At the time when I lived in Italy, I met another girl from Barcelona who had arrived two years before me. She had never studied Italian and yet she was fluent. However, she made quite a few mistakes due to the influence of both Catalan and Spanish. On the contrary, I spent my first 3 months in Florence studying Italian, it was an intensive course that followed the communicative method (which implies speaking from day one). I’ve always been a bit of a “pain in the ass” when it comes to using languages, and even though she didn’t know it, I couldn’t help but mentally correct her every time she said something wrong.
Returning to Mark, in his case, he only needs to speak enough to communicate on his trips, which he can already do in both Spanish and Italian. Personally, I like to speak languages perfectly, so I prefer to study them, in addition to practicing until I master them (but I guess that makes me a language geek). So, before studying a language, perhaps we should ask ourselves what is our goal when learning that language and what are our self-demands.
In any case, practice is essential. And now you have the option to practice both online and in person, at our weekly and free language exchanges.