Immersion has been referred to as the best way to learn a language and it is defined as extensive exposure to surroundings and conditions that allow the object of study. Immersion is a deep mental involvement in something.
Well, now you're living in the country where your target language is spoken. The first mistake people tend to commit is the thought that not much work is needed to become proficient in the language as though all the words, idioms and slang will be stored in their brain by magic just by being there. Wrong.
Living abroad is a facilitator. It just gives you more motivation to carry on studying, in a less formal way maybe, and to stay on track.
There are a few tips and tricks that can help you achieve your goal quicker.
* The first, and maybe the most important one is to live with native speakers, if you can. How many expats have you known living abroad for 10 or more years in a community of expats and they come back home with very limited knowledge of the language spoken in the country they resided for so long?
* You must interact at all levels with the locals. What are the advantages?
- You use your language skills, especially if they don't speak your language.
- They correct your mistakes on the spot.
- You learn quickly how to ask for things as a beginner in need of the language skills to
get by in your daily life.
- You speak in your target language even if you don't feel like it, because it's the only form of communication.
* Socialise with the locals.
Find clubs, groups in your host country to further your hobbies and leisure activities. You'll acquire a lot of vocabulary and learn effortlessly new expressions in these areas.
* Keep a vocabulary book with you at all times. Don't rely on your memory and write down new words and modisms that you do not understand, ask for their meanings, if possible. Go back to your book and investigate when you have a quiet time. Furthermore, try to integrate these words and expressions straight away in your conversations, so you memorise them quickly.
* Resist the need to use your own language even though you're prompted by the natives. I remember when I went to a trip to Italy with my parents. I was studying Italian at the time and was really happy to have the opportunity to practice. Now and then there were a few locals discouraging me, not intentionally of course, either answering back in my tongue, or telling me that they spoke English.
* Listen to local radios and watch local TV stations as much as you can. They will help you get used to the different accents around you and you will also learn new ways of expressing yourself.
* Be constant. There will be times where you'll feel less willing to speak in your target language, but keep incorporating your language learning skills in your daily life. You'll realise that the benefits are multiple.
You will feel proud to communicate with the locals and understand their culture better. You will also feel part of it. You will become more and more independent as you improve and acquire new skills. You will have new experiences to tell about and will make a lot of new friends.
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