language immersion
Language immersion programs work so well because of their holistic approach to learning. (Illustration by Julianne Griepp, Laguna College of Art and Design)
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language immersion

And also a good excuse to travel abroad.

They say love and candle lights were born in Paris. Just as labyrinthine canals and floating cities were gingerly handcrafted in Venice. Visiting cities so elusive often feel like a pipe dream to those craving an experience beyond their hometowns. But language immersion programs make those dreams more tangible.

Language immersion programs are great tools for the language-lover wanting to master an old language or kindle the journey of a new one. The effectiveness of these programs draws from the complete experience of living in the country of said language, solely among those who speak it natively.

For example, a novice French speaker, seeking to tighten their grasp on the century-old Romance language, goes to a country where French is the predominant language.

Immersion programs elevate the language-learning experience beyond the traditional classroom setting, where the learning methodology is restricted to daily one-hour memorizations. In that limited time frame, classes might not even require its students to speak in the target language for the duration of the class, making mastery of the language even more unattainable.

An article published by The New York Times details that the best way to learn a language is to constantly be surrounded by it. Forcing oneself to communicate in that language alone is how immersion programs are effective.

Being stuck in an environment where one must speak a country’s predominate language in order to function within the society, or to simply communicate, expedites the language learning process dramatically.

Language immersion programs help participants have a better understanding of their chosen language. Typically, these programs offer several countries where the interested candidate can spend their time.

For French speakers, there are France, Belgium, Cameroon or Canada. The Spanish speaker has Spain, Mexico, Colombia or Argentina. However, not all languages cover as wide of a geographic margin as the popular Romance ones. For instance, languages like Italian or Mandarin are pretty much exclusive to one country.

To those seeking to travel to one of these far-off countries and learn of a culture beyond their own, the language immersion program Education First provides an attainable opportunity to do so:

What is Education First?

Education First (abbreviated as EF) is an international program, specializing in an array of education opportunities such as language immersion programs, advanced degree programs, cultural exchange and travel.

EF’s programs cater to diverse age groups. From high school and college-aged students to working professionals and government officials, there is no boundary for who can or cannot study abroad.

For the English speaker wanting to learn a foreign language, EF offers a smattering of opportunities. Some countries they work closely with are Korea, Portugal, France, Spain, Costa Rica, Italy, Germany, China, Japan and United Arab Emirates.

However, EF’s services are not limited to the English speaker. EF includes destinations such as the United States and the United Kingdom for those abroad yearning to either learn English anew or sharpen their English-language knowledge.

How does it work?

EF provides extensive flexibility in their programs so as to encourage as many people as possible to take advantage of a global experience.

Interested candidates have the option of choosing from two to 24 weeks in the country of their choice. Within each country, there are often several options for specific cities where the traveler can choose to spend their time.

Choosing a Curriculum

Once you settle the duration of the immersion program, potential candidates must choose from one of four language class curriculums. For both students and professionals, EF offers these curriculums to choose from: EF Intensive Course, EF General Course, Additional Language Exams and EF Internship Experience.

EF designed their most popular curriculum, EF Intensive Course, to help students learn a language as quickly as possible for academic or professional endeavors.

The program consists of 32 lessons per week, each lesson lasting 40 minutes. The 32 lessons are divided into four categories: 16 General Language Lessons, 4 Project Sessions, 10 Special Interest Lessons and 2 Lecture Lessons.

By allocating different learning goals within each lesson, language students can get both the breadth and depth of the language they’re learning.

Though the lessons take place in a classroom setting, the implementation of diverse learning methods coupled with the immersion carves an effective path to fluency. 

How much does it cost?

Cost has regularly been a barrier for many in deciding whether to pursue a language immersion program. EF is no exception, donning a price tag comparable to competitor programs. However, EF’s well-rounded system and elevated language experience might make it worth the cost to those looking for the complete cultural experience.

The total cost of the program is dependent on the country and city participants choose. Regardless, the cost for all destination includes the weekly language lessons, twin room with homestay, breakfast and dinner Monday through Friday, digital learning media, EFSET Graduation Report, access to MyEF from enrollment, online pre- and post-course and free Wi-Fi Internet access at EF campus.

If a language immersion program is something you are seriously considering, the benefits of the experience outshine the cost. A tip for working toward your global goal is to work internships over the summer (or work in general) and allocate a certain portion of your income toward a savings account for a program at EF.

Of course, saving is a process, but it does not have to be a pressing matter. Don’t be discouraged. The process is a long-term goal with a result completely worth the wait.

The path of learning a language independently is often fraught with frustration. Without the unrelenting echoes of the target language and supplementary cultural aspects, language fluency is a difficult task to conquer.

Fortunately, there are programs such as EF that outline a structured curriculum for those wanting to master a new language, while also making memories that transcend their cultural sphere.

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