1. Tailored program: With the help of my ChinesePod counselor, Aggie, I have developed a personalized program of study. This is very important to me as I am not a newbie. I have studied Mandarin before so I am at an elementary level. There are hundreds of lessons to choose from at both the newbie and elementary levels, so I have put together a program that combines lessons from both levels.
2. Learning at my own pace: I work full time (more than full time!) and I am also a full time husband and father of 2 boys. I need to squeeze my study of Mandarin into the little spaces I find during the day. So I squeeze in my daily podcast when I am on the subway, having my lunch or cooking dinner. I have made a point to do it each day, and I am finding the time.
3. Self Service: The ChinesePod site has a number of features (dialogues, expansion activities, vocabulary builders etc) that I can access whenever I have the time. I can spend time doing the things that help me learn.
4. Telepractice: I receive a daily 10 minute phone call from Aggie, my ChinesePod counselor. I get the call at 10:00 pm Toronto time. Knowing that I will be talking to Aggie each evening is a real incentive to listen to the daily podcast and to prepare myself for the lesson. The one-to-one practice and feedback is becoming essential to the development of my oral skills.
5. Community: I am just beginning to explore the ChinesePod community. It is a real motivator to be connected to so many people with similar learning goals. Community members share experiences, tips, stories, and best practices.
So far so good. I will continue to update everyone as I move forward.