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My Language Year in Review 2018

My Language Year in Review 2018

Have you done a language review before?

Me neither! But.. this year I feel like it’s the right thing to do. I want to reflect back on my achievements and challenges. I love planning and conducting a language review is really just the step before I do my 2019 plan!

So how to do a language review? What have I been up to in 2018? Here’s my language year in review…

Let’s start with the launch of Lingo Mama!

On 1 May 2018, I launched Lingo Mama and my language learning and language travel website was born. This was a while in dreaming and planning phase and then I just made the decision to just do it! A friend of mine Kate from The Peony Patch did my website design for me, and then it was all go!

It’s been a steep learning curve (and continues to be) especially learning all the technology behind the scenes things to managing a website.

Some of my favourite posts are here:

I’m Just Not a Languages Person!

How to Set Goals When you are Learning a Language Independently 

8 Books to Read for an Insight in China

8 Smaller Cities to Study Chinese that Aren’t Beijing or Shanghai 


Here are some other highlights from my year:

The Women in Language conference in March 2018

This online conference was a catalyst for me in taking my ideas and passion for language learning and language travel and turning it into Lingo Mama. I met some fabulous language learners and I can’t wait for the 2019 conference. Follow the co-convenors Lindsay Does Languages, Eurolinguiste and Fluent Language for more information.

Doing our first Language Learning Trip as a family (with Lingo Dada and Lingo Bubba) to Taipei, Taiwan to learn Mandarin Chinese.

I spent two weeks learning Mandarin Chinese at the Taiwan Mandarin Institute in Taipei. It was an intensive program that I put together to maximise my time revising and preparing ultimately to take the HSK 4 exam.

I just love Taiwan and this was my third time in Taipei. We also ventured south and visited Tainan this trip.

Read one of my trip blog posts here.  And Lingo Dada’s perspective here.

Lingo Mama in Taipei at Taiwan Mandarin Institute

Launching Language Learning Stories interviews 

I’ve interviewed some amazing language learners this year – including Lindsay Williams from Lindsay Does Languages, Ingrid Truemper from Second Half Travels, Suzie from The Wandering Linguist, Bec Howie from Irregular Endings, long time close friends and bilingual speakers Marcia and Sophia, trilingual family Kirsten and her boys and fellow Chinese learners – Lou, Bec, Erin, Jen and Jack.

Language Learning Stories interview with Kirsten Hombroek

Discovering italki and finding a great tutor to help me prepare for my HSK 4 Mandarin Chinese exam.

Do you use online portals to learn a language? I love being able to schedule my classes anytime I’m free and log into Skype from home and have an hour class. I tried a few Mandarin Chinese teachers before sticking with Ms Dan who helped me with my revision for the HSK 4 exam.

Studying for and passing my Mandarin Chinese HSK 4 exam.

I don’t get too nervous before exams generally, but I really wanted to pass this exam! The pass rate for HSK exams is 60% so the pressure was on. I logged in a month after the exam to get my results I did really well with the listening and reading sections (81% and 79%). The writing section let me down a little and I only scored 55% – but luckily I had more than enough to pass the exam with a total mark of 72%. Yippeeee

     Hints if you are taking an HSK exam 

Do as many practice exams as you can – and set the time limits for each section.

Read my post here for more tips on How to Prepare for and Pass the HSK exam.

Getting back into the Vietnamese language after not studying it actively for 15 years.

Taking our first participants on a Lingo Mama Language Learning Trip to Vietnam to learn Vietnamese.

Vietnamese Language Garden with Tracy, Sophie, Lingo Mama and Trang, Saigon, Vietnam

Studying Vietnamese in Saigon and Hanoi and trying to master the northern accent after only ever learning southern Vietnamese.

Lingo Dada and I both enrolled in Vietnamese studies this trip – first in Saigon at Vietnamese Language Garden and then with Ms Hien in Hanoi. We had 1:1 classes each day for 1.5 hours each and powered through a lot of material. So much of the Vietnamese I knew came flooding back which was a fantastic feeling!

Have you re-visited a language you learnt ages ago? Did you find you could remember way more than you thought?

Planning and taking more participants on Lingo Mama Language Trips in 2019

  • Noumea in New Caledonia in June to learn French Français
  • Fukuoka in Japan in October to learn Japanese 日本語
  • Saigon in Vietnam in late October to learn Vietnamese Tiếng Việt

Meeting my Instagram friend Bec from Irregular Endings in real life!


Becoming an ambassador for The Cultured Kid and starting to introduce French to Lingo Bubba (and rediscovering French too after learning French in high school)

Launching Language Lovers AU with Bec from Irregular Endings.

If you’re into languages and are in Australia – join up! It’s free and you can join a network of Language Lovers from all around Australia.

Being interviewed by Michele Frolla from The Intrepid Guide

Michele is a fellow Australian and runs a very successful language learning and language travel website. We had a fabulous chat about all things Vietnamese learning. You can find the interview on Michele’s Instagram TV Channel @intrepidguide


Discovering the great bilingual products by The Gray Tortuga – Mandarin Chinese-English and Spanish-English for kids

Loving Instagram for language learning, but particularly for connecting with the fabulous language community.

Lingo Mama now has 800 + followers on Instagram, 130 + on Facebook and I’m gradually getting on YouTube too!


Featured in Clozemaster’s article on top tips from top language learners.

Read the article here.

Sending monthly mailouts to my wonderful Lingo Mama subscribers.

Subscribe here!

Co-hosting with Bec Howie the Language Lovers AU Christmas catch up.

From left to right: Jen, Penny, Bec, Fran, Lucy

We’ve got almost 100 Language Lover AU members on our Facebook group now – don’t forget to join up on Facebook and be part of the LLAU fun!


Thank you to you all for reading, sharing, commenting, liking and just being wonderful supporters of Lingo Mama in 2018.

I can’t wait for 2019! Happy New Year!


Until next time,

Lingo Mama


Penelope Wilson


  • Ingrid

    31.12.2018 at 15:57

    Fantastic list of accomplishments, Penny. Can’t believe you only started the blog in May! I’m looking forward to hanging out with you (virtually) at the Women in Language conference!

    • pennywilson

      07.01.2019 at 08:51

      Thank you Ingrid! And yes I’ll ‘see’ you at the Women in Language conference! 😉