new year, and so far 2016 hasn’t been too bad. I’ve been back in classes for about three weeks now, and between classes and work, I’m finally settling into a good routine for this new semester
As far as language learning is concerned, Korean has temporarily been put on the back burner. I’m taking Mandarin classes again, so I’ve mainly been focusing on reviewing old vocabulary for that class. It’s amazing how easy it is to forget Chinese characters.
A couple of days ago, my teacher emailed the class asking if any of us were interested in doing a language exchange with a Chinese international student. To be honest, my first instinct was actually to decline the offer. Mandarin isn’t as big of a priority to me as Korean is, so I didn’t feel like going out of my way to meet someone to work on the language. Also, I’m generally terrified of experiences like this, where I have to speak to a native. Speaking is one of my weaker skills, and I’m a perfectionist, so I’m afraid of sounding like an idiot in another language.
The more I thought about that, though, the more I realized that it would be stupid to pass up this opportunity. I’ve always thought that my Mandarin classes didn’t emphasize speaking enough, and focused too much on reading and vocabulary. Besides, the whole point of a language exchange is to improve your speaking/listening ability. Nobody expects me to be perfect (except me, of course). So I decided to be brave and sign up for the opportunity.
My teacher got us in contact with each other, and we set up a meeting time for tomorrow. I’m still completely terrified, but I am glad for this opportunity to improve. My language partner texted me a little bit in both English and Chinese yesterday, and I spent an embarrassingly long time composing my replies to make them as flawless as possible, but any progress is good progress.
I’ll be sure to post updates on how it goes within the next few days. To all of my more experienced blogging friends — any advice for a terrified newbie?