You may have heard of English “immersion” — but what does that mean? “Immerse” means “to plunge into or place under a liquid” Imagine diving into a lake; you are immersed in the water. If you are immersed in English, you are surrounded by it and exposed to it every day. Unlike other subjects you may study, mastering a language requires a commitment to practice outside of the classroom and the textbook.
Living in an English-speaking country is an ideal way to do this. If you do not have this advantage, there are still many ways be immersed in English while you study in your home country.
- Find English speakers living in your country. See if local universities have students from the United States, England, Australia, or other English-speaking countries. These students would be happy to chat with you in English and get your insights on your home culture.
- Use social media to connect with others for English practice. Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo Groups, and other similar sites are great places to find people who share a common interest. Are you passionate about golf? Knitting? Poodles? There are groups of people discussing any topic you can imagine online. Talking about something you enjoy is a great motivation for practicing English.
- Check out podcasts and Internet radio. For listening practice on any topic, look for podcasts on iTunes or simply search Google for “(topic) podcast”. To listen to the latest international news any time in English, try the BBC, NPR, or VOA. VOA features “Special English” broadcasts for beginning to intermediate-level English learners.
- English-language television shows, movies, and popular music are great for fun practice outside of class. Challenge yourself to watch TV and movies without the captions on — you might be surprised by how much you can understand! Many American TV shows are available for free on Hulu, and Pandora is a great place to listen to any genre of music for free.
While these resources can help you, there is no substitute for studying English where it is spoken. Visit our website to learn more about IEI’s intensive English program in Nashville, Tennesee, U.S.A.!
Your turn…how do you (or did you) practice English outside of class in your home country? Please leave a comment and share your suggestions with other students!Image credit: Xosé Castro