2> Start practicing, including reading, listening, speaking, writing. Making some Chinese friends will not be that hard if you are in China. Lots of Chinese people are willing to get to know westerners, some believe it is also a good opportunity for them to practice English.
In addition, the most efficient way is to learn Chinese through a piece of news, video clips, articles.
There are lots of Chinese-study blogs, they pop up such materials with some key words in Chinese together with Pinyin and English translation. Although it seems to be a little slow when you could only learn one or two words after watching a piece of material as above, it would be very helpful for you to understand the very deep meaning of the Chinese words, phrases, or slangs, and learn about the culture at the same time.