Learning a new language has been a lifetime desire of mine, but despite years of Spanish in high school and two semesters of Japanese in college I can barely hold a basic conversation in either of those languages.
But now there is Duolingo.
Duolingo was created by Luis von Ahn, the creator of reCAPTCHA, as a way to fix a major problem on the Internet: the inefficiency of language translation program. (If you need proof, check out the hit song "Let It Go" translated through Google Translate). His idea was to give real people a free way to learn a language and then let them do the translations themselves. People get to learn a language free and the Internet becomes more accessible to everyone, so there is really no downside.
Duolingo, for English speakers, offers courses in popular languages like French, Spanish, and Italian, but also offers courses less-widespread languages like Irish, Swedish, and Danish. There are even more courses being built all the time by actual Duolingo users. Soon you will be able to learn Polish, Vietnamese, and even the artificial language Esperanto on Duolingo, again all for free.
Keep in mind, Duolingo will not make you fluent or a professional translator, but it will give you a solid foundation with everyday words and grammar to help you out if you ever get stranded in a foreign country.
And, hey, while you are there, feel free to add me on Duolingo as a friend!