Confessions of an English Teacher: 30 Day Challenge

I often tell my English students how important it is to practice the language at least a little bit every single day.

But I have a confession to make: I don’t do it myself. I’m learning Catalan, I live in Catalonia, and I don’t practice Catalan (or Spanish!) every day. Honestly, I’m lucky if I get to practice it a couple times a week.

Why is this?

I teach English here and when I’m not doing that I’m usually working on the RealLife Project, and all of this work is in English. Most people think that you can easily get fluent by living abroad, but it’s simply not true.

So watch this video and learn what I’m going to do to make a change and improve my language skills in just 30 days!

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Watch on YouTube for Subtitles in English and Catalan 


Aww yeah RealLifers!

parla catala How’s it going? So I’m going to do this video in Catalan because I want to do a 30 day challenge in Catalan. I will be doing 30 days of at least one hour per day that I have to do something in Catalan, whether it be speaking, listening to something (for example, a Podcast), reading, studying grammar or something similar of the language, or writing.

Why I want to improve my Catalan:

I’m going to start with why I want to do this–30 days in Catalan. So I live in in Catalonia, in Barcelona, but I almost never practice Catalan during the week. I live here, but it seems like I should speak better than I do, even though a lot of people tell me that I speak Catalan well.

I tell my students a lot, and obviously all of you RealLifers, that the most important thing is practicing the language every day, but I don’t do it. And I believe that it is very important that if you want to teach how to do something that you have to do it to. You have to lead by example, I mean.

In addition, I believe that this is something that anyone can do, but a lot of people think that they can’t because they say that they don’t have enough time, but I want to show that it can be done in just an hour a day. And I know that for a lot of people one hour seems like a lot, but you could also start with 15 or 30 minutes every day. The most important is that you do it every day.

I want to show as well that one hour is not a lot; that you can find one hour every day, and it doesn’t have to be all at once. I’ll show you how to do this.

How I’ll do it:

Today, I tried to go get a book about simple Catalan grammar, but what happened is that I couldn’t find one that I liked. This is because they were too academic and such, and are like the courses that they have here in the university, and I don’t like this very much because it’s not the real language. And I want, I wanted something more practical. Grammar for the practical use of the language. So I think what I’ll do for the theme of structure and grammar, which truthfully I haven’t studied at all in Catalan, is look it up on the Internet.

do anythingI’ll also use Podcasts for the part of listening and I might watch some series, or TV3 (Catalan Television), or, for example, some other programs on TV. If you’re Catalan and you have a recommendation for some Podcast, please tell me it because I sometimes listen to la Compatència, and I like it a lot; it’s a comedic program from Rac1 (Catalan Radio), and it’s really great for informing oneself a little bit about the happenings here, but I would like to have more variety.

The next thing is speaking. I will speak with help from my friends here and also by going to exchanges that we have here because here in Barcelona we have lots of exchanges. And I’ll try to go to at least one per week or every two weeks. I mean, two every week. One or two times.

For writing, I’ll write some posts for you RealLifers about my progress in Catalan. Well, in Catalan and in English because I want everyone to be able to understand. In addition, I’ll film videos like this, like this one.

And the last thing would be learning a bit with music. This is how I started learning Catalan. Well really, I started learning by doing a course that is offered online, but I didn’t like it very much because for me these things about starting with grammar is really boring and it’s not the real language, like I said before. So we’ll see if I manage to also listen to some more Catalan music. This Saturday I’ll go to a festival called Canet Rock in Canet de Mar, Catalonia, and there will be many bands that I like a lot. Catalan bands. But if you’re from here and have any recommendations for me, please tell me them in the comments below.

What I hope to accomplish:

never stop learningSo with this I hope not only to improve my speaking and a better level of Catalan, but also that I can help you by inspiring you and with what I’m learning with my progress, with my learning. I also want to show you how to do this in your own life.

I don’t only want to give recommendations as I believe I do this a lot with RealLife and such, well, I have a lot of experience learning languages, but to really lead by example, I should be doing something every day to improve my skills in the language.

I want to inspire you to test yourself with a 30-day challenge. 30-day challenges are really, really great for creating a new habit. Because they say that 30 days, or maybe a little bit more, like six weeks, is the amount of time that you need in order to create a new habit. I highly recommend that you watch, if you haven’t already, this video, it’s a Ted Talk, about this, the 30-day challenge. I’ll put a link here so that you can watch it.

One last thing, if you’re from here, from Catalonia, or especially if you live here in Barcelona, maybe we can help each other by doing an exchange by Skype, or, if you live here, in Barcelona, we could get together to do an exchange. This way, you can improve your English, and me my Catalan.


Well, I think that that’s it; before this video gets too long I want to finish it. So, I hope to see you guys enjoying this challenge and that 30 days from now I’ll be speaking better and that my level will be better. Thanks a lot for watching this video, and if you have any comment, or some recommendation, or anything else, please, make it in the comments below. Also, you can write me an email. Alright, thanks a lot, bye!

Want to help me? Then please give me some corrections below (I’m sure there are plenty). Without mistakes we can’t learn! Thanks!

Return to 30 Day Challenge

  • Rana Elt says:


  • Marc Jorba says:

    Tothom que et conegui sap que ho aconseguiràs!!!!!

  • Ethan Zinho says:

    Hahaha merci Marc! Ens haurem d'ajudar aconseguir-ho tots dos 😀

  • Ethan Zinho says:

    Thanks 😀

  • […] the other day’s video, I explained to you my WHY for improving my level of Catalan. If you didn’t see that video, then […]

  • Very good Ethan congratulations from Arequipa Perú

  • Ethan Zinho says:

    thanks so much!