I was raised in Los Angeles in a house where English was the primary language. However, both of my parents are former Peace Corps volunteers who were stationed in Ecuador. They both speak Spanish fluently and when my sisters and I were little they would try and have “private” conversations in Spanish.
The end result was that I picked up a lot of Spanish and even took it briefly in school. While I would not say that I am fluent, I still understand a fair amount. One of my sisters really focused upon it and is very proficient in it.
In addition to Spanish and English I also received much exposure to Hebrew and Yiddish. I took classes in those as well. There was a time in which I was enrolled concurrently in classes in English, Hebrew and Yiddish. I was supposed to continue my Spanish coursework, but four languages was just too much so I dropped it.
As time passed I focused upon my Hebrew. At one point in time I began to have dreams in Hebrew and I really felt very comfortable with it. I eventually even took an advanced course in College. There were 15 of us in there and I was one of three students who was not Israeli and or did not speak it at home.
The rule was that once class began you were not allowed to speak anything but Hebrew. It was an excellent class and at times very challenging for me, but I really enjoyed it.
The challenge with speaking a “foreign” language is to make sure that you continue to use it. Unfortunately for a variety of reasons I began to use my Hebrew less and less and my proficiency and comfort level dropped as well.
Now I find myself eavesdropping on conversations so that I can practice. It is rough some times because my vocabulary has shrunk and I find myself racking my brain to remember what the meaning is of certain words. . One of these days I need to resume my learning because I am sure that with a little practice I can bring myself back up to speed.