This semester I am taking a Japanese language course and a Chinese language course through my university, and I am also continuing to study Korean on my own. When I was registering for classes, this seemed like a good idea. I thought it would be fun.
After my first day of classes, I’m realizing this may not be that fun after all.
Don’t get me wrong — I’m still very excited about this semester. Like I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been looking forward to learning Japanese for a while now, and this is basically my last chance to take an actual Japanese class. And this is also the last chance I’ll have to take Chinese with all of my Chinese-learning buddies.
But I can tell now that it will definitely be a bigger struggle than I imagined.
My brain is still 100% in Korean mode from my 6 weeks in Korea, so walking into Chinese class and suddenly being expected to converse with my Chinese teacher about my summer was a struggle. She would ask me a question, and then I would open my mouth, almost answer in Korean, and then sit there with my mouth gaped open for a minute while I tried to translate my brain into Mandarin. #thestruggle
The good news is that it looks like my Chinese class will be a lot more focused on speaking this semester. (Weirdly enough, in my last post, only a few hours ago, I said that I wished this would happen. Magical.) Almost half of the class is composed of native Chinese speakers, so we when we do partner work we have an actual native sitting there working with us. It’s great.
The bad news is that I’ve been really lackadaisical about Chinese for the past year. Last semester I put just enough effort into the class to get good grades, and didn’t really put any extra effort in to actually remember vocabulary or grammar points. I haven’t even thought about Chinese since class ended back in early May. I’m so rusty, and I’ve forgotten about half of what I learned last semester.
Do I have any concrete plan to help me survive this semester without getting totally overwhelmed? I doubt there’s any failsafe solution, but there are my main goals for each language for the time being:
- Korean – maintain my current daily routine without adding anything else until I have a solid handle on Japanese and Chinese.
- Japanese – Continue to stay slightly ahead of the rest of the class so that I don’t start feeling overwhelmed. Watch a Japanese drama to get more familiar with the general flow of the language.
- Chinese – Spend as much time as possible throughout the next week reviewing EVERYTHING from the past semester. If possible practice some listening skills as well so that I don’t feel like I’m drowning when my teacher speaks more than two sentences at a time.
I’m hoping these are just first day jitters and that things will seem less stressful in a few weeks. Fingers crossed!