Speak Chinese

Learn Chinese in 90 Days! Week 1 Update

This is my first update for my 90 Day Mandarin Challenge – See the Challenge post here.

Updated October 2016: See the final 90 Day Mandarin Challenge post Here

This post and video focuses upon my first week doing lots of videos with everyone from friends to complete strangers. All as a way to get a good idea on video of where my Chinese speaking and listening are at right now.

So  in 90 days we have something to compare my epic speaking skills to 🙂

Week 1 – Speaking Ability

Now lets see me actually speaking! Here I am sitting down with Fiona of Chinese Pod and Mandarinmadeez.com to have a basic conversation. Prepare yourself! (For Subtitles click the CC button)

I want to thank Fiona, Gwilym and Constance of Chinese Pod for being so welcoming and willing to help me in my challenge.

As you can see from the video my speaking ability is basic and will make your ears bleed if listened to for long periods of time!

I am hesitant in my speaking, and don’t express at all what the little voice in my head is saying!

I  misunderstand some of the questions towards the start, middle and end 😉 despite Fiona speaking clearly and super slow for me.

Looking back at the video I am cringing thinking….

Why on earth did you say that!

Why did you wear that shirt!

Keep your hands still!

Grow some hair!

We live and learn

At least you now have a good idea of where I am at in my learning, despite how painful it is for me to watch it!

I will be returning to do another video with Fiona after the 90 days.

It is is my hope that we will see a big improvement in the way I can express myself and immediately respond to questions rather than being uncertain and hesitant in my answers. You can see my stated goals in this post.

Actually understanding the questions will be a good start!

There will be some posts during my challenge but I think I am going to save the best (Most embarrassing!) till last.

I will  post the majority of videos at the end of the challenge with one mini documentary covering the entire 90 days.

This way you will get to see the full journey and the progression in my speaking all at once.

See you back here September 24, 2016 to see just how well I did!


One of the questions Fiona and my language exchange partners asked is “When did you come to Taiwan?”.  I joke that it is embarrassing, but… honestly it really is embarrassing as time flies! Its expat shame!

 Just to clarify here when I arrived I got myself to a point where I could buy and do what I needed and left it there (Ultra basic).

My plans were never certain and I always thought I might be moving elsewhere so never pursued more serious study.

Its all too easy to get busy, live in a bubble and ignore the lack of speaking ability while living here.

So this challenge is a way for me to really catch up and feel confident about my speaking….finally.

Better late than never! I am fired up and really want to surprise everyone after these 90 days.

Get In Touch

I would really love to hear from you. Comments, language learning embarrassing stories, crispy cream donuts are all very welcome.

Even if you are not learning Chinese, it’s still really inspiring to hear what others are doing…and I need all the inspiration I can get right now 🙂

Resources For My Challenge

If you want to know more about the resources I am using then check out the following list and see my more detailed post coming soon where I cover the pros and cons of each resource.

One thing I wanted to make clear is that regardless of the resource there is no progress without actually using the language everyday. So language exchange partners are vital.


Chinese Pod  – These guys are super awesome. Not only are they as nice and friendly in real life as they appear on their videos but the material is really useful and fills in many of the gaps discovered in daily life. Excellent for understanding how to put it all together.

Fluent In 3 Months – This is the site of Benny Lewis. The inspiration for the challenge. His forum is a great place to keep yourself accountable and build confidence in your language learning. Watch his welcome video here.

Glossika Mass Sentence Training – This is what has made all the difference for me. Using mass sentences allows me to learn lots of new words and easily remember the vocab and the usage. Absolutely ground breaking program from Mike the founder.

Mimic Method – Musical accent-training is a one-stop shop for everything a language learner needs to get months of practice speaking their target language. Honestly this guy! He speaks multiple languages looks like a model and has an awesome video on his page showing how his method works…I am honestly not jealous 🙂

Free Resources

Taiwan Government E Learning Portal – Online video to assist foreigners in Taiwan to learn standard Mandarin. Surprising how good this is!

Taiwan Government – Learn Chinese in 1000 Words PDF

FSI – Rumor has it that the US Government used this program. It’s all free so take a look, it has lots of languages available with a lively community.

Chinese Pod 100 Free Lessons – You can sign up for 100 free lessons and see if it works for you. I recommend it as it helps take what you have and make it practical for daily life.

Hello Talk App – Really useful for finding language exchange partners. You can do other things but I only use it for finding new partners to speak with. Really useful tool.

Mimic Method Free Course – Take his FREE course here. Super entertaining and really unique approach.

About the author

Dawn Of Truth

Dawn Of Truth

Dawn Of Truth - Lives in South East Asia and spends his time reading, writing & studying in order to reach the goal of Financial, Physical & Mental Freedom.

View all posts


  • Really great idea, I’ve now been in China just over 2 and a half years. The first year I dint learn Chinese, just adapted to life here and socialised…. a lot! Long story short met and married a local girl from the city I’m in (Wenzhou) I’ve been studying for a year and a half and recently passed HSK 3…. but afterwards I’ve had a few months of a “learning holiday”. Not completely stopped, I’ve still had one lesson a week and I’m constantly picking up new words and phrases in the local dialect 温州话, but i feel like I need to really get back to putting effort into learning. I think my level must be about the same as yours so I’m also going to have a go at a 90 day challenge. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Hi Alex.
      Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. I think you got the perfect set up there with marrying a local and I guess a constant pressure to get the language better for communicating with relatives etc.
      Did you find doing the characters slowed you down? I am interested as its something I need to tackle when I am more confident in my speaking.Very cool to hear from you and please share your 90 Day challenge when you start it. Public pressure always helps 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *