Spanish – After 24 Hrs of Immersion
Mindset is important!
That’s what I realized the morning on the first day of my challenge. Because I had given it importance also through an official statement, my first thought when I woke up led me spontaneously to start thinking in Spanish. So during my meditation I set my objectives for the day in Spanish. To be honest, on the first day I was having a headache (not because of the learning; it had started already a night before), so I spent on learning not as much as I intended, but then managed to catch up the next day.
I started firstly with the grammar textbook. I reviewed lessons and did exercises on the use of past tenses, imperfect tense, and the consecution of tenses. In the end I didn’t manage to learn too much about the use of subjunctive, but I somehow could figure out it’s use drawing on its similarity in the Italian language.
Listening to the most frequent words turned out to be very useful when followed by watching movies in Spanish.
During those two days I watched 3 movies: 2 with Spanish dubbing, and one in English but with Spanish subtitles. Again, it turned out to be very helpful to read the Spanish translation for English spoken expressions, and then also to listen only in Spanish without having any subtitles to rely on.
To be honest, I replaced my original intention of watching documentaries on YouTube with going to the Spanish cinema. I just simply needed to take that 15 minutes walk (the distance to the cinema) to get some fresh air, but at the same time I continued with listening to the most frequent Spanish words on my MP3 player.
On one afternoon I stopped by at a book-store and started to review some book titles, browsed the books and checked their description. A lot of them could be understood and translated without any dictionary, simply just by knowing the English equivalents. For example, I knew that “El poder del ahora” was the books title for E. Tolle’s “The Power of Now” or that his “Un nuevo mundo, ahora” meant “A New Earth, now”. And then the descriptive sentence: “Encuentra el propósito de tu vida” was for “Find the purpose of your life”. Similarly, “El monje que vendió su Ferrari” was the Spanish version of the best-selling book from Robin Sharma “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari”. These were easy to figure out, and especially books in the Self-help category don’t use a complicated language. Therefore you may get an idea that on the very fundamental level the language is not that difficult. And it’s true that it is more simple, if you learn how to communicate in a simple way at first.
The most interesting thing was that after the 2nd day of immersion I already started to dream in Spanish. It was a simple dream, and I remember it was happening through some simple expressions, but it meant for me that my brain finally started to think in terms of Spanish language structure. This was a huge achievement for me as it had never happened before and it meant that I had stopped to think in Italian and stopped translating/replacing the words by Spanish ones.
Of course, my Spanish hasn’t become perfect after 2 days. But I’ve reached more confidence in the language and in comparison I found in this challenge much greater benefit than doing the 24 hrs, let’s say, throughout 6 weeks. Personally, it was for my a quantum leap that brought me on a higher level in a short period of time and I have become able to use this new level immediately and to keep continuing from there.
So instead of going back and forth, learning and forgetting new words throughout a longer term, a few days after my challenge I feel that I’ve reached a stronger solid foundation on which I can build up the rest.
In the end of my challenge I also bought two books about the topics of my interest. One is about Greek myths and the other one is a collection of poems which attracted me by their simplicity but also by their depth of expression and the ability to stimulate imagination.
I think that’s something very important in the efficient language learning: stimulating your attention and imagination. That’s why a topic you are familiar with, like for example Greek myths for me, it’s a great way to start to read and think about the same attractive content but in a different language.
To sum it up, 24 hrs challenge was for me a very positive experience and I think it’s not only applicable for languages. It can be used in any field. I could well imagine 24 hrs time frame for learning or improving playing on a musical instrument.
For me the universal point of 24 hrs challenge is that once you try it and do it thoroughly, you realize that you can virtually use every given weekend (2 days) to improve anything in your life and observe an immediate improvement.
If I had a chance to redo it, what would I do differently? – well, I think I would change positions more often when learning. It’s also your attitude and posture that helps you in your learning. It’s good to be totally relaxed and just focus on the matter, but after some time your senses may numb and therefore it’s better to alternate between sitting and walking as you are learning. Giving faster pace to you body can speed up also the pace of your thinking. Of course, don’t do it outside in the traffic :) …it’s fine to walk back and forth in your room.
Beside that, I wouldn’t have changed anything, and just enjoy it again to the fullest :)
You can check in the following video how I enjoyed myself in Spanish on the next day; btw, it was Halloween :)