The Cultural Immersion Experience – How to Stay Local
by Mafe Rodriguez
As language enthusiasts we are convinced that the best way to learn a language, say Italian, is by moving to Italy for a whole year and force our way into the Italian culture. Although this is true, not everyone can afford to travel abroad. But traveling abroad is not the only way to achieve the cultural immersion experience. Here I give you five ways to learn a language without leaving your town.
- Switch your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and phone language to your target language
Aside from that one time I set my phone to Arabic and then spent ten hours trying to change it back, this method is one of my favorites because I get to learn the modern lingo without even realizing it. For instance, I now know the “like” button in French is “j’aime”, and much more!
- Listen to music or the news in your target language
Your Pandora playlist should always be on, or listen to the radio in Spanish. Make yourself believe that your life is interesting enough to have a soundtrack play all. The. Time. Not only will you perfect your pronunciation but you will also memorize words faster. Play it while you take a shower, while you get dress, or paint your toe nails. No matter where, just listen to music!
- Try ShareLingo!
If you’d like to talk with English and Spanish native speakers in a judge-free environment, while perfecting your language skills, then ShareLingo is exactly what you are looking for! It’s something like Tim’s strategy but in real life. You pay $200 for 10 two-hour session classes. That comes to be $10 an hour with a chance of financial aid for those who qualify. Here you can find out more about The ShareLingo method.
Get out of your comfort zone and meet new people, now!
- Reach out to the online world
I hope you know who Timothy Doner is. If you don’t, allow me to enlighten you. He is a language prodigy who speaks 20 languages and learned them all in less than two years! Not only is he my hero, role model, and nerd celebrity crush, but he also taught me a ton. He updated videos of himself talking in Arabic, Persian, Russian, Dutch, Hindi, Indonesian, and many more, and people on YouTube corrected his grammar, pronunciation and even taught him about their culture! Isn’t that just the coolest thing ever? The answer is yes, yes it is. You can try something like that. Online communities like CouchSurfing, or Facebook groups can be a great tool to connect with other language enthusiasts. Read more about Tim here. Watch TV in your target language.
- Watch TV in your target language
Watching a TV show you know really well, in my case Friends, in your target language will help you translate not in a literal manner but in a cultural one, which is super important to have in mind when you’re doing any translation work. Netflix has TONS of TV shows offered in Spanish. If the audio isn’t available, try subtitles in Spanish. To make it even more fun, you can build a fort and invite your family and friends!
The ShareLingo concept is really simple. Instead of learning from a white board or a computer, we help English learners meet Spanish learners for face-to-face practice together. A bilingual facilitator uses our method and materials to keep things moving so you are never bored. We have language learning solutions for individuals, businesses, non-profits, and schools. Learn more at www.sharelingo.org.