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  • Judy Schulten

34. Hire a private tutor.

This seems obvious and is easy to do. However, in my experience, it is wise to specify a particular goal and a specific time in which you and the tutor will be working toward your goal. Without a set time period and goal, it becomes a social problem when you want to quit. From the start, remember that you are the customer and it’s your job to maintain control of the lessons.

I have hired tutors for prices ranging from $20/hour to $68/hour. I’ve always had a goal in mind. Once it was to take a college entrance Spanish placement test, which I’d signed up for just to make myself study. Once it was to read three famous chapters of Don Quixote. Once it was to take advantage of a two-week vacation in Costa Rica. Currently, I have a tutor to whom I e-mail an essay I’ve written in Spanish. The choice of subject and intervals between essays are mine to determine. I pay him when he replies to my essay with his corrections.

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53. Take heart from other mediocre linguists.

It's fun to read about other people's struggles with a second language. Fun, and somehow comforting. I just read Monsieur Mediocre, by John von Sothen, an American married to a French woman, living in


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