What is ‘Total Immersion’ When it Comes to Learning a Language?

27/01/2016 Image
There are lots of reasons to learn a second (or third, or fourth) language. It can present great new career opportunities, allow you to comfortably live or study in a different country, or even just be a fun hobby you can do to improve your personal skill set and allow you to communicate better when you travel on vacation.

There are lots of methods people use to develop foreign language skills, or to move themselves up from a basic level through to fluency. These can include traditional classroom lessons, online courses, and even modern forms of learning using things like apps. However, one method that seems to yield the best results in the fastest time is what is known as ‘total immersion’. Here, we look at just what that means, and why it can be so effective.

Total Immersion for Language Learning

Total immersion typically involves doing an intensive course of language lessons while also living or staying in a place where the language you are studying is spoken. This means that during the day you will be doing different sessions to teach you new vocabulary, practice reading, writing, speaking and listening, and to hone your grammar, and then, while it is all still fresh in your mind, you’ll be using the skills to interact with people in the place you are staying in.

Why Does Total Immersion Work So Well?

There are lots of different theories about what happens in the brain while we develop new language skills, but total immersion is not some ‘trick’ method designed to boost your learning potential – it simply puts you in a position where you are surrounded by the language you are learning and hearing it around you all the time while you are studying it. You don’t just have the opportunity to practice everything you learn during your classes – you simply can’t help but do it, as every normal interaction you are involved with or overhear will be in that language. Where if you took language classes in your own country you would finish the lessons and then use your first language again in the grocery store or watch TV in your own language at home, total immersion means you don’t keep switching between your new language and your native one, but begin to live and think in your new language. 

Types of Total Immersion Courses

Total immersion courses are the perfect option if you have moved to a country with a different language and want to hone your skills fast, but they can also be great for business travellers. English courses with Berlitz, who have a school in Dublin, for example, can focus on business aspects of the language like marketing and presentation skills, while still offering the total immersion experience when you are not in class.

If you want or need to improve skills in a foreign language, total immersion really is the best way to do it fast, and in a way that will become usable almost instantly.

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