I quite often hear this question, so here are a few ideas:
A great way is to join an evening class. It is far more fun to learn German (or any other language) in a group. It is easier to revise as the group can practise a particular topic in lots of ways and it doesn’t seem boring. There is also less pressure on you when the teacher asks a question. If you don’t know the answer, hopefully somebody else does 😉
I can’t find a group close to me!
If you can’t join a group, then consider private lessons on a one-to-one basis. This will be dearer but more intensive, so you learn more in a shorter time. Maybe you can find another person who also wants to learn German, that could put the price down, too. I charge by the hour, no matter whether it is one student or a small group, lots of other tutors do the same.
But I can’t even find a tutor close to me! I’ve looked everywhere!
Consider online tuition via Skype, Zoom or Whereby (my preferred choice). It may seem a bit weird in the beginning, but online lessons can be just as good as face-to-face. If you like to know more about it, email me and we can discuss this further. EDIT 2022: During the COVID lockdown I moved all my lessons to online and prefer it so much, that it’s all I offer now. If you’re not sure, hav a trial session. You’ll find it does work really well.
But I can’t find a group and I can’t afford private lessons! Can I study on my own?
There a numerous self study books around and there are lots of interesting websites where you can study on your own. Most of these are very good, but you don’t get any feedback on your pronunciation. Also, what do you do if you really don’t understand something? Most importantly, you need a lot of determination to spend some time every week on your learning! So far, I have come across one student who self taught himself successfully, and even he is now having lessons because he wants to be sure that his German is good.
If you really feel you can’t afford weekly lessons, consider a lesson a fortnight, or every three weeks or even once a months. I am very flexible and I am sure, so are other tutors. So, use a self study course at home but check your progress with your tutor once every so often. That way you have an incentive to do your work every week and you will know whether you are doing well.
Whichever way you chose, enjoy it!
Edit 2016: If you want to learn German by yourself and get feedback, consider some of my online courses. They are a combination of working on your own by following short videos and completing the tasks, but there is also the option to discuss things with the tutor or fellow students. You can always add the odd one-off private online lesson.