My Classes Are Helping Me So Much

photo of person holding a bible

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It has been 4 weeks since I’ve start my online Spanish course and it has been helping me a lot. Not just with learning Spanish, but just keeping me sane!

With no job on the horizon, I really had to keep busy doing something, and because now I HAVE to get up, it’s has helped me a lot! If I didn’t have my classes I know I would be getting up at 10 or half 10am, and although it’s not late, I can’t sleep at night when I wake up late in the morning. I would dread waking up in the morning and thinking “Another day of doing absolutely nothing”, and that would just set me up for a bad day.

Second reason is that I get homework from both of my teachers, and although it doesn’t take that long to do, it’s something to do! Plus I enjoy the homework because it’s reinforcing what I studied that day.

And finally…. I’m doing something.

That to me is the most important thing. I’m improving myself. I really really want to be able to be fluent in the language. I want to prove to myself that I can do it; that if I put the effort into it then one day I will be able to do the Spanish language exam (DELE) C1 and pass it with flying colours, maybe even become totally native and get C2!

I put so much effort into my one year course that I just completed and I got 98%, 99% and 100% in all of my modules, and I’m proud of myself because I really did put so much effort into the year. I know myself that I’m not gifted in school and that’s ok, but during that year I really wanted to do well and prove to myself that if I put the hard work in then I will be rewarded.

When I got my results it showed me that if I put the effort in then I will do well, or reasonably well anyway, so that’s why I really want to study hard, go to my online classes, take private classes, and just dedicate myself to the language. For the moment anyway. I’m not sure what I will be doing in September but for the moment my goal is to study Spanish.

So….the fact I’m doing something and not making me go literally crazy is my main reason!

I’ve been annoyed at myself for the past two weeks as I seem to making silly mistakes while speaking, but I think it’s just that my mind is getting all muddled up with all this new grammar and new vocabulary that it’s just taking my brain a while to process it all… so hopefully I’ll start seeing improvements soon.

But apart from that I know 100% that the classes are helping me and I’m going to try and keep taking them for as long as possible!

Aisling

A Little Spanish Test

This is my third week of having Spanish online classes, and one of my teachers told us yesterday that we would be having an oral Spanish test!

She told us that she will pick a photo and we have to look at it and then she will ask us questions about the photos, like where is it, what are the people wearing, what are they doing etc. It is actually like the oral exam in the Spanish DELE. (I have never done it but I have read about it)

She explained that its to make sure that we have a high enough Spanish level to keep moving on in the book, so maybe we might be getting more difficult grammar in the future. I am not too worried because I can talk about things with no problems. I have to review clothes though and how to say they are wearing because I am not too sure on that, but overall I think it will be fine. I think I will get my husband to pick a few photos for me later and I can practise with him!

My classes are going well though. I really enjoy them and even if I know the grammar already, theres always something to learn. There is one student I am not too fussed about as he kind of disrupts the class and he talks rubbish and off topic (because he likes the attention), but apart from that the others are fine. Two students from Australia left the course unfortunately, and then one new student arrived, so I think it is usual for students to come and go. Anyone can join every Monday so it is great to have that option instead of having to wait until a certain date to start! I have nothing much to do right now so I am going to continue with my classes for another while!

Also you can pay weekly which I do, so you are not tied with having to go for months at a time!

So we will see how this little test goes tomorrow… my first one in Spanish!

Aisling

 

Learning Spanish Online

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When I returned to Ireland and started doing a course here, my dedication to Spanish went out the window! I tried to study it when I had time but passing exams and making sure my assignments were handed up in time where my main priorities, so I haven’t really spoken/studied loads of Spanish!

Now that my course is finished, and now that I have loads of time doing nothing because of this pandemic and the lack of jobs, myself and my husband decided that I should start taking online Spanish lessons. I always wanted to get back into it and now is the perfect time to start again. Plus it will keep me busy for a while!

I signed up to AIL Madrid and so far I’m really enjoying it! I started last week for two 50 minute classes each day and there were other students from Australia, China, Tunisia and America. Some were already in Spain but studying online for the time being, and then when they open their school then those students will go back to studying there.

There is a course for 20 classes a week but last week I wanted to try the 10 classes just to see how I liked it and how I would get on. I really enjoyed it so I signed up for the Intensive week, which is 20 classes a week, or 4 classes per day. I start at 8am and finished at 11:50 (Irish time). I could choose an afternoon time but morning is better for me.

Although it isn’t great for speaking practice, the teachers go through grammar, we do exercises together and we read small articles, which is fine by me. I talk with my husband and I’m also planning on starting iTalki again to practise speaking.

Ideally I would love to go to Madrid to live and study there, but these online classes are great and I’m already learning new words and grammar.

The first week I realised suddenly that I really needed to learn my numbers! There were articles with loads of 1876, 1998, 1276 and 1999, and I had to quickly use my phone to look them up in case she asked me to read them…. so I told my husband to write 10 numbers in my notebook and I had to write them out.

This helped a lot and now I’m much better at reading them! Each day he has been writing a list for me and it’s been really beneficial!

I was a bit nervous joining the class because I was afraid in case the class would be too difficult and I wouldn’t be able to join in but thankfully the class is perfect! My speaking is better than the rest, probably because I talk with my husband, but grammar wise I’m on the same level.

So although I’m jobless (still), at least I am keeping myself busy studying and improving myself, so the money spent on the course is definitely worth it in my opinion!

Aisling

So how did my iTalki lesson go?

So I’ve had my first iTalki lesson on Friday evening and it went well! It was my first time so I wasn’t sure how the whole thing worked. I scheduled it at 5pm and a minute before she contacted me and said she was ready.

So we spoke about my life and just things in general like Ireland and what I do. She asked me if I wanted to talk about something specific but I didn’t plan on anything because it was just a 30 minute trial lesson.

I was a bit nervous at the beginning because I hadn’t really spoken to anyone other than my husband in Spanish for a while, and because I forgot a lot of words it wasn’t as easy to speak as before. But I slowly started to calm down and spoke a bit better.

She wrote some words and phrases that I forgot and it came up on the screen so I could see them which was cool.

I was reading that it is best to go through a few teachers and pick ones that you feel most comfortable with, so for my next lessons I will try a few more people and see who I feel the best with. I also read that some people might not go and have a lesson with a certain teacher for a while so that when they start a lesson with them again then they will have a lot to talk about.

I think with this kind of thing it’s very daunting because first you are talking to someone that you never met before in a language that you aren’t comfortable speaking in, then then fact that something could go wrong with the connection and maybe you might not hear them or see them! In my lesson I couldn’t hear her at the beginning and I was starting to panic! But then it was ok!

I remember seeing iTalki months ago when I was in Mexico and I was thinking ‘But sure I’m in a Spanish speaking country already, that would be a waste of money to pay when I’m already in Mexico’. Then I read a review about the website and about one person who was already in China and they still have online lessons with Chinese speakers so that they can still practice at home. So then I realised that it actually is a good idea.

And now that I am in Ireland I felt the only way to be able to improve my Spanish would be to take classes.. which I then found out were way too expensive. So then I thought that online learning would be the next best thing.

So I will have a scroll down through the huge list of available teachers to see which one I would like to try out next. I think it is a fantastic website and I regret not using it before now…. but as always….

better late than never.

Here is the link for the website: italki language learning

Aisling

I signed up with iTalki!

So after coming back from Austria, me and my husband have started to speak more Spanish to one another. It’s hard though because the environment we are in is only English, and I don’t feel comfortable speaking Spanish in front of my family, so we have really just been speaking it when we are alone.

I remember months ago reading about the website iTalki and how you can chat to people all over the world, so I decided to go and have another look at it. I wanted to get back into speaking Spanish so I looked at private language places where I am now and they were just too expensive. So that went out the window!

I signed up to iTalki and it seems quite good. I put around €30 on my account, and then I chose a person who I wanted to have a class with. You can have a 30 minute class with them for half the price of a normal class as a tester class. The lady I chose is from Mexico and she charges around €8 for a class, with prices varying for the duration of the class. I was able to choose the day, time and how long it would be for. Then I organised the way we could have our chat and I picked Skype.

The cool thing about it is that you can choose the price of the class. Some can be over €20 whereas others could charge €5.00, so it’s good that you can decide how much you are willing to spend.

As much as I like talking to my husband in Spanish, there really is only so much you can talk about. When we did try and have practice conversations it was difficult to find a topic to discuss when we know pretty much everything about each other! That’s one of the main reasons why I want to try out iTalki!

I know my Spanish has weakened since I started going to college again, but at least if I do this maybe once or twice a week I will feel like I’m putting the effort into it once more. Even now after coming back from Austria I’m slowly starting to remember words again. At one stage I forgot what the word for ‘dog’ was in Spanish, which I was shocked about!!

So I’m looking forward to the class and hopefully my Skype will work fine. I always worry because electronics aren’t always reliable and I’m afraid that it wont work, but I rang my husband on it as a tester and it seemed fine, so fingers crossed!

Aisling

I’ve Been Busy

Since I’ve started writing this blog years ago, I’ve been trying to hit a target of 4 blogs or more per month… and this month I’ve just hadn’t had the time to write anything!

I’ve been busy writing writing essays, going to class, and usually I wake up tired because my mind just doesn’t stop racing when I go to bed, so it’s been hard to write anything here. So I do need to try and start writing something on this blog of mine!

Anyway, my course is going fine. I’ve noticed how a few of my classmates have been asking me for advice for things for the assignments. They would come over with their assignment brief and I think “Oh they want to ask me something about the assignment”. I don’t mind though at all, I know for others it’s a struggle to come up with things and they might not understand something, so I’ll try and help them if I can. I suppose because I’m the oldest as well they think “oh well she’s the oldest she’ll know”. I think I was like that too. When I was doing my degree from the age of 18 I remember I kept asking the mature students to help me with my work. I remember thinking “Well they seem to know what they are doing so I’ll get them to help me!”

I think now I’ve realised that I don’t want to stress about the essays that are due and I’d rather just get them done, so I do them. When I was younger though I always left things to the last minute, but now I just couldn’t do that! Unfortunately I get stressed much more now than when I was in college, so I want to alleviate that as much as possible! But I still like the course and I don’t mind going in so that’s good!

With regards to the weather-it’s getting colder now. Especially in the morning I really dislike having to get up in the freezing cold to get dressed. As we live in a mobile home this means when we wake up we can see our breath. I even woke up once because my ears were ice cold! We’ve taken to getting dressed in front of our gas heater; huddling together to get as much warmth as possible. haha. So this will definitely be a test of our endurance with the cold! At one stage I actually tried to get dressed while I was in the bed but that was a disaster and I took about 15 minutes. So that didn’t work at all!

I’ve started to keep the electric blanket turned on at my feet during the nights because they were very cold some nights. Thankfully the blanket allows us to turn it on only at our feet so that’s great for us. So yeah… it’s quite cold here in the mobile home!

And Halloween is just around the corner! I only just realised that I’ve never had a Halloween with my youngest nephew! It just hit me when I was watching TV that this will be my first Halloween with him, and he’s 4 already! It’s actually my first Halloween in Ireland since I left for China, so about 6 years ago I think. It’s mad how time just flies.

I also realised another thing…… I have to buy Christmas presents!!! In China we didn’t buy Christmas presents. Maybe I would buy something small for my husband (boyfriend at the time). But because of the language barrier in China, we didn’t really go out and buy things for each other. Then in Mexico my husbands family don’t really celebrate Christmas ( I know, it’s shocking!) so again we didn’t really buy presents for each other.

But now…… I have to buy them for my whole family…. and my two nephews. . . So that’s something that I will have to think about once more.

And thankfully now my husband has been working since September so we finally have money coming in. I don’t have a job at the moment but I don’t mind because I’m actually busy with my college work and I know I would just be extra stressed if I took on a job. Plus many only want full timers which I can’t do at the moment. Maybe after Christmas I will find some work in something that is beneficial to me. I’d like to get a job dealing with customers so I can get more experience working with customers. Through my course I’ve realised that customer service skills is great to have on a CV.

So anyway there’s an update on my life so far. I’ve been watching ‘Bates Motel’ on Netflix with Vera Farmiga (she’s a great actress) for the past couple of weeks before I’ve gone to sleep. I’ve been watching it in Spanish and I understand pretty much all of it. (I’ll write another post on the disappearance of my Spanish). I’ve enjoyed it so far but the last season hasn’t been great unfortunately. I’ll have to take an hour out to look at another show I can watch in Spanish when I’m finished ‘Bates Motel’.

Aisling

I got accepted, but….

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My last blog talked about how I was going for an interview for a tourism course and thankfully I got accepted. I just paid the fee to secure my place, so I’m now a student once again! I’m happy in one sense but I’m also a bit nervous about it all.

You see this course is usually for younger students that are just out of school; they don’t know what they want to do yet so they do a course like this in order for them to see what they would be interested in, or maybe they didn’t get the points needed for their chosen course in University, so they do a course in the college I will attend in order to get the points necessary for the next year they apply. They usually wouldn’t even have done a University degree yet, unlike me!

And also unlike me, they wouldn’t be 29 doing a course. More like 18!

So I’m 100% sure that I will be the oldest in the whole class! I’m trying not to let this bother me; my sister also done beauty/massage course with this college and she was 30 doing it. She done two courses. The first one was makeup and beauty (because she was 100% certain she wanted to work in beauty). She told me she was the oldest in the class and that her classmates ‘were very immature’ and she put it!

She ended up not liking the beauty aspect of the course after all, so then she spent another year learning massage, reiki, reflexology, and she loved this! She had to do 2 weeks work experience which she found in a hotel, and I mean she literally just finished the course when the hotel rang her up and asked her to go in for an interview! They rang her!! She successfully got the job and now she is loving it and really enjoys working in a Spa. For my sister, doing the course in the college was definitely the right thing for her, so I’m hoping that something like that will happen to me.

I’m just afraid in case I put in the year doing the course and then I’m stuck once more not being able to get a job. I will be 30 when I finish, and yeah, if I was 23/24 even 25 and I decided to do a course that would be ok, but now I feel I kind of should have my life figured out by now!

Plus I’m going to be spending a year learning with 17/18 year olds. (I taught that age in China!)

But I know I also need to do the course even just for my mind. I’m going crazy here doing nothing. At least in Mexico I was busy studying Spanish, but in Ireland It’s more difficult to study it because I don’t actually need it, so doing the course is half about just keeping me busy and occupied!

So I suppose now this blog will now be about my course and what that entails for the next year!

So stay tuned if you want to see what happens with my no idea what I’m doing, sure I may as well do a course and see what happens life!

Aisling