How to Prepare for Your English Language Immersion Trip
It is easy to get caught up in the basics of preparing for a trip away from home, like packing the usual items such as clothes, shoes, toiletries, and other day-to-day necessities. Although these are important, it is just as prudent to be prepared for the interactions you will be engaging in while there. The purpose of an immersion course is to place yourself into the native environment of the language you will be learning. So while you may think that simply living in the country of the language is sufficient enough, it is actually best to learn as much as you can prior to arriving. Here are a few tips on how to get a jump on your education.
Make the most of your free time
Every opportunity is a learning opportunity, from going to the grocery store to taking a stroll through the park. The easiest way to make the most of your daily routine is by using everything available. There are tons of apps that can help you perfect your language skills anytime during the day. Listen to common phrases while shopping and practice your pronunciation when sitting at the laundry mat. Make the most of every minute of your day.
Change the language setting on your electronic devices
Cell phones, TVs, and computers often have the option to change their language settings. Adjust all of your devices to display in English. This will help you become accustomed to seeing things in your chosen language so that you are not too shocked when you arrive in your new country. You can even change the main language of your internet browser to help you learn more words even faster. This will come in handy when reading signs, menus, or even browsing through the websites.
Entertain yourself in English
Once you arrive, one of the first things you will notice is the difference in TV programs and radio stations. Prepare yourself ahead of time by listening to and watching as much English music and TV shows as possible. Podcasts and internet streaming can benefit you in finding international radio stations and movies. If you don’t know where to start, simply pick your favorite genre and search the internet for reviews on artists and shows that are similar to what you already like. It is also a good idea to start listening to the news of your host country so that you can have an idea of what current events are happening there.
Read, read, read
Continuing with the earlier thought of entertaining yourself in your target language, take the time to read as well. This may be the easiest thing to do since you can simply go online and find blogs, news sites, and celebrity gossip pages all catering to a specific demographic and language. As hard as it may be, set aside your books and magazines and switch to the English versions. Engulf yourself even if you cannot yet understand everything in them. Keep a dictionary on hand to help build your vocabulary as you prepare yourself to live in an environment that no longer caters to your native tongue. This can also help ease the culture shock that might experience by putting you in an immersion frame of mind prior to your arrival.
One last thought…
Although immersion is the best way to learn, it can also be the most frightening as it completely removes you from your comfort zone and place you in the right in the middle of the unfamiliar. However, by taking the time to prepare, you can help ease the fear so that you can focus on all of the benefits of taking an immersion course.
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