Courses, Travel

Language immersion experiences – how effective are they really?

We hear all the time that the best way to learn or improve a language is to immerse yourself in it, but is this really the best option and how convenient is it really for language learners?

I speak from personal experience when I say that immersion should be top of the list if you really want to improve your Spanish.

Before arriving and settling in Argentina I spent a few years exploring Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. My immersive language experiences were different and unique in each country. In Venezuela I taught English and worked in an Adventure Tourism Agency whilst taking Spanish lessons with a private tutor. In Colombia I went through my PADI Open Water, Advanced Diver, Rescue Diver and Dive Master qualifications with a native Spanish speaking instructor with little English – I sat my exam and passed it in Spanish! In Ecuador I taught English in a local school and received private 1:1 Spanish lessons along the way.

It’s no surprise that by the time I arrived in Argentina (around three years later) I was almost fluent in Spanish.

Running a travel agency in Mendoza, training guides, liaising with service provides and working with fellow travel professionals in Argentina and Chile developed my language even further, to the point that I am now fluent to native level in Spanish.

You may be thinking yes that’s great but we can’t all move across to South America for 20 years to become fluent in Spanish Kelly. And, of course I agree. My point is it works. Language immersion works. And it doesn’t have to cost a fortune or take years.

There are so many language immersion options out there today it can be hard choosing where to go, which school to book with and how to ensure the program is the right fit for you.

Here are some tips on choosing a language immersion programme:

  1. Destination – Decide where you would like to go first of all and have a short list of three options.
  2. Choose a theme – Most programs include Spanish lessons in the morning and an activity in the afternoon. Decide on your preferred activity. For example; would you like a program that includes physical activity like say walking or dancing or would you prefer cooking classes or art?
  3. Set your budget – always important I know, but the main thing to consider here is whether you want a fully immersion program which includes staying with a local family (by far the best option for immersion) or do you prefer a hotel or self-catering apartment.
  4. Your tutor – I don’t think this is too much of an issue as tutors will have been vetted by the school and company you book through and unless you get very unlucky should be fine so no need to spend too much time looking into this.
  5. Proximity to an airport – immersion programs are usually around five days long so you really want to spend as little time as possible travelling to ensure you get the most out of your immersive experience. Choose a destination therefore that isn’t too far from the airport.

Adventures in Spanish has partnered with UK travel experts to bring you a selection of hand-picked Spanish immersion programs in Spain in 2023. Read more on our website here: https://adventuresinspanish.co.uk/spanish-immersion-programs

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