I have served in the U.S. Air Force, tried my hand at sales and business, and finally settled on working in the international education industry, where I have had opportunities to live in South Korea, China, and Indonesia.
I was a heritage learner, so my motivation was very strongly and intrinsically driven.
Currently in Indonesia, I can do things personally and professionally that limit other expatriates. Professionally, I can get up and talk to an audience (although this is still a work in progress). I have no problems talking to parents about their child’s progress, which is crucial to building rapport as an educator. I can attend seminars and other professional development trainings and communicate professionally. Personally, I am more independent, so I can handle my own errands where others need to bring a friend to help translate. Most importantly, I can socialize with friends and date.
The class size was small, so I had several opportunities for practice. Additionally, the classes were initially conversationally focused in order to build confidence quickly.
I was involved in APAC (Asian Pacific American Council). Most members were also heritage learners, so the common experience was helpful to know I was not the only one on campus. They came from other heritages as well, and their stories were very inspiring.
I am fortunate to have friends, co-workers, and relatives to speak with. Reading and writing skills are challenging to maintain when work does not require these skills.
You have find out what works for you and you alone, be it flash cards, making new friends, reading books, watching films, or listening to podcasts. Variety will help, but learning about your unique learning style and sticking to the discipline will advance your language skills.