I started to first take pictures seriously with a film SLR. Even thought it was about 3 years ago I went with film instead of digital first. Why? Well its a cheaper way to try an SLR camera. I was living in Tokyo at the time and wanted to make the switch to a better camera but I wasn’t sure what I wanted or what to do really. So I picked up a Pentax p30 for 2000 yen or about 20 USD. Instantly I knew it was better than the point and shoot that I was using and took 1 roll of color film had it developed and quickly realized it wasn’t practical for me to shoot film, at that time. After messing around with a digital camera for a while I decided to pick film up again. I continued to use the Pentax p30 with the 50mm 1.7 lens that came on it. It’s really amazing what you can get from that combination. The limitations make you adapt and learn. Having only prime lenses with a moderately fast aperture doesn’t make you overly ambitious when you start. I was lucky that near my house there was a place to develop film and so I shot as much as I could. Film cameras are just lighter and easier to put in your bag, so that’s what I did. I started to get into street photography because I had my camera with me all the time. Plus film just feels right for street. I’ve moved on now from the Pentax to rangefinders. That being said the Pentax p30 with 50mm 1.7 is a great combo and crazy value for money. It’s probably my favorite camera even after shooting Leica. It doesn’t have to be a Pentax though, many companies have similar packages. Any full manual or mostly manual camera with a prime lens would be a great start, I just happened to get the P30 at a local place for cheap.
To anyone wanting to learn photography I would highly recommend film first. If you live somewhere where you can get film developed for you its cheap to get started(though can be expensive if you get serious). Its a good way to try and see if your ready for a higher end digital camera without spending a lot of money. Plus you can put the manual focus lenses on your digital or mirror less cameras (if you have adapters/ same company). If your still a student you should take a photography class at your school! The cheapest way to shoot film by far, but you will work a lot developing it yourself. If none of these apply to you try to find a photography group or someone who shoots film and try to start from there!