Want to learn a new language? You will be offered several learning systems, and many different methods, techniques, duration and costs. You can hire the services of a school, university, a private teacher, or you may get involved (right where you live!) with a new circle of friends, native speakers of that new language that you wish to learn. You may also get private one-to-one conversation classes, which are very enriching and allow the topic of conversation to focus specifically on your areas of personal and professional interest.
The other option that we are going to explore here is moving to the place where that language you want to learn is the native language, diving into their lifestyle, enrolling in classes of that language, and interacting in the field whose lexicon you are interested in, being that the world of art, business, education, finance or sports. These are just a few options, so let’s explore a couple of the most popular ones.
How to learn a new language?
We will review the two best known methods:
1- The periodic classes system, offered both by an educational institution or privately, in which a teacher addresses the students in the language of study, assigns you with homework, and follows a curricular learning plan
2- The so-called "Immersion Method", an immersive experience during which the student moves for a period of time to a country whose native language is the one of interest
Both methods have advantages and disadvantages that we will review in order to better understand the individual characteristics and benefits. As we will see both systems can be adapted to the needs, expectations and possibilities of each student.
METHOD 1-LOCAL LANGUAGE LEARNING
This learning system has significant advantages. Here are just a few:
1- You do not have to move from home, your city, or country
2- You can choose the hours in which you will speak the new language
3- You go on with your life without major changes
4- You do not have the costs of moving to another country:
flight tickets, accommodation, food, transportation, travel and health insurance
5- This method only takes a few hours and the lessons are taken generally a couple of times per week, at most
This method of learning is usually taught at a language school following a certain teaching method. Classes are in the target language but not exclusively, they have teaching resources such as classrooms, computers, audio-visual systems, libraries, etc. These schools usually organise small groups of students. They offer classes inside or outside the school, as they can also be hired by an organisation or company where the teacher visits several times a week for a number of class hours.
Some of the disadvantages of this method may be:
1- Classes could interrupt regular activities. This can lead to eventual abandonment of the programme of study
2- Classes may become boring by excess of theory, grammar and rules to memorize
3- Entering and exiting a language can be "inefficient" for the brain in the process of learning a new language
4- There is less opportunity for regular practice of the new language
METHOD 2-IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE
The most frequent immersion learning experience takes place when studying foreign languages abroad. The direct experience of being in a foreign environment is completed with an explicit instruction process organised by the language school or teacher, where students periodically attend classes that follow a curricular program.
This system has substantial advantages. To name only a few:
1- Students learn the new language much faster, thanks to the daily immersion
2- You also learn the socio-cultural context of the language and the idiomatic expressions of each place where you speak
3- The understanding of a language is usually clearer when it is learned within the context it is used in
4- The colloquial use of a new language finds “informal teachers” in life at a new place, with friends and casual encounters
5- When you are forced to speak in a new language, it usually happens that you also start thinking in that new language, helping you become bilingual more easily
6- Your commitment is often stronger and dedication follows, you are less likely to abandon your studies
There are though some challenges when choosing the immersion method and even though we would not call these “disadvantages”, they are worth considering:
1- Cost of flight tickets, accommodation, food, transportation, insurance, health and contingencies
2- Students moves away from its comfort zone, family and friends back home
3- Customs of the new place where you travel to are unknown. You must face and take certain risks
4- You may have to live with people you don’t know
5- It can be an overwhelming experience for some at first
In conclusion, whatever method you choose to study a new language, we suggest that you select one that will enrich your life and will allow you to learn but also have fun. Dedicate yourself and make the best of every experience you have.
Patricia C Prada Jimenez and The Blogs Team
Study Abroad with elephant Minds
Contact us for information and we will start you on your journey!