I get annoyed by people who ask me to teach them a foreign language (French, Swedish, you name it) over the internet. Most of the time I accept to help them because they're already learning on their own, or have French classes in school. So we exchange e-mails for a starts, trying to find interesting but not too complicated subjects to talk about in either French or Swedish. This girl I know who lives in California is doing her best to try being enthusiastic about it all, we even tried to use Skype to converse in those languages, which turned out being me talking all the time But it was funny anyway.
Eventually the e-mail thing turned out being pretty tedious because whatever corrections and explanations I provided her, she wasn't making any real progress, doing the same mistakes over and over.... I guess you can blame a lot of things for that: the high school educational system that is just crappy about languages, the teachers, the fact that my friend doesn't have much access to any media in French, lack of practice, etc. But it really felt like she was resting all her hopes on me to make her get better in the language. Maybe I'm a bad teacher? Or she possibly gets so stressed out each time she's writing to me that she spontaneously forgets about her lessons... who knows. She often told me about a possible trip to Europe, eventually that revealed itself to cost her a LOT of money so she just gave up on the idea.
If I had to suggest anybody who wanted to learn a new language: don't do it unless you know a native person who can teach you in real life, and who has experience in teaching (like, a teacher ), also make sure you have a large variety of foreign media at your reach (DVDs, music, TV channels...). Learning a foreign language means that you're gonna have to keep an open mind... And temporarily forget about your native speech and mentality, even if that means isolating yourself from your family and friends once in a while But it's necessary if you wanna drop that heavy American accent!!!
Also: don't ever tell a European person about how cool Europe is, and how the US sucks compared to it. That kind of makes me mad for unconscious reasons Last time I spoke to my french-learning friend there, I couldn't help but tell her how France and Sweden were in reality, the downsides and all, not wanting to crush her dreams but more like telling her that she should enjoy what she has at her reach.
Yeah so long story short: I hate people making assumptions about foreign cultures and thinking they're smarter because they're interested in them, rejecting their own culture as if being American was a curse. Hell, I'm French and as much as I hate this country sometimes, you don't see me bitching about at the least occasion