Duolingo changed my life (Long Story)
For the past 5 years (I'm 22) I've been struggling with a problem. I lack motivation. I believe we all have this problem, on some level or another, but for me it was ruining my life and no matter what I seemed to do I could not break the pattern of pure laziness. Then something happened that completely flipped my life around, and the thing that did that was a little green bird found on a popular language learning website.
It was September 2015 and I was playing poker online. This particular game was different as there were a few people openly talking to the other players on the table.
Normally I wouldn't talk back, since it allows people to obtain information on how you play, but one player caught my eye: a gentlemen whom I later discovered was called Bjarte and lives in Norway.
We talked at the table for several minutes before I asked if I could have his Skype. He gave it to me, and within 5 minutes we were video chatting while playing poker. I was shocked. I had never done anything so impulsive!
We got on very well and amazed each other about the different cultures that surrounded us. He, in a quiet forest surrounded by pristine lakes and humble woodsman and me, in a busy city that never sleeps.
A few months passed and I had been talking to Bjarte almost every day, we had become really good friends. I could occasionally listen in whilst he spoke Norwegian on the phone or to a relative or friend in his house, and it fascinated me. I wanted more. I needed to know how to speak Norwegian.
I knew this wasn't going to be an easy task, so I enrolled on something I remembered a friend mention a few years ago called 'Duolingo'.
I signed up, took one look at the tree and sighed. "There is no way I will be able to finish this, I don't stand a chance!" I thought to myself.
I spoke to Bjarte and told him about my plans to learn Norwegian. He was very happy with the idea that his friend wanted to learn his mother tongue, and said he would support me on my journey, and so I began.
A few shaky months in and I had completed several of the sections and Bjarte was helping me throughout the way, correcting me on pronunciation and reminding me of anything I had forgotten. I had never experienced this kind of friendship - I was no longer on my own. What I thought for so long would be an uphill struggle levelled out and became a steady walk.
Then something inside me changed.
295 Days ago I did what the past me would have laughed at.
I kept my head down, and no matter how busy, how sick, how distracted I got I made sure to do my 'Daily Duolingo'. Many times I got home at 11pm, shattered, and thought "I'll leave it for tonight, it's late" but forced myself back on to get my lessons done. And since then, It's evolved into much more than just learning a language.
I've began writing a daily journal, began daily meditation practice, taken a picture of myself everyday and began a personal vlog, I've become a better person and overall, a happier one. I've even started getting up at 6:00AM to watch NRKSuper (Norwegian Kids TV) before work.
All these things I would never have dreamt I could stick to, but thanks to a funny Norwegian man, and a website called Duolingo I have.
So, a humongous thank you to Duolingo and its fantastic community.
And thank you Bjarte, because if I hadn't met you on that poker table that long time ago, I would certainly not be the person I am today.
(I finished the Norwegian Duolingo tree on 31/12/16 as part of my 2016 New Years Resolution.)
Thank you for sharing your journey with us! These help inspire the community and are really exciting to read. :D
I skimmed your post but will follow it and read it in its entirety later. That is so cool I enjoyed reading/ skimming your story.
That's so awesome! Stay in touch with Bjarte, he sounds like a great guy.
Thank you for sharing your story, Polaris!
Sometimes I can't decide what I enjoy more: the stories of people or the etymologies of words. Fortunately, they're often intertwined.
Oh, and completing the Norwegian tree is no mean feat... I'd know. ;)
Thank you for sharing your story, it means a lot to me. We're the same age, and I've been struggling a lot with laziness and depression lately.
Duolingo has given me goals to work towards, progress to reflect back on, and daily tasks I need to complete. I love the structure, how much I've learned in the few months I've been a member here, and how much more I'll learn by the end of this year.
Your words have inspired me to be better to myself, too.
Amazing story! I hope one day I will have one just like this to tell and inspire people with. :)
is what interests me
and how so many
in British culture
Interesting. I can personally relate to the part of suffering from lack of motivation and being helped A LOT in that respect by Duolingo. I've been here for 2 months now. Not only I find myself weirdly motivated to do Duo (and other learning resources), but I feel a notch happier than usual and more motivated for other activities in my everyday life. Looking forward to master German has bettered my overall well being.
This post is admirable! It's wonderful that you can experience a whole new language through Duolingo! I hope you and your friend can stay in touch :)
That is an awesome story! I'm so glad that you kept working on your Norwegian tree! ;p
Thanks for sharing this great story!
But I want to ask you something. Are you conversational right now? I have 3 courses left in Italian tree, and I started to a course 2 months ago and I can say I can have some basic conversations but I think I'm somewhere between pre-intermediate and intermediate. I wonder how Duolingo worked for you.
I wouldn't say I can hold a smooth conversation, and I certainly find typing in Norwegian easier than speaking it!
What finishing the tree has done is allowed me to learn the language without having to question every detail. I can read something and pick out the words I don't understand and remember them. I can also ask questions in Norwegian if I get stuck.
I'm not even close to learning the language, and I've still got a long way to go, but Duolingo has given me access to explore the language through easier learning methods (such as kids tv).
I hope this helps!
It surely helped! I just finished the Italian tree and I feel the same. Just wanted to know if every tree makes us feel the same :)
Very big greetings to you all. I would like to say that I am old (57) woman this program makes me very happy. Now I know that I can learn again . I am coming from Croatia and have a friend in Hungary and this is additionally motivation for the begining of the Hungarian language due can better and cheerfully conversation with him. In any case I am happy to be part of this worl wide program and wider communities Hope sometimes our language will be part of it. Kind regards,