One of the things I really enjoyed doing last year (that is, 2009) was taking some classes with Bill to learn Italian prior to traveling to Rome. Granted, I didn’t put a ton into it – I enjoy learning, and did it relatively well, but I was/am far from fluent and I was barely able to hold conversations with folk in Rome about food. It did teach me something valuable, though (well, more than Italian itself), which is that I am much more motivated to learn when there’s a goal for the use of the newly-gained knowledge in sight. That goal was the trip to Italy Bill and I took in December, and when I set travel plans for next year, I could get a similar learn-test track going with a different language (or even Italian again).
So, I’d like to learn a language. But more important than learning the language is being comfortable speaking it. I made it all the through the Spanish series in high school, even passing the Spanish AP exam, but I could never really speak it (just read, write and understand). It’s really important to me to be able to hold my own in a conversation with a native, so that’s my target. I haven’t decided what language yet (that will probably be influenced by my travel plans), but I’ve got a good feeling about shooting to learn one next year.
23. I resolve to learn a language to the point where I could hold a reasonable conversation with a native speaker, and then apply my skills on a trip to a destination where that language is primary.