About a month and a half ago I took my end-of-training exam, and then afterwards I gave myself a much needed break. It was the holidays. And focusing on French for six months is tiring. And then I started ConGen. But now… well, it’s been a month and a half. It’s time.
I was counting on getting back into the swing of things in a structured way, through free classes offered by the Global Language Network. Unfortunately free language classes must have sounded like a great idea to a lot of other people too; neither Andy nor I won a spot in the lottery.
I keep meaning to go to the French-speaking meet up groups that I used to attend fairly regularly, but so far it hasn’t happened. (There’s one tonight, for example, but there’s also a going away shin-dig hosted by one of my last remaining A-100 colleagues.) I keep promising myself that I’ll read several French articles a day, but after a frustrating first day that plan fell away. (I could understand mostly everything, but my brain translated to English much more than before, which really slowed me down.) So then I decided at the very least I could listen to the news in French every morning while I was getting ready. I’ve been doing a decent job of that, but 10 minutes of listening comprehension isn’t really enough to maintain my skills, let alone improve them.
By the time I get to Cotonou I’m going to have been done with French classes for longer than I was ever in French classes. If I feel like I’ve lost a lot now, I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like in July. So, yes, I need to try harder to find time for French. And I will. I promise. Starting… tomorrow?
What have you done to maintain your language skills after training?