1-8: Language Immersion

by Jon SenderBack to Guide

Note: this one is truly optional, but see if it applies to you.

If you’re in the process of learning a language and will be studying abroad to achieve fluency, now is a good time to start immersing yourself—or at least attempting to—when still at home. While that’s fairly difficult, as English is the prevailing language in America, there are yet ways you can create a semi-solid bubble for portions of your day and begin acclimating to your foreign language more extensively. Depending on how fluent you are, doing some of these will help soften the transition when you finally arrive.

Here are simple things you can do, should you so choose:

  1. Subscribe to a TV network of that country and watch it instead of Netflix
  2. Look for and read books in your host country’s langauge
  3. Set your computer, phone, Gmail, and/or Facebook accounts to use that language
  4. Buy a keyboard cover for that language
  5. Find a local tutor or native speaker of that language on or near campus. See if you can buy them coffee once in a while
  6. Create an account at www.mylanguageexchange.com. It only costs $6 for a 1-month subscription, during which you find native speakers to talk to in any country and get their contact info. You help them with the English, they help you with their own language. I did this for a good five months before flying out, and then met my Skype pals after I arrived. Best $6 I ever spent!
  7. Request—but actually, politely demand—that your abroad institution place you in housing with native speakers. They won’t just do this, so you have to make it happen by getting in touch with the right person
  8. Start Googling how to have an immersive experience

End of Part 1, tasks you should complete quite some time before your trip

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