So, you’re convinced. A language tutor is a good idea. Where to find a good one, though?
1. Word of mouth.
If you live abroad, you probably have a few friends who’ve taken lessons in the local language. Word of mouth is broader and easier than it used to be, too. Post a Facebook status update; tweet the question; ask about it on LinkedIn.
2. Dedicated websites.
The best one I know of is language-school-tutors.com. Since it charges a tiny amount to tutors, it tends to attract professionals.
3. General websites.
You can find a tutor on sites like Gumtree or Craigslist, or anywhere that has classified ads.
4. Expat resources.
In Brussels, the Bulletin publishes a yearly newcomer’s guide to the city; their fortnightly magazine and their website also include classified ads. There is likely to be something similar where you are.
By clicking “learning Spanish”, I found this Spanish tutor in Denver, Colorado. Try tag surfing on WordPress or seeing if anyone on expat-blog can help.
How do I know if they are any good?
Word of mouth is by far your best and safest option here. People are unlikely to recommend tutors that they don’t like. You can also search for them on LinkedIn, and more broadly on the internet, and see what others say about them. Their website may give you an idea of who they are, as may their qualifications and credentials, and their prices: too low a fee may indicate they don’t think of themselves as a professional.
Most tutors charge for a sample lesson, but it’s important that you click with them, so that may be your best option. Even if the one you meet with isn’t what you are looking for, at least you will have a better idea of your requirements. The right tutor, like the truth, is out there.
— for more hints and tips on language learning, buy Conquering Babel: A Practical Guide to Learning a Language here in the US and here in the UK.