Everyone says: “immersion is the best way to learn Spanish”. If that’s true, what makes Spanish immersion the best way to learn?
Nearly every article you read about the best way to learn Spanish touts the value of a specific school, a particular method, the newest technology, or something else sparkly and shiny.
All of those resources are helpful of course, but there is nothing magic about them.
Successfully learning a language boils down to a few key components. You must find the right mix of:
- self-study (anyone who thinks they can learn a language without homework is kidding themselves)
- guided practice (try and find a professional teacher)
- a content area you can focus on (ex. medical Spanish, or another industry-specific language context)
- a consistent schedule for learning (consistent chunks of learning over time are always better than infrequent bursts)
If you can consistently implement these four components over a significant period of time, your language skills will grow more than they ever have. The problem isn’t that you don’t have the right software, or that the book you’re using isn’t the newest or the latest, most of the time the problem with learning a language is that it’s difficult to follow through with consistent implementation over time. Which is what leads us to why Spanish immersion is actually the best way to learn Spanish. Keep reading about what makes Spanish immersion the best way to learn Spanish.
Spanish Immersion programs are absolutely the best way to learn Spanish for 3 specific reasons:
Reason #1: Immersion eliminates distractions
There is nothing worse than signing up for a Spanish class in your home town and not being able to give it your full attention. You registered for the course because you want to learn Spanish, and you think you can carve out the time for it, but then life happens. You have so many competing obligations that the time you dedicated to your Spanish class seems to disappear into thin air. It’s amazing, but time can slip away faster than cash in your wallet! Work, family, other classes, fun activities, commuting, laundry, paying bills – they all take your time and compete for your attention. Yes balancing all these things is grown-up life, but when you’re trying to dedicate time to learn Spanish, they become distractions.
This is the great thing about Spanish Immersion programs, and one of the main reasons immersion is the best way to learn Spanish. When you’ve dedicated time to travel abroad and immerse yourself in the language and the culture, you’ve automatically eliminated hundreds of distractions. Immersion programs pluck you out of the world you’ve created for yourself and plop you into another world with a singular purpose – learning the language! Immersion helps you eliminate the day to day distractions of back home so you can focus on the task at hand.
Reason #2: Immersion forces you to work through discomfort
Who likes discomfort? I have to admit that I’m a bit of a weanie; I try to stay as comfortable as possible (I’m especially averse to hot and crowded spaces…I get so cranky!). What about you? If you’re like most language learners, speaking Spanish causes some discomfort. The problem with avoiding the discomfort of speaking Spanish is that you have to be practicing if you want to get better. It’s easy to avoid those “optional” conversations in Spanish when you’re living in your English-speaking world.
The beauty of Spanish immersion is that you have no choice. You are no longer surrounded by English. Now you’re in a Spanish-speaking world and there’s no escape from the language. There are no “optional” conversations, if you want to eat, you’re going to have to communicate to the server at the restaurant (or your host mom). It doesn’t take long to work through your discomfort when you’re on a solid Spanish immersion program, you build tolerance quickly. You’ll still ride the struggle-bus many moments throughout your days on immersion, but you’re building resistance to the discomfort of it all; which pays off when you get back home and no longer shy away from those optional conversations.
Reason #3: Immersion gives you unlimited opportunities to speak
I can’t tell you how many clients have come to me and explained how they had so many Spanish opportunities before they registered for a class, but now that they’re in a class, all the Spanish speakers seem to have vanished! It’s a bummer when that happens, because one crucial component to solidifying your language is the opportunity to use it in everyday conversations and/or in settings that relate to your industry.
The reality of immersion is that you are exposed to the language 24/7 – there is no opportunity to escape! When you commit to a Spanish immersion program that is specifically designed to keep you “immersed” in the language, you’re setting yourself up for success. You will have one opportunity after the next, all day long and into the evening to be using your Spanish (both listening and speaking) and refining it throughout the day.
One of the funny realities of immersion is that you never feel like you’re making much progress while you’re on your trip.
You struggle all day long to communicate in Spanish, day after day. Someone always has a comment for you about how you can say this or that better. I often have to remind my travel clients that they feel this way because they’re surrounded by a bunch of native speakers all the time – of course they’re going to feel like a dummy frequently!
However, since we know how to do immersion well, our clients always comment how surprised they are that they actually learned so much from their trip. It hit them after they went home and all of the sudden their jobs were easier, they overheard conversations that they never would have understood before. It may take a couple of weeks, but it quickly becomes clear how much you actually learned after you get back home.
Spanish immersion isn’t only the best way to learn Spanish, it’s also the most fun!
If you’re looking for a Spanish immersion program that you know will return big language results for you, you have to check out the Common Ground Spanish Immersion trips. We’ve poured our hearts and souls into these experiences, and we’re confident that there is no better way to learn Spanish than on our immersion trips.