I studied languages at university. Because I was good at them I thought that way I'd get better grades but it was always a bit of a slog. I really struggled with Dante's Inferno and the Chanson de Roland when all I really wanted to do was learn how to order a cappucino in faultless dialect and chat up boys in French.
Since then technology has changed the world and I don't have to sit exams any longer so I've discovered the joys of learning languages for fun. On the way to work you'll find me listening to One Minute Greek podcasts and Turkish grammar lessons.
I've found that if you listen to the podcasts often enough you can learn a language automatically but not necessarily in the way you think. For example last time I was in Turkey I managed to lock myself out of my room, but I didn't have any words for that. My podcasts on hotel problems only covered booking a room and malfunctioning air conditioning. Geared with that particular script in my head I used it to get someone to let me into my room, only to find the a/c was working perfectly, fancy that.
My mates take huge delight in laughing at my hopeful attempts to communicate ( you know who you are) but when you think you have asked for some more ice and four pina coladas turn up on the house who is complaining?