Wondering how you’re going to use your English in the real world?
Learning English is about more than reviewing vocabulary and grammar. You need to know how to actually use the language, and to hear how others use it. Luckily, there’s a way to learn English that will help you with both of these things: immersion.
Immersion is a more natural way of learning a language.
Not only does it help you learn real-world language skills, it makes learning fun! It also makes learning easier, because you can learn the language in a way that relates to your own life and experiences. This makes the language feel more relevant and provides more motivation for you to learn.
What Is Immersion?
One way of looking at immersion is that it’s a way of joining the culture of the language that you’re learning. In the case of English, you could use immersion by watching English-language movies, reading English-language books and even eating food from English-speaking countries.
To go even further in immersion, you could move to an English-speaking country or an area where a lot of English speakers live. You would hear the language on a regular basis. This would help you to hear the language in the real world, giving you exposure (access and experience) beyond textbook exercises.
6 EFFECTIVE WAYS TO LEARN ENGLISH THROUGH IMMERSION
Now that we know how great immersion is, what are some ways you can achieve it? Here are some ideas.
1. Start with your devices.
What language is your Facebook set to? What about your phone?
Our Internet connection might come with us wherever we go, but it’s also become an important part of our home. So to create an English immersion environment at home, you need to start with your online presence.
It’s time to change your phone, browser and social media account languages to English. Doing so will keep the language always in front of you, and it’s a good way to learn some new words: you already know all the words in your language, and now you’ll see them in English.
Here are a few links to get you started:
Congratulations, you’ve just taken the first step towards immersing yourself in English!
2. Take Cultural Field Trips
In your home country, look for English restaurants, stores and movies. If you live in a country where English is not the dominant (most popular) language, look to tourist areas (areas where you’ll find many travelers).
Hotels are often located near attractions that travelers like to visit. City centers or public squares will have many shops and places where travelers will be. English speakers love to travel, and many countries have dedicated areas where they meet.
Restaurants and stores in these areas will have Americanized food and products to make travelers more comfortable. Many of the staff in these restaurants and stores will know English. Visit these locations and practice ordering and asking about products in English. If you’re feeling brave, approach some travelers and practice English small talk.
In addition, some organizations, such as churches, may hold some meetings and services in English if there are a large number of English speakers in the area.
Check with local clubs and organizations to see if anything like this is available. By spending time at English-speaking events, you’ll challenge yourself to listen to your new language. You may even make some new English-speaking friends at the same time.
3. Plan Immersion Days
An immersion day goes one step beyond the cultural field trip. It’s an especially good option if there are no major English-speaking areas in your home country. You can immerse yourself without leaving your home.
Decide ahead of time that you’ll only listen to and speak in English for one full day. It will be uncomfortable, but at the end of the day, you’ll be happy that you accepted the challenge.
Here are some ideas for your immersion day:
4. Watch Authentic English Videos
You can make videos your main way of learning through immersion.
It works with your computer, tablet and smartphone so you can English immersion anytime, anywhere. Watch movies in English and this will help with different accents. Don’t forget to turn off the native language subtitles on English shows.
5. Designate an “English only” space or time.
Are you planning to turn your entire house into an English immersion experience? Or can you only change a section of it?
The more space you have filled with English things, the more effective this learning method is. If your whole house can be filled with English books, movies, music and other materials, that’s the best possible situation.
If you’re overwhelmed by the idea of being constantly surrounded by English, you can choose a certain room in your house to turn into your learning area. Any time you enter that room, your brain will know that it’s time to switch to English.
You can also choose a certain time to switch to English instead of (or along with) a physical space. Choose one or two hours every day to immerse yourself in English. Then actually do it! That means for that hour or two, you can only speak, read and write in English.
You could fill this time with all things English: English books, English TV shows or even an English course that allows you to gain a skill while practicing English.
6. Make notes in English.
What language do you use to make notes? If you usually write your notes in your native language, it’s time to change that, too.
Use English when you’re writing anything down, from your shopping list to your learning notes. Define vocabulary words in English (remember to use those English-to-English dictionaries).
Any time you write anything down, try to do it in English. Since you’re already using your speaking skills with learning partners and your reading skills with the items around your house and your digital devices, making notes in English will use your writing skills.
You don’t need to write essays or paragraphs. You’d be surprised at how effective just making one-word or two-word notes can be for learning English.