MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE
You can choose a friend who also wants to learn the language. Agree to talk in your language of choice at least once per day or whenever you talk to each other.
Your friend does not have to be a native speaker. But, 10% of your time should be speaking with an advanced or native speaker. Use a dictionary or other tools when you feel the need.
If you cannot find a learning buddy ( a partner that is willing to commit to only speaking in a foreign language with you), hire a tutor.
You can also opt for language exchange with people who want to learn your language.
If you want to do some practice before traveling to a country for a 100% immersion, do about 50% conversation practice and 50% with some beginner learning resource.
The non-speaking parts of learning are to supplement the conversation practice, not to be in place of it.
Open a translating tool, type what you want to say, translate to the language you want to speak, try saying it to the other person.
If they understand you and say something you don't understand, ask them to write it down and use Google to translate it. It could be very awkward at first, but don't stress yourself too much about that.
This strategy of learning a new language only works if you speak in the language. If you are only able to spend 50% of your learning time in conversations, invest your time on the important aspects of the language that you can't focus on enough. It will be different for each language.
For instance, in Spanish, the conjugation system can be a bit overwhelming. Grammar exercise books might be useful. In Chinese, grammar is not so much the issue as pronunciation.
Although it is scary and hard, immersive practice is by far the most effective. When the person you're speaking with sees that you don't understand, they will automatically try to simplify what they communicate.
If you don't want to speak yet, you can also try reading or watching movies, until you have a high listening comprehension.
There are three possible reasons why the ability to learn a language decreases at 18.
A tutor is a dedicated person who can answer questions, explain how the language works and be an opportunity to practice speaking while you're still trying to make friends.