A friend of mine has lived in Beijing for 2 years, the other day he was joking about his Chinese and said he still couldn’t figure out mum（妈 mā) and horse（马 mǎ) after hours of classes.
Most people think that by putting themselves in the language environment, they could pick up the language quickly and automatically. To be honest, it is not the environment that matters the most, but your learning attitude.
A simple experiment, if you want to make a bottle of pickles, would you choose Lego blocks or cucumbers? Well, in this case, Lego blocks represent people who refuse to learn and practice the language whenever possible whereas the cucumbers are people who are always eager and ready to absorb new words and phrases.
Even if you are not in a Chinese-speaking region, you can always immerse yourself in Chinese songs, shows, movies, books and make a few friends who can speak the language with you. Keep an open heart and stay hungry.
P.S. The BBC has a great game in learning and practicing the tones in mandarin Chinese, try it out and don’t give yourself excuses when comes to learning!