Hello, I am a high school student approaching the time to decide what to study at university. I am very interested in languages however I also want to study technical subjects as well. My question is whether you think formal study in a foreign language is necessary to reach fluency (exclude the possibility of going to a country where the language is spoken which is not possible now)? What are the benefits of formal study compared with self-study? The thing is I am mainly interested in the language itself and not really very interested in the literature, culture etc (well I am, but I don't really care about studying it in a formal environment). How much time would you think I would need to spend on it daily to keep my language at a good level without losing it, and are there any specific study techniques you would recommend (that is, study techniques for someone restrained with time)?
Thanks a lot for your advice, I appreciate it.
It's fully possible to learn a language without formal study and without going to a country that speaks it, but there's no doubt that you have to be very diligent at it. On the other hand, you can't be lazy about it just because you're taking a class or you're in the country, so I guess that's true either way.
My own high school experiences tell me that classes are as worthless as the Antimoon website says. I was lucky that I was stuck in a Spanish class for a few years, though, because last summer I rediscovered the Spanish language and found that, now that I'm not being forced to learn it, I actually like it. I've made a lot of progress and now speak Spanish than I ever did in high school, despite there having been a gap a few years long between high school and last summer.
On the other hand, being in a one-on-one teaching environment with a tutor might prove to be a valuable experience. I won't know until I try it, though, and I probably won't get to anytime soon.
Take classes, there is no harm in it but spend some time on self-study on a daily basis.