I recently decided to be more serious about learning a new language, and between the two that I already am familiar with, Chinese and French, I chose Chinese. My goal is to become fluent within six months, so we'll see how I've progressed by September 1st.
I've learned that the best way to learn a new language is just to speak it, mistakes and all. The best thing about being a college student is that there are many, many international students to practice with. I have already made several friends this semester.
Learning Mandarin is not half as hard as it is made out to be. Yeah, you have to watch your tones, but even that is pretty easy once you get a feel for it. But the grammar and vocabulary make so much sense and are much simpler than western languages. For instance, no verb conjugation or tenses, no masculine/feminine shenanigans, etc. Where it is difficult, however, is character recognition. But thanks to pinyin, the Romanized system of spelling Chinese, I don't have to worry about it until later.
by DTH Rocket