Your experience with thinking in another language
I was wandering about thinking in another language when it started how you got there did it surprise you and how has it changed the way you view the world
When: from three weeks to three months depending upon the language and exposure. How: intensive training and reading. Changed worldview: emphasized that everyone everywhere has the same needs and desires, we are more alike than we are different; gained self-confidence and increased comfort-level when dealing with people from countries/cultures other than my own.
By now I'm so used to thinking in my first foreign language that I don't notice when I switch; I can't remember the first time it happened naturally rather than consciously anymore either. Certain topics are just much easier in that language than in my native one.
I do remember the first time I dreamt in Japanese, after a period of several weeks of very intense study and immersion. The Japanese was actually correct and made sense after waking up, which felt like a huge break and step of progress. Ironically, I have not once dreamt in Italian yet, despite being much more fluent in it, though I do often practice thinking in Italian.
At one point, I just began to think in English, since I was reading a lot in this language : it would just continue when I was going to bed. The strange thing is that I was not fluent yet, that’s how I understood how important it is to have a word for it when we want to think about a concept. Today I kinda have different uses, like thinking in English when I relax and in my native language when I have to work. It’s pretty useful, but sometimes disturbing.
I found that it happened gradually, for me. I am able to read without translating (there are occasional words I still need to look up, so it's not complete), understand SLOW Spanish, and pretty much find the words I want to use, but not necessarily the correct form of those words, without going through English. It's a work in progress. Change my world view? Well, it really hasn't, not a lot.