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April 2017

How to Create Instant Immersion for Language Learning

The next best thing to living in a foreign country

Living abroad is hands down the best method for quickly and effectively learning a foreign language. Being surrounded by the language and having to use it in every context of life forces you to learn out of necessity. But not everyone is able to move just to learn a new language. Plane tickets are expensive and many students need to work. Immersion through travel simply isn’t an option for some.

If you break down the benefits to language learning from being in the country of your target language, however, you can attempt to recreate the experience back at home. Obviously, it would not be the true experience living abroad but a sort of simulation. With enough mental dedication and habit forming, you could do a lot without a single step out of your home.

Here are some tips for creating instant immersion in your home to facilitate language learning.

Change the soundtrack of your life

This may be easier if you live alone or are with someone who speaks your target language, but it should be doable to some extent for most people. Surround yourself with your target language at home, both aloud and in your mind. Get your news from foreign broadcasts, try and find foreign television shows, listen to foreign music, and read only books written in your target language. When you move around your home, think in your target language. If your vocabulary is limited, place adhesive notes around the home translating each home object until you know them all, then slowly take them away. Whatever it is that you habitually do each day, try and convert it into your target language.

Make new friends

Use online services to find groups of people willing to meet in person to speak your target language within your hometown. Become friends with them and meet regularly throughout the week. Endeavor to speak only in your target language whenever you meet. When you text each other, write only in your target language. If possible, try and befriend patient native speakers who might be willing to share some helpful language advice.

Write often

Whether you’re chatting with online friends from foreign countries or doing some creative writing, try and write in your target language as often as possible. When you write in your diary, write in your target language (it will also make it harder for others to read). When you need to remind yourself of something, leave your notes in your target language. Writing often is a great exercise for pushing the boundaries of your vocabulary.

Change your web experience

Oft-used websites like Facebook support many languages. Changing your default language to your target language will transform your web experience into that which a person in your target country might see. Take this a step further by changing the language on your mobile phone, including that of the voice assistant (such as Siri or Alexa). It may take some getting used to, but you’ll quickly find your mind thinking in your target language.

The more you change, the more your brain adapts. It’s not easy rearranging your routine life to fit a new language, but it’s still much cheaper and easier than moving to another country. Give these tips a shot and you’ll no doubt find yourself improving little by little each day, perhaps without even realising it.

What are some of your tips for replicating immersion? Let us know your thoughts on our Facebook Page, and be sure to “like” TELC English for more articles on language and study tips!

Picture (c) Fotolia, Antonioguillem