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Fatma’s Story

Fatma grew up speaking Arabic in a Sudanese home. When she was six years old, her family moved to Egypt to escape persecution. Three years they left Egypt, where they had faced racism and other hardships, and settled in the U.S. Fatma picked up English quickly and her Arabic atrophied considerably. Coming to feel she had lost part of herself, …

Hannah’s Story

“I worked hard to be mediocre…” but Hannah went on to become a much more effective learner. As an undergrad, she tested among the top ten students of Arabic in the U.S. and won prestigious funding and study opportunities.

The Secret to Optimizing Your Language Practice Time

“A world in which deliberate practice is a normal part of life would be one in which people had more volition and satisfaction.” Anders Ericsson ⏱ Reading time: 2 minutes The previous sections have talked about finding a vision for your language ability and determining the steps you will take to reach your goals. If you have a clear vision …

Seeing the Future: Why You Should Practice Visualization

“You cannot advance if you cannot visualize the end from the start.” Nabil N. Jamal ⏱ Reading time: 3 minutes Our brains respond easily to pictures, images, movies, and things that excite them.  Visual cues are powerful! Especially for maintaining motivation and achieving goals.  In language learning, mental visualization is a tremendously helpful strategy to help you leverage the power …

Break it Down: How to Hone Your Language Skills Fast

“Gritty people train at the edge of their comfort zone. They zero in on one narrow aspect of their performance and set a stretch goal to improve it.” Angela Duckworth ⏱ Read Time: 2.5 minutes These principles are adapted from a book by Daniel Coyle called “The Talent Code,” check it out here. Do you find yourself studying your target …

Why Journaling is the Key to Active Learning

Learning without thought is labour lost; thought without learning is perilous. Confucious ⏱ Reading time: 2 minutes How can keeping a journal help you learn a language? For one thing, it helps you understand yourself better. Your mind is your primary language learning tool, so keeping tabs on it is important.  Writing in a journal involves reflection, which is critical …

Turning Perfectionism Into a Strength

Don’t aim for perfection. Aim for ‘better than yesterday’. Izey Victoria Odiase ⏱ Reading time: 3-5 minutes. In an ideal world, we could travel to a foreign country and communicate with the natives effortlessly and flawlessly–no grammar mistakes, no contextual misunderstandings. However, we all know that such a world doesn’t exist, and as the saying goes: nobody’s perfect.  The real …

Setting Your Course

“Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed.” Paolo Coelho ⏱ Reading time: 3 Minutes Does hearing the word “goal” outside of a soccer game make you start to sweat? You’re not alone.  Goals can be …

Why You Should Skip Comparing

Comparison is the thief of joy. Theordore Roosevelt ⏱ Reading time: 3 minutes Comparison is a dangerous poison to the language learner–but it’s one that we’ve all gotten ourselves sick on.  Comparing our language ability to others’ can be enticing for lots of reasons. One of the most compelling reasons for us to compare ourselves with others is because we …

Mindfulness

An overhead view of a highway interchange

Making Peace With Our Mind, Our Most Important Tool  “We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.” Buddha ⏱ Reading time: 4 minutes One of our most powerful tools in learning a language is being self-aware. When we talk about self-awareness and language learning, we’re talking about: Stay …