In my case, I applied for a German course (6 hours per week), and I found it very helpful at the beginning. I think for every language, the kindergarten (initial phase) is very important. (such as pronouciation rules, basic sentence structure)
Later on, you can decide your own ways to work on it.
And if you have any questions, just post them here. You will get more than you expected. :)
As for language partner, I don't think it's that practical at the beginning, i.e. I don't believe those people who claiming "I want to learn Spanish/Italian/German/whatever, I am looking for a native speaker to exhcange language, and I can teach you my mother tongue". That is sort of 胡说八道(I'm afraid it will be banned if I type in English =P)
Anyway, you have already found a good place to ask question, which can be a good start. :)