Learning Chinese The BenSpark Way
Photo-A-Day #1375

Every once in a while you hear that someone has a New Year’s Resolution to “learn a foreign language”. Well, that is one of mine but with a twist. To keep me on track I am blogging about it on a daily basis. I ran this idea by a few people online who I respect and admire. They had a few things to say about it. They said mostly that I should try and learn a language. However one said that a blog about learning a foreign language, specifically Chinese was too niche and really wouldn’t be of value to anyone and that I should incorporate that into this blog somehow.

Now I could have packed up shop right then and there seeing as I was only 11 days into the experiment. But I decided that, no, this blog isn’t about that part of my life and I made a commitment to see it through. So, I am going to continue to blog about my experiment to learn Chinese in 15 minutes a day at my newest blog 15minaday.com. It has been a really interesting project so far and I’m not doing it to generate money but to learn something totally new. The more I started looking for resources for learning Chinese the more I found tons of them. I think that when the experiment is finished there will be a wealth of value for someone who wants to go about learning Chinese because I will have gone through many different resources that are available and let you know which are good and which are not. I wouldn’t mind generating a little income either so I do have amazon affiliate links on the site in case anyone wants to buy the books I’m using in this experiment.

The resources I am are finding consist or websites, blogs, podcasts, books and audiobooks. Many resources are totally free and have tons of info. I’ve made a few purchases to get started and ultimately I want to use Rosetta Stone but it is a bit expensive. The other day I even used the fortunes from our fortune cookies as a learning project.

I’ve learned a few things about this project.

  1. When a project is new it is fun and exciting.
  2. It takes a while to see the big picture (I haven’t even seen the little one yet)
  3. Learning something new takes time (for me, more than 15 minutes a day)
  4. You can respect someone and still disagree with them.
  5. Breaking a project down to small parts that are manageable allows you to get them done.

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12 Responses to “Learning Chinese The BenSpark Way”

  1. Christine says:

    15minaday.com is a good domain name. You can always change the focus of the blog to other learning projects in the future, once you master Chinese and want to tackle something else.

    Have you considered trying to find Rosetta Stone used? Check out Half.com, which is an ebay site, but it’s not auctions, it’s where people sell books, CDs, and DVDs. Maybe someone bought the program, decided that it was too ambitious of a project, and now wants to sell it at a loss. It can’t hurt to check there from time to time, you might find a good bargain.

    Learning Chinese is a very ambitious project, and I wish you lots of luck with it!

    Christines last blog post..The First Grandma

  2. Michelle says:

    Have you tried using the online language site Livemocha.com? I really like it. It’s free, lets you learn at your own pace and you even have the ability to converse with native speakers.

    Michelles last blog post..article round-up for mid-January

  3. Drew says:

    That is a great idea. I will have to check out half.com to see what is available.

    The blog will have a different focus each year. I plan to learn something new each year.

  4. Drew says:

    I keep finding things every day and the more I talk about this the more resources I learn about. Thanks for the suggestion, I had not heard about that before. I will check it out.

  5. lenny says:

    Who said Chinese was a niche language ? Have they noticed we ,the USA, are the largest importers of Chinese products ? or that if you are doing business in Hong Kong or Malaysia it is the primary language.
    You will be ahead of everyone else as Chinese companies establish offices in the USA. When the naysayers of learning Chinese are asking ” Whatever happened to Andrew ?” We will all know he became a billionaire from learning Chinese before the rest of us.

    lennys last blog post..This is where I was House sitting . The long building is a bowling alley

  6. Drew says:

    Not a niche language but the blog focus was very niche, which it is, it is focused on learning Chinese. So as far as a site for advertising or making money it may be too focused to do that. But it might not. I’m going to keep working with the project for the next year, it is an experiment.

  7. Jennifer says:

    I don’t think it’s too niche, but neither do I think we should only pursue interesting opportunities online if they can make us money. Making money doing something you love? Awesome! Choosing not to do something you want to just because it might not be a money maker? Not-so-awesome.

    Besides, learning Chinese in 15 min a day might be too niche for some people, but there might be an audience out there who would really love it. Or maybe you just keep the blog for you and slog through this year… but next year, you take on a NEW 15 min a day project, and THAT one really gets people’s attention. I do think it would help if you found a way to share what you’re learning, which you seem to be doing on older entries. But when I click onto your front page, there are 3 entries, and 2 of them are basically just a variation of “I listened to 15 minutes of an audiobook.” That’s fine once in awhile, but if that’s all I see when I click over, it doesn’t really entice me to keep going, you know?

    That’s probably way more input than you wanted from me 🙂 but I’d definitely say that 13 days into the new year is not enough to gauge how that blog is going to do. Unless you’ve decided you don’t WANT to do it anymore, which certainly doesn’t seem to be the case.

    Good luck, it’s certainly an ambitious project.

    Jennifers last blog post..Pina Coladas

  8. Drew says:


    Wow, that is some awesome feedback. I have no intention of quitting. Each day is another 15 minutes closer to learning something interesting. I can see what you are saying about the audiobook posts and to be honest those were days where I just listened posted something tiny and continued on.

    And you did point out something I need to fix, there is no link to older posts at the end of each post. Because there are some really good early posts plus photos. I try and include some learning photos too.

    Great feedback, thanks so much.

  9. Connie says:

    Awesome that you’re learning Chinese. I tried to learn French in high school and failed miserably. I would like to check out some of the links though, as my dd’s school is no longer teaching Spanish which she enjoyed. She was also one of the best students.

    Connies last blog post..Baby Slings – The Best Thing for Baby and Mom

  10. Drew says:

    Connie, if your DD has the aptitude that you say then there are so many sources available online for her to continue her education, podcasts, audiobooks, websites, blogs. So many things.

  11. Arlen says:

    Glad to read your blog.It certainly does take skills to speak Chinese. But that does not mean that it is necessarily hard to learn Chinese.

  12. Drew says:

    Thanks Arlen,
    We’ll see how it goes but thanks for the encouragement.

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