I am a native English speaker born and raised in Los Angeles California. My city has a lot of hispanic people and my friends are mostly hispanic. At times I felt left out when they would speak amongst each other in Spanish and I couldn't understand.
That is why I chose to learn the language in high school and college. You could say that I was proficient in speaking Spanish. However as years have passed, I found myself forgetting the language and it's disappointing since I was really proud of my Spanish speaking skills. Now you could say that I am a beginner.
I want to give you my five tips on how you can stay proficient in a language for the rest of your life. These five tips were what I did to become proficient in speaking Spanish, but didn't continue after college.
1. Speak to someone in the language you are trying to learn for about 10 minutes.
2. Read everyday for about 10 minutes out loud to yourself.
3. Watch or listen to someone speaking the language for about 10 minutes.
4. Read about 10 sentences in your native language and try to translate it to the language you are trying to learn.
5. Talk about your day to yourself or someone in the language.
These are tips that can be done daily or weekly. I wished I practiced at least one of these tips after I finished college.... but I didn't. Now I know how important it is to practice as a weekly or daily routine.