I knew that when we came to Mexico, I wouldn't want to enroll in another language school this time around. But, how would I learn Spanish on my own? I don't always have the self-discipline to do an online course/self study and I also wanted a more personal touch.
I found the answer to my dilemma one day after first arriving in Mexico. I was eating lunch in a local cafe in Ajijic. A local newspaper employee, Rosario, was also there eating lunch. While I was using my "baby Spanish" to try to order, she saw that I was having difficulty so she offered to help me. Rosario came over to sit with me at my table and together we worked out my language issues and had a few laughs too.
Once we introduced ourselves and I learned a bit more about Rosario, I took the initiative to ask her if she would be interested in doing a free English/Spanish teaching exchange with me. I explained that I would help her improve her English conversation, which she needed for work, and she would help me learn some much needed Spanish vocabulary. Rosario's face lit up, and immediately set our first "coffee date" for later that week.
I am still very weak in comprehending spoken Spanish, especially at the lightning quick rate the locals speak it, but Rosario gave me some easy daily homework. She recommended that I listen to Mexican music and watch Mexican television, which I do. It helps me to absorb the language spoken at a conversational rate, yet it's in a setting where I am completely relaxed.
So, not only do I have a new teacher, I also consider Rosario my friend. If you travel to another country for an extended period of time and want to learn a language for free, try making a local friend and exchange language services while just hanging out together! Best decision I ever made.