Getting more out of....learning a language
The best way to get more out of a language is to travel to the country where it is spoken, and immerse yourself in it. It will not only do wonders for your command of the language, but it could also (depending on your choice of language) do wonders for your suntan. Staying with a family can be a lottery, but with a bit of luck it can add hugely to the enjoyment.
A number of years ago now, I went to stay with a large family in the South of France (near Hyéres). With a glass of wine in one hand and a slice of french bread and brie in the other, I spent many evenings enjoying the warm evening air and joining in the animated discussion around the table on the verandah. This course was organised through ELFCA, L’Institut d'Enseignement de la Langue Française sur la Côte d'Azur, and it was fantastic.
Keeping up with a language when you at home is another tricky one. In Europe there are many free-to-air channels in English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, available on satellite (Astra and Eutelsat/HotBird are best for these languages). Via a single dish you can also choose Russian, Turkish, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Polish and a whole host of other channels.
Satellite is definitely the best and cheapest option, as cable companies tend to charge a premium for foreign language channels. For under £100 with no monthly fee you can have access to all these channels. (For a list of available channels and whether or not you will need a decoder, there is no better site than satcodx. It takes a bit of navigating, though.
Magazines and other periodicals are another top source of material for keeping up with a language. Most major magazines are able to handle international subscriptions. Try Yahoo’s media category for examples. Of course you won’t need to subscribe to many of these, as the websites will provide you with more than enough material.
There are also excellent structured resources for intermediate learners. I can recommend Champs-Elysées, in this area. Their tapes and CDs are structured around intermediate / advanced learners and pick up where many courses leave off.
Champs-Elysées have excellent material for French, German, Spanish & Italian. Check it out below:
I have personally subscribed to all but the Italian magazine and can wholeheartedly recommend them.
Don’t forget to look further into sites like the Human Languages page, as through these you can find email newsletters and similar.