My first contact with a foreign language was at the age of eight, when I started learning English at school and I fell head-over-heels for the world’s lingua franca! Something clicked right there and then because languages became a real passion. With time, I’d realise that the experience of learning (and teaching!) a new language and a way of communicating with others wouldn’t only be fascinating to me, but also one of the things that’d give me more joy in life.
I also studied French in secondary school, as a second foreign language. The lack of practice made me get completely rusty. Outside of saying my name, I don’t speak the language. However, that doesn’t mean that I’ve forgotten everything. You never do! I still pick up words and the odd sentences when I watch films or series. In 2013, I took a German course, this time in a public language school in Spain. I could only reach the initial A1 level as I left the country the next year. Right after I finished, I spent a few weeks in Germany, in the Bavarian countryside, close to Regensburg, on a Workaway cultural exchange (look it up!). One of the best experiences of my life. Months later, I came to live in the UK and couldn’t continue. German is special to me and even though I haven’t had the chance to practice either, I can still remember a lot.
I understand your potential frustrations learning a language and completely empathise as I’ve gone through similar struggles and fears.
Locally, in Bristol, I’ve participated in a few Meetups of English-Spanish exchange to help learners of Spanish to practice conversation and answer questions about the language. I organised one of the sessions myself and the feedback was very positive with attendants encouraging me to teach.