Hi There are lots of similar questions here already, but you'll find one here...
Short version: start by doing whatever you enjoy doing, but do it in a foreign language (and ideally in a foreign country)!
answered 18 Feb '16, 03:30
Hello, The techniques are listed in the question Andy mentions.
As to advice to an 18-year-old: don't limit yourself to studying languages! Let your curiosity run away with you. Be a dilettante and learn something about a lot of things, before drilling down and becoming a specialist in one thing. Had I studied a bit of engineering and physics, my life would have been much easier. Because I studied some history, economics, law, biology, art history, politics, and international relations, and I read the paper every day, my life was easier than that of some of my colleagues.
You never know what will come in handy. In interpreting school I had an entire module on the artificial insemination of cows because my teacher was an expert and was translating and interpreting the topic a lot. My first job for the US Dept of State involved a visit to a farm, where they practiced the artificial insemination of cows! My partner was a bit panicky, but I had it under control ;-) Of course, it has come up rarely since then...
answered 19 Feb '16, 09:06