There are generally two paths to learning a foreign language as an adult or an adolescent- the academic and the experiential route. While either of these approaches may potentially lead to a masterful command of the language, when they are employed together language learning becomes a fast, fun, and life-changing experience. A full-immersion program which combines study with real-life situations is a great option for the eager student of a foreign language.
Living in a foreign country is a 24-hour a day learning experience. Situations abound in which limitations in expression and comprehension must be surpassed, and these are the moments in which a special kind of experiential learning takes place. Given a pressing reason to express ourselves we find that we are capable of saying much more than we would have thought. In addition, the contact with native speakers provides us with a constant influx of new vocabulary and models of correct speech.
The startling number of new situations which we face in a foreign country can often be overwhelming, but a solid academic study of the language gives us the tools necessary to quickly and efficiently interpret this information and incorporate it into our own language skills. In a full-immersion program, students divide their time between real-life language situations and methodical classroom study. Classroom lessons are verified personally by the students in their experiences and situations encountered on the street are clarified at school. The academic and experiential methods thereby work together to accelerate the student’s foreign language acquisition.
There’s no doubt about it- full-immersion is a fast and balanced way to learn a foreign language, but it is also a tremendously rewarding and exciting experience which leaves the student with memories and friendships which will last a lifetime. Exploring a foreign country puts the student in direct contact not only with a foreign language but with a new culture; the possibilities to meet new people and have new, life-changing experiences are endless. Students find that these friendships and experiences remain in their hearts for many years to come and often return to their host city for return visits- or to stay.
Moreover, the skills acquired in a full-immersion program are not just linguistic. Learning to get by in a place which may be drastically different from home instills a great sense of independence in students and helps them feel sure that they will be able to cope with any changes that life may throw at them in the future. Living, working, studying, and socializing with people from other countries gives students a facility of interaction with just about anyone in social and professional settings. Academically, students will find themselves prepared to approach the study of other subjects with the same balance between the academic and experiential paths which they applied to learning the foreign language. Finally, the time abroad and away from their usual life and routines gives them a new perspective on just about everything in their own lives! No matter where life may take them after their experience- around the world or right back to their home- full-immersion students are marked by the maturity which they acquired in their time abroad.
If you are interested in turning your study of English into an unforgettable experience a full-immersion program may be just what you are looking for!