Learning a language can be difficult and boring textbooks rarely improve the situation. After all, even the best textbook is exactly that – a book – and no substitute for a conversation partner or native teacher. So what can you do to liven things up when your access to the real thing is limited? Sure, movies, music, and books can help bridge the divide but the real answer lies with immersion programs.
What are ESL immersion programs?
ESL immersion programs are a language learning device in which a learner is fully immersed in the target language for a certain period. The process is considered “immersive” because when language coursework is delivered in English the target language becomes both the subject and the means instruction. While immersion programs can take place anywhere, most experts believe that the best ESL immersion experiences take place is true English-speaking environments.
Why go abroad?
Think of it as the ultimate educational getaway. Although considerably more expensive than domestic options, international ESL immersion programs offer numerous advantages. Because English is being spoken both inside and outside of class, students have more opportunities to practice their speaking and listening skills. Plus, these opportunities are not only more numerous but also more realistic: immersion students have the chance to hear the language as it is really spoken by native speakers. In this way students can learn from their teachers as well as their environment. Every step from watching television or catching the bus can potentially become a learning experience. Plus – and this part is crucial – living in an English-speaking environment is different from studying. By living instead of studying you are less likely to be over-corrected – shop clerks are not teachers, after all – and, as a result, build your confidence. And, as any language student knows, confidence is the key to conversational English. So what are you waiting for?
Take a look online and see if you can find an immersion program that suits your needs. Once you go you will be glad you did!