I can't believe I complained about learning Spanish in High School. Sure, the first year was a breeze because I had Spanish speaking friends in middle school that kinda showed me the ropes, but I unwillingly coasted through two additional years in that foreign language. I thought about how I would never become fluent enough for it to matter so didn't put forth much effort. So I walked away with little to show from it except for a few common saying, I remember very little from what I "learned".
But now that we are planning a trek into a foreign country that does not primarily speak English, I find myself rushing to learn the language. I know that it will not be perfect when we get there, but I also know that knowing ANYTHING about the language will help give me a leg up when we get there. I have heard from several people that those people that at least make the attempt to speak the language are much more accepted by the locals than those that don't bother trying.
But learning a language isn't all that easy, especially without formal schooling and teachers to coax you through the course. I'm doing the whole Rosetta Stone route and although I can say that in the past two weeks I have learned MUCH more than I could have dreamed of knowing before, I have a long way to go and it's difficult not having a professor to ask questions to. It can be pretty confusing learning in this way because RosettaStone doesn't actually explain the rules or definitions to you. Rather, words/sentences are shown as a speaker reads it to you, and you are expected to match what is said to a picture. After numerous rounds of this, you are put to the test and are given "writing assignments" in which the speaker gives a sentence and you are presented with a picture and you must type out the sentence, letter by letter.
I have had so much confusion in the past two weeks and have made many trips over to good 'ole google to help clear up my questions or I bombard some of my German friends and beg for their assistance. I'm hoping that all of this will be worth it. I've read up on some formal training in Germany that could really help me polish and improve my skills so that I may actually be able to converse once we move.
Cross your fingers for me!