Whether you’re studying Gaeilge as a native Irish person or as part of the Irish diaspora, the most important aspect to consider is staying motivated. It is true that there're several ways to achieve this goal, however, the best methodology to keep in mind is to maintain your passion for the Irish language. This is especially true regardless of whether you’re a native or of Irish descendent as the language can be difficult to learn. So how do you do this? How do you maintain the passion for Irish even through challenging and discouraging times? The answer is simple: embrace the Irish culture as your own even if you live in the United States.
Yes, you can learn Irish for economic reasons if you live in Ireland, and If you’re lucky even in the United States as well, but this overall concept is probably not the strongest foundation for motivating yourself to learn Irish. As part of the Irish diaspora, I originally learned Gaeilge for the love of the language and it has sustained me through even the most disappointing times. I recall clearly when I first started studying the declensions and how to use them I became overwhelmed and only a love for the language and Irish culture could have kept me focused. But this brings up the question: if you live outside of Ireland how do you maintain an interest in Irish culture and thus in your Irish roots?
The answer at its core is basically centered on the ideal that the love of Ireland will always be in yourself, but despite that you occasionally need encouragement. The good news is that it is quite easy to do this. Listening to online Irish Gaelic radio at www.RTE.ie, watching online Irish Gaelic television at www.TG4.ie, reading Irish Gaelic books, maintaining an Irish Gaelic journal, and tutoring people in Irish Gaelic help a great deal. However, the best way is to get involved in an Irish-American society if you live within the United States since it is the closest to a complete culture immersion you might ever get.
So what is so special about aligning yourself with your Irish heritage? It is different for each person but in general it provides a cultural identity that reflects how you see yourself, your past, and future. And that in itself is priceless. Even if you were to make a living off of teaching the language, the passion for the language is what keeps you going. Without it, you would be not be able to improve and push yourself to new limits.