I have been actively learning Mandarin for a total of 5 months now and I must say it is one of the most easiest languages to learn grammatically. However it gets really complicated when it comes to the tones. Mandarin is my 5th Language. I find studying languages with books and the traditional way is a waste of time. Well, not completely a waste of time but it is definitely not beneficial when it comes to speaking the language.
Some people spend hours writing and reading textbooks in Foreign languages. Studying the same grammar over and over again. Sometimes people are even learning too much grammar at once. The bottom line is reading and writing is defintely important in the process of language learning but speaking is the most important. When you are constantly focusing your time on textbooks and "studying grammar" you will eventually be great at "studying grammar" ... Get it? Not yet? ... okay. Well, no one is going to tell you that you are a great Korean speaker, instead they'll tell you that you are a great "Korean Studier." See where I'm going with this? If you continue to study and not practice, then your language learning will be useless. Study doesn't make perfect. Practice makes perfect!
Practice the Language?
“Speak the language" Record Yourself and repeat out loud, Mimic native speakers, Try talking to Natives!"
The most important part about language learning is the speaking. What is the use of learning a new language if you don't actually talk in the language. I know plenty of people who study new languages in college but they cannot hold a basic conversation because they do not practice enough.
How do you practice?
By taking whatever phrases that you learned in class or self-study and saying these phrases as often as possible. You will start to notice how you don't even have to think about it, you'll just start to say it naturally. For example, most people know that "Como estas" means "How are you" in Spanish. And we don't even have to think about the response "bien y tu"... Mainly because we've said it enough that it naturally rolls off our tongue. The same thing will continue to happen with the more phrases that you learn.
Who do you practice with?
Yourself & People
If you have no one else to practice with, you can practice with yourself by recording yourself on your phone talking in that language. Play the recording back and listen to yourself talk in that language. Evaluate your sound, speed and rhythm in the language. How do you sound? How fast are you talking? How many breaks are you taking? Record yourself daily. This is a great way to practice with yourself. Also I have created the "Interpret to Learn" aka "Ambie Method" that has been helping so many people practice daily. The Ambie Method provides you with language interpreting scripts to practice with! www.ambiemethod.com/shop I have been doing this method since 2012, when I first started learning Portuguese. By doing this method, I was speaking basic conversational Portuguese under 6 months.
You also want to practice with people! Get out of the house and go to the areas where people of that language hangout. Shop at Spanish markets. Go to see Spanish films. Hang out at the Spanish festivals. Visit Spanish speaking countries. You must SPEAK the Language with Natives. This is how you will get your practice in. You can even meet natives online to practice with in a language exchange. There are plenty of language exchange websites where you can find natives to practice with via skype/video calls.
Why Study? When You Can Practice?
In conclusion, studying is definitely needed but practicing the language will increase your chances of becoming a better speaker. And if you practice enough, you will become a fluent speaker! Good luck!