How to immerse yourself in a language without going abroad

November 10, 2023
Complete immersion in a foreign language is arguably one of the best ways to learn. And one of the easiest ways to immerse yourself in another language is to spend time in a country or region where they speak it. Holidays and time abroad are great for practising a new language. But, what happens when you get back?  We all know it can be a challenge to keep up the language you improved whilst you were away. So how can you keep practising?  Is it possible to immerse yourself in a language without going abroad? We think so. Here I give you six tips to immerse yourself in the language you’re learning:

1. Mingle and make friends with native speakers

There are lots of language exchange events happening in cities around the world. In London, I am the organiser of a Swedish language exchange. I am happy to say my skills have improved quite a lot since I set it up and I am a much more confident speaker now. Pro-learner tip: Don’t be shy and afraid of making mistakes, they are the best way of improving!

2. Go to restaurants and cafes and order in the language you’re learning

Viktor loves Spanish food so we often go for tapas where I let him order away in Spanish. Equally, I know all the Scandinavian bakeries and cafes in London and always make sure I order in Swedish when I go!

3. Enjoy the culture around the language you’re learning

We celebrate Swedish midsommar in Hyde Park and Salamanca’s Easter version of midsommar called Lunes de Aguas. When we make a toast we do it in both languages.

4. Watch movies and series, listen to songs and podcasts or read

I love Scandinavian noir TV series and Viktor loves all the Spanish novels I recommend him (well, not always) but he does like to sing ”Vamos a la playa, a mi me gusta bailar…” at the top of his voice… Let your life be filled with vocabulary of the language you’re learning! Use post its to label everyday objects around the house or have a noteboard where you can write yourself a word for the day every morning. Fall in love with the language you’re learning. I know…cringe. But trust me, remember why you’re learning the language you picked and picture yourself walking the streets of the city you love imagining how cool it would be to discover the country’s culture or its quirky traditions whilst speaking the language. It helps to keep you motivated!

5. And of course, use busuu!

With busuu you can get feedback from native speakers on your speaking and writing. It’s a great way to put your language skills to the test and learn effectively from feedback.

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