The world is becoming an increasingly smaller place. With global travel, global trade, and recreation bringing together people from around the globe for different reasons, it is essential that we learn new languages to make our time more efficient, productive, and enjoyable.
While the thought of sitting in a classroom, memorizing hours and hours of vocab does not appeal to many, most people agree that learning more than one language these days is essential for business and personal success.
Fortunately, there are other ways to adopt a new language and new culture that have nothing to do with sitting in a classroom or attending night classes. The possibilities to learn new languages now are fun, innovative and exciting, and they start with a single decision to open up your world to a new way of thinking. Here are some fun and engaging ways to immerse yourself in another culture and language:
Start Young–Take Advantage Of School Opportunities
We are never more open to learning than in our younger years, and taking advantage of opportunities to learn new languages while it is still free is a beautiful way to start the process of mastering a language. Seeking opportunities to travel to countries for study while in school is another great way to immerse yourself in the language and culture and learn all kinds of new things to appreciate about a different way of life. According to Diamond Ranch Academy, “when students leave, graduate, or move on to college – they exude confidence and take away skills that otherwise would take a lifetime to learn.”
This confidence is exactly what we want young people to have as they move forward with their lives. The interactions, the camaraderie and the togetherness of working with other students for a common goal are all part of the growth process.
Many charter schools nowadays have the option of language immersion, meaning that they offer curricular instruction in more than one language. All staff and students are expected to speak this immersive language during school time, and assessments of understanding are done concurrently with other curricula. Immersion schools offer double the bang for your buck, as they wrap language instruction around other subjects.
Post Secondary Options
If you find yourself out of school, there are things you can do in your busy day to learn a new language while living your adult life. It is important to remember that the most successful people consider themselves lifelong learners, so relish this opportunity to better yourself while “adulting.”
1) Consider a car companion. Many language programs offer language on CD or tape options that are ideal for busy professionals with a commute. Whether you use public or private transportation, this is a perfect way to maximize your time while going to and from work, shopping, and running other errands.
2) Join a language meetup group. Groups exist all over that offer the opportunity to converse in languages and talk about a country’s culture. Joining a group of like-minded individuals interested in learning together will also offer you the chance to meet new people and make new friends while learning a language.
3) Travel! Immersing yourself in a culture of foreign culture while desperately trying to ask a local Italian where the nearest bathroom brings a specific flavor to your learning process. There is no better way to learn to appreciate local culture and language than by traveling to a country where that language is spoken. Blasting through language barriers and figuring out how to communicate to meet your needs is a bit intimidating, but it is also an exciting adventure! Learn to appreciate the culture and history of your chosen language, and you will appreciate your learning process so much more.
Mastering a new language and acquiring an understanding of a different culture brings with it newfound confidence, and it opens the door for a lifetime of new friendships, new experiences, and unique perspective. The classroom of life is your teacher; look forward to all that you will experience as a result of becoming multilingual.