When talking about the most efficient way to learn a new language, there is one word that always pops up: immersion. You may have seen this in studies, articles and discussions related to language learning and the best way of learning languages. But what does it actually mean?
As a teaching method, immersion means that the instruction is given in a foreign language. Meanwhile, in the context of gaming, immersion means strong psychological connection to the game world, a kind of submerging into the virtual reality of the game.
When it comes to language learning, immersion usually means learning a new language in the most natural way possible – in practice, being in a country where the language is spoken. This is also known as in-country immersion.
However, it’s not always possible to travel to or live in another country, whether due to career, family, financial or other practical reasons. But don’t worry! You can immerse yourself in another language in your hometown and your own home as well.
7 ways to create an immersive environment at home
For example, if you want to learn Spanish, do at least the following:
1) Change the language of your phone to Spanish.
2) Listen to Spanish radio online.
3) Watch a movie in Spanish.
4) Listen to a Spanish podcast.
5) Look up a recipe in Spanish and cook the food.
6) Exercise with the Comprehensive Spanish course package 15-30 minutes every day.
All that said, true immersion can’t be achieved all by yourself.
Yes, it means you have to pick up your courage, go out and find people you can really speak Spanish with. The best way is to 7) meet up regularly with a tutor or a language buddy.
Weekly meetings with a tutor or a language buddy will make your studying more efficient and motivating. You will also have that certain feeling of accountability, which encourages you to keep going and study regularly. What’s more, studying with a buddy or a tutor is like a safe practice environment where it’s okay to try putting words together, be unsure and make mistakes.
The best places to find tutors and language buddies are university noticeboards and the internet. Look up ”language buddy” or ”language exchange” and your location. There are also websites, such as Tandem and My Language Exchange, just for the purpose of finding language buddies.
Many places also have language clubs, where you can practice together with other learners and native speakers. Check Meetups for any activity in your location or look up ”cafe lingua” or ”language cafe” in your city.
National Red Cross/Red Crescent societies also organise international friendship activities and language cafés where you can help others learn your language and learn their languages at the same time.
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