So hard without others!
by Trixie Jack Mattachine
(Farmington, ME, USA)
I've been learning Spanish (Espanol) for five years now. It's a beautiful language, and one of the most spoken languages in the world. It's very important to be able to speak or at least understand some Spanish if you plan on being part of a global community. As well, if you are familiar with any Romance language (French, Italian, Portuguese, etc) it will be so much easier to learn Spanish!
One of the ways I've started learning Spanish is using Google to translate my favorite websites, and try to match up the English with the Spanish. I also watch a lot of movies in Spanish language with English subtitles, and vice versa. I also like to watch a lot of Spanish movies and movies filmed in Spanish-speaking countries. I think my favorites so far are probably "Pan's Labyrinth" and "The Orphanage." Programs like Rosetta Stone work well, but they are too expensive. There are websites where you can get pen pals, and I think that is a good idea. As long as you have a translator either online or in a book, you can do pretty much anything.
My only problem with Spanish is that because of where I live (rural part of New England) I have so few people to learn with! I can read books and listen to speakers online, but without being able to practice in the real world, I lose what I am learning. I think immersion learning is probably the best; just go somewhere where Spanish is spoken and try to get around! You'll learn conversational Spanish pretty quickly that way!