Language immersion is a term that is used widely these days. What is language immersion and is there a benefit to being immersed in a language while you’re striving to learn it?
What is language immersion?
So, first of all, let’s have a look at what language immersion means. In the most basic terms it means fully living, or immersing yourself, in your target language that you’re learning. It means living in a country where it is spoken, listening to it daily and giving yourself opportunities to practice it daily too. If possible it’s ideal to stop speaking your native language while immersed so that you can get a better experience, but this can be difficult depending on whether the country you go to has many speakers of your home language eager to practice themselves!
Language immersion benefits
There are so many benefits of language immersion but the main one for me is that it makes you focus solely on your language but in a fun and exciting way. Yes you can focus every day on language learning at your desk or in a class, but it can be boring, dry and sometimes a little soul destroying! Practicing with the shop owner as you buy your daily food or as you participate in a dancing class is much more interesting and exciting.
The fact that you’ll not be hearing your native language is also a big benefit and it forces you to learn more and also fine tunes your ear to hearing it spoken in many different ways, speeds and accents.
You simply can’t get the same experience from a classroom. Adding in some language immersion, whether it’s for a week or a year is so worth it!
Language immersion pros and cons
With the benefits mention above in mind it’s important to look at not just those but also the cons as well. Although I do think it’s a great way to learn a language it’s not without it’s difficulties!
- It gives you so many more real life situations to learn from
- It can get you to a higher fluency level much quicker
- it’s more than just learning words – you learn about the cultural norms, slang and real life!
- It’s your life and so you don’t have to have a dedicated time to practise, although if you added practice time too you’ll learn so much faster
- requires a lot of dedication, bravery and a certain amount of freedom.
- can be very confusing at first – there’s a high chance of giving up
- can be expensive or hard to arrange
- can mean other aspects of your life come second to the language