The most successful language training experience I've had was a couple of French immersion programs in northern Quebec. I advanced so quickly those summers when I lived with a francophone family, in a francophone community; talking with people in the gym, or buying gasoline, or drugstore items -- always in French.
Years and years of classroom studies in French helped; but until I forced to use the language day in and day out for everything, I didn't make much progress.
I'm hoping my next experience will be as rewarding, as I partner Italian language studies next month with plenty of practice on the streets of Rome.
A few days after I arrive in Rome on December 1, I'll begin classes Monday to Friday mornings at the Scuola Leonardo da Vinci in central Rome.
There will be four hours of classroom work each morning, which might not sound like a lot. However, it's enough -- a full day of language classes is absolutely exhausting. Believe me, I've done it. Three years ago, my employer sent me for 10 weeks of daily, 9-5, one-on-one French instruction. It was exhausting.
I'll have other demands on my time in Rome, too. While I'm studying, I also intend to look for employment. I assume I'll spend the mornings at school and the afternoons doing homework, practising Italian, going to job interviews, writing application letters, forms, schmoozing -- whatever it takes to get a gig.
Porca miseria! It sounds hectic!
Actually, my whining aside I'm quite excited about the prospect of studying Italian on a daily basis. For me, it's the best way to learn. Grammar, grammar, grammar!