It should come as no surprise that English is the lingua franca – that is, unifying language – of the 21st century. It is, after all, one of the official languages of the United Nations, the European Union, and many other organizations around the world, as well as the common language of exchange in boardrooms and classrooms in places as varied as Brussels, Burundi, and Brunei.
Still, though it may be the most widely spoken second language in the world, it falls squarely behind Mandarin and Spanish as the third most common native language in the world. As a result, then, though English speakers are common (and English learners commoner still), there are relatively few places where students can learn English as it is used by native speakers. This is unfortunate because, while there may be relatively few places immerse oneself in English, such immersion remains the best way to learn the language. After all, even if the best language classes must eventually end, living in English immersion destinations can present a unique form of “extracurricular homework” – and, indeed, invaluable practice.
It is with this in mind, then, that we begin this series on English immersion destinations. In the weeks and months ahead we will try to explore some of the more useful (and interesting) English immersion destinations that are equipped to meet the needs of aspiring English speakers. Through the course of this series we hope to shed new light into even the most obvious immersion venues – English, after all, started in England, and so too will our tour – as well as some of the more off-the-beaten path – South Africa, anyone? – opportunities. In so doing we hope to show that the English immersion destinations that exist are every bit as rich and varied as the language itself!