I was talking with a friend the other day about learning Chinese and how slow the progress can feel at times. 

 

Living in China provides a pretty good rationale for me to learn Chinese but I was curious what others have found to keep motivated / keep interested in learning.

 

Any tips / suggestions?  Or what has worked for you?

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I think having a long term goal is paramount to your motivation. For instance, I would like to work and live in China one day. This keeps me going with Chinese.

 

I however also have Chinese web projects, which requires me to keep up-to-date on Chinese. This allows me to learn and grow a side project.

 

Another factor is the music. I love music. So finding interesting Chinese music keeps me motivated.

 

I think the best is just to immerse yourself in Chinese everyday, even just for a little bit. You might not feel like you are learning, but in fact you are. I listen to songs, read Chinese blogs/websites and sometimes watch an episode of a Chinese drama everyday.

That's good advice - obviously I"m a little biased but I think the side web projects are pretty useful, really forces the issue.

 

I've seen this hurdle video before but watching it again, I felt it was relevant for studying Chinese for some reason.

I hit those walls alot. I live in Us and the only way to practice chinese is to use qq or msn. So i try as often as my shy self can to talk online. 

I have taken 2 years of formal classes and for my degree i dont need anymore and i almost wrote it off to well i can say somethings in chinese and do it on my own when i have time. then an opportunity to win a scholarship to study chinese for a year in china at a great university landed in my lap. suddenly i have a new fire inside me to learn more. i was quiet lazy my last semesters so i have alot to make up for. So everyday for at least an hour a day i do something that is actually studying. the rest of the day i am listening to movies, music and chatting on qq. while not as immersed as i will be in china it has gotten me motivated to keep learning. 

Good topic to discuss! I've been learning Chinese now for three years (1,5 years in Finland and another 1,5 years in China) and it's not always easy to keep up the motivation. This summer have been a good (well, bad) example. I haven't really studied at all! I find Chinese very interesting and I have to use Chinese everyday, but learning new things is a different thing.

 

I'm now on a level where I can manage in my daily life. If I don't know a word I can use other words to explain it. But I need to get to the next level and it requires a lot of work. I'm starting my BA in Chinese in September and want to be well prepared.

 

How did I get back my motivation? I heard a fellow Finnish person speak Chinese! I felt that I can't be worse than him :) So I decided to get back to studying. So sometimes a little competition is good.

I agree with Sara.  I become the most motivated when a foreigner whom I respect can speak better Chinese than I.  These people are also my best teachers- I listen and imitate.  

Sara - one thing that I used to do with Spanish, which sounds kind of lame but can also be useful, is to schedule a 'Spanish weekend'.

Basically once a month there'd be one weekend where after work ends, every single thing thereafter was Spanish. There are obvious things like reading, speaking, watching & socializing but I would go as far as force myself 'to think in Spanish'.  (For your 'inner voice' to be in Spanish as well.)  

It takes some getting used to but becomes more natural after you do it.  "I need to shower. I can't believe he said that to me. blah blah blah, all thoughts in Spanish. When first starting it's a lot of first thought in native language, then translate, but the more you do it, you start thinking in the language.  It's weird.

Maybe try that once or twice & see what you think.  Consider it a challenge or something to see if you can make it. :)

Even though most of my life is in Chinese now, it would still be a bif challenge to have an 100% Chinese weekend. No American TV series I like, well that could be quite easily be changed to Chinese TV. But the most difficult thing would be to think in Chinese all the time.

Thank you for the tip Brandon, I have to consider this :)

Brandon I like this idea very much.  I think I shall try it soonish.

Cheers 乔纳森

This year I hit a very low point in my Chinese studies.  I nearly quit my course as I was quite ill with pneumonia and recovering from it took a very long time. I had no energy to do very much at all.  At some point I realised how important it was for me to continue my Chinese studies.  So gradually I got back into my study routine.  It was a Herculean effort and I felt I was trying to undo the Gordian knot catching up for all that I had missed. Yet somehow I managed it.  I have watched my fellow students drop out one by one by one. There aren't so many of us left compared to the beginning of the course.  I have just about completed five units of work.  It hasn't always been smooth sailing and it hasn't always been enjoyable. 

Now  I have only three more units of work to finish my new degree. It won't get me a better job, it certainly won't get me more pay, it won't get me any recognition from my colleagues.  However, when I finish my course of study I will have the satisfaction of knowing that I have achieved something for myself.  I find studying languages immensely satisfying and rewarding. So the satisfaction of having learned another language is enough to keep me motivated and interested. 

Cheers 乔纳森

I have been learning Chinese for almost 2 years now and keep motivated by helping others to learn (No I don't teach Chinese, although basic Chinese is no problem 嘻嘻). I'm only learning as a hobby and maybe too soon in my studies I took on the herculean task of setting up a QT room (Voice chatroom/Classroom) that provides Chinese and English lessons (Check discussion: 2 of the most useful programs for Chinese learning

I like doing it because I would like to help those who find it hard to find people to practice with (Including Chinese people who don't have anyone to practice English with).

Doing this helps me to practice whenever I want and I occassionally have to prepare material for the Chinese classes which requires me to study even when I don't want to. Apart from all that, I have made some great friends which is also good motivation.

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