How to Improve Language Skills in Just 30 Days: Ethan’s 30 Day Challenge

Lately I’ve been feeling a bit hypocritical. I mean, I always tell my students and readers of RealLife English how important it is to practice any language that you are learning every day, but I haven’t been doing it myself.

Llegeix-lo en català

The most recent language that I’m learning is Catalan. It should be easy, right? I mean, I live in Barcelona, Catalonia (in the northeastern corner of Spain). I have friends who speak Catalan and almost everyone who lives here does. And yet, I still manage to not practice it every day.

How is this possible? I am living abroad and I should be completely immersed, right? 


A lot of people think that by living abroad you are guaranteed success in a language, but this simply is NOT true. You still have to work hard to practice the language. Just living in a country where it’s spoken is not enough.

My Catalan is pretty good. I got to a conversational level after just living here for six weeks or so. However, I feel like I made a lot of progress my first few months here, but since then my level has remained stagnant.

So, what happened? 

Well, I teach English and I spend a lot of time working on RealLife Global, the work of which is all in English. In general, I only practice Catalan when I get together with friends on the weekend, but it’s really not enough to grow.

What can I do about it? 

So I started thinking, how can I integrate practicing Catalan every day into my work with RealLife? And, inspired by this awesome Ted Talk, I came up with a solution.

For the entire month of July, I will practice Catalan in some way every day for at least one hour, be it by speaking, listening, reading, writing, or studying a little grammar and structure. I will be sharing my progress with you through bilingual posts and videos. I will also use this as an opportunity to really reflect on the learning process and share my findings with you, RealLifers.

So join me on my adventure! I hope to inspire and challenge you.

Watch the videos here:

Read the articles here:

My Accountability Log:

To check it out, click here.

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