Since I'm such a newbie that I can't even fill out my profile properly, let me introduce myself a bit: I'm a New Yorker and native English speaker who is learning Spanish. I took Spanish in high school, getting far enough that I occasionally thought in Spanish, which was very exciting. Then, for about 10 years, I didn't use/learn/maintain Spanish, except for maybe looking at a Spanish-language news article or something once a year.
A few years ago, I decided to go to law school and become a lawyer, for which Spanish would be useful. I made a handful of attempts at self-study, but none ever stuck. During my first post-grad job, with some percentage of Spanish-speaking clients, I got frustrated with my inability to speak or understand Spanish, so I finally made the decision to restart my Spanish study in earnest. Knowing that I had gone nowhere with my self-study, I joined a weekly class last April to give myself some structure and consistency, which has been hugely helpful.
With the class approaching the last of the five "levels" offered (after which, conversation classes are available) and with a burst of enthusiasm for the fun of learning Spanish, I'm exploring resources and trying to establish a routine that will help me improve my Spanish.
Right now, I'm reading some stuff (books, news articles, I got a bunch of books and 2 bilingual readers for Christmas), watching Destinos and Extr@ (Destinos has too much English for me right now, but I hear that improves, and I was so happy to find I understood most of Extr@ since I remember trying it last year and not understanding anything), listening to Buenos Días America (that it's the news means I have some context and the voices are generally clear, so I understand more than any other pure listening resource). I do some self-talk, but not much else on the production side of things outside of class; I should set up conversation exchanges and write stuff to be corrected on lang-8.
I'll end with some recent happy Spanish learning moments:
- I finished reading a "chapter book" in Spanish, Dinosaurios al Atardecer, the first in the "Casa del Árbol" series, which is translated from the English-language "Magic Treehouse" series. The series is apparently popular and best-selling, though I first heard of it when I found the Spanish ebook through my library. It's for kids who are beyond picture books (though there are illustrations) and not ready for longer books (this book was about 5400 words). Even though it was clearly aimed at that age group, I enjoyed the story and want to continue reading the next books since there was a mystery that was left unsolved.
- I've been listening to Buenos Días America, the news podcast, for the past couple weeks, and though my comprehension can vary from day to day and story to story, there are times when I understand the entirety of two sentences in a row!
- I've sometimes written a paragraph-long thing here or there, but nothing longer until my homework for my most recent class. I was supposed to write a story and I didn't have any ideas, so I basically did an adaption of my memory of some scenes from the Buffy pilot. I was reluctant to start writing a longer piece, but by the time I was interrupted at about 350 words, I was very disappointed to have to wrap up and stop writing.
edited to include TAC 2016 in the title