To give a bit of background, I work part time, 4 days a week giving me needed time to pursue Chinese studies, which I came here for.
I also study at a Chinese Language Center near my house for the last 3 months. The teachers were OK, but it seemed the goal was to smash through a ton of vocab and move on. A lot of reading of texts and memorizing. The end result is that I can read a lot of characters, but I realized that my mind was only reading them one at a time, and not getting the entire concept of the story. So when we finished reading, the teacher would ask questions and I would not have a clue how to answer it. I find it takes me a few seconds to collect my thoughts, and there was usually a much smarter person blurting out the answer quicker. After that, we move on.
The Asians seem to have no problem with this learning method of memorization. I find for myself, to truly understand the topic, it has to be something practical that I use often, and that once I say it a few times, it gets locked in my memory. The method of teaching at the University absolutely did not do it for me, and I felt quite disengaged by the end. I tried another university once, and it was a similar type of teaching. Why I am discouraged is that it seemed to work for someone else, so I feel quite “broken” if I can use that word to describe it.
Because of my more free schedule, I have time to go out and talk to locals to practice. But since I know my grammar is all wrong, and my vocab is limited, I feel self conscious and recently just stay at home resting or watching English movies. I guess for me the path of laziness allows me to do nothing and I feel comfortable, however what really is the point then of saying I am studying something I am not. Even language exchange friends speak better English than I do Chinese, and guess what, we end up defaulting to English again.
I have no idea what it is I need to do to get motivated here, so I am just spinning around in circles. I think there might be a bit of social anxiety in here somewhere too, the fear of looking foolish, making mistakes… Not sure if anyone has any suggestions or has experienced this before…??