I speak French and Spanish fluently, albeit not quite as fluently these days as I did when I spent time living in each country some years ago. I can also get by in Italian, having studied it alongside French & Spanish in the first two years of my University Studies.
I studied Modern European Languages at the University of Liverpool from 2004 – 2008, and this included a year spent living first in Marseille and then in Madrid where I taught English at a secondary school in Marseille and for a private language tuition company in Madrid.
A lot of people who learn languages get bored by the grammar side of things, but for me that was one of the most exciting and interesting parts. I think this is the scientific and geeky side of me coming out, as I saw the grammar as the bricks and mortar that makes the language and everything it sits on. I also found the linguistics and sociolinguistics modules really fascinating and chose them wherever possible.
A lot of people ask me why I studied languages at University when this isn’t a direction I’ve followed on with in my subsequent career and business ventures. The answer is simple: towards my mid-to-late teens I found I had two main interests that I wanted to foster: European languages and technology (and later, business). One of the best pieces of career advice I received was to study languages at University and keep my other interests as private/independent, therefore keeping both up, as I’d have a harder job doing it it the other way round.