For the past few months, I had been learning Romanian.
I picked it up on a whim, thinking that it would be easy. After all, I already spoke four of Romanian's "sister languages" (Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Italian) and was very familiar with several Slavic languages (Russian and Polish) from the same part of the world.
I had never done that before. Not with a language. As a person with a reputation for learning languages well and for sticking to them, it was something of a soul-crushing defeat.
In that moment, all my experience, all my techniques and all my methods to stay motivated counted for nothing. I was missing something essential, and it made all the difference between learning and giving up.
I went to Hungary, and marveled at the beauty of the people, the food, the architecture—all of it. I only spent a few days in Budapest with my friends back in 2007, but moment after moment, I was completely blown away.
Now, using what I call the S.E.E. technique, I'm going to teach you how you can use visualization to create your own imaginary "memories" that will motivate you in your own language journey. And this, as I said, without even going abroad!
First, we have State or "State of mind." This concept represents how you think about the language you are learning.
Your state of mind is absolutely essential to your success. Being in a positive and optimistic state of mind considerably enhances your learning process, your capacity to retain information, and your willingness to stay on track.
In your visualization, you should use emotions to make your imagined "memory" feel real, like it actually happened, or could happen to you in the future if you work hard on your language learning.
- Imagining the setting of your memory in vivid detail (Where you are & when)
- Picturing exactly whom you are speaking with and what you are doing together
- Tying the details of the scenario to your goals, desires, and the specific emotions you could feel in that moment.
If you think about it, all of these factors are what help your most cherished memories stand out in your mind. We're just using them in a different way—not to reminisce, but to inspire future learning!
Once you've come up with a motivating scenario, write down the details from the list above. Something like:
- WHERE/WHEN? Budapest, Hungary. The Margaret Bridge. A late autumn evening.
- WHO/WHAT? My Hungarian friend Edit. We go to dinner and chat about Hungarian culture.
- HOW DO I FEEL? I'm in awe of the beauty of Budapest and the people that live there. I can't wait to experience the food and the nightlife, and learn more about the culture.
In this step, you simply need to take the "emotional details" from the end of the "Emotion" step and use them to create an actual visualization. You can then use this visualization as a "goal" that you can realistically try to live out in the future.
Then, every day, read it back to yourself and try to visualize its events in your "mind's eye". With time, you will be able to conjure up the visualization completely from memory, and use it to motivate yourself before your daily learning.
Here's my example visualization:
"I am in Budapest, Hungary, during an evening in late October.
Standing near the famous Margaret Bridge, I take in my surroundings. To one side of the river, in Pest, I see the massive Hungarian Parliament building in all its illuminated glory. On the other side, I see the green hills of Buda, now cloaked in the darkness of night.
All at once, I’m overcome with a wave of nostalgia. I’ve been here before, almost ten years ago...
The scene before me changes. I am a decade younger, standing in the very same spot.
A girl joins me on the bridge. I recognize her face; it’s my friend Edit, who’s a local, unlike myself. She greets me and smiles, and we soon decide to head to a restaurant nearby.
Over the next few hours, Edit shares a thousand-and-one details about the fascinating Hungarian culture, in a way only a genuine Hungarian can.
Over several plates of traditional Hungarian food, Edit tells me about Hungary, and about Budapest. She recommends her favorite Hungarian dishes and tells me about the best Hungarian wines. Together, we share stories of our home countries, and try to determine all the small ways in which Italy and Hungary are both similar, and different.
From that night on, I was certain that the Hungarian language and culture would be an important part of my life and my future."
The key to making these visualizations work is to use your emotions. If you can make the visualization sound and feel real, like something that will actually happen, then it will become a great motivator as your skills continue to learn and grow.
I usually use essays when it comes to such complex topics. It really helps to work with material that I usually do not have time to collect - then it pays off with high marks. You can check the one that I use to write my essay at this link. https://uk.grademiners.com/