The possibility to communicate with people using another language, to watch a movie or read a book in its original idiom is one of the human capabilities more similar to a superpower.
I started learning languages very young but with little effect. My first trip to Burkina Faso convinced me of the necessity to improve and a subsequent seminar in Kandersteg consolidated that resolve. I was following the discussion in the French group, to understand something of what was said but then had to move to the English group to express my ideas.
More courses followed. At private schools and at Rome University (strangely quite good). Then I had the opportunity to attend a French course at the Council of Europe Youth Center in Strasbourg. A worthwhile experience.
After Cambodia, I went to London and while looking for a job I was studying English, of course. And I continued afterwards (didn’t find any job, though).
I have some basic notions of spoken Khmer and happily noticed that when going back to the country after several years, the little knowledge I had of that strange language was kept almost intact, as freezed in my memory.
Still, communication is not made by linguistic knowledge alone. Actually, the most important factor is the urge to pass a message and to get some from the interlocutors. Without that any conversation remains an empty exercise.