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… And the power of immersing yourself in another language.

Have you heard how much easier it is to learn another language when you immerse yourself in the words and culture behind foreign linguistics? Perhaps you have even experienced this phenomenon first hand?

I am just back from an amazing weekend in Rome with my boys – Sacha (13) and Maxandre (10) and it was made all the more enjoyable by a challenge we set ourselves on the flight – we would try and learn and use as much Italian as possible: ‘The Italian Word Challenge’!

We began by exploring just how many Italian words did we already know – but didn’t go much further than ‘grazie’, ‘per favore’ and I think everyone knows ‘ristorante’!

Once there we soaked up the culture with a trip to the Colosseum and naturally for two football crazy kids we caught a football match too and we only ate in local restaurants – no McDonald’s on this trip.

Getting around Rome was a fun challenge too as we ignored hailing a taxi – far too easy. Instead we had to use our blossoming Italian to ask for directions and follow signs – and we flourished!

We’ve only been back a few days, but my bilingual boys are showing plenty of love for Italian and keep using it. Maxie, who has a sweet tooth, is unsurprisingly still asking for ‘gelato’: ice cream yet he remembers words such as ‘uscita’: exit and ‘biglietto’: ticket – and that is from just a few fun days.

At the VICI Language Academy in Newbury – and in our equivalent in France, we adopt the immersive approach in the classroom and will use multi-media and cultural examples to bring learning to life and trigger the emotions that ensures the learning lasts. We will often venture out of the Academy to wander around Newbury using landmarks to explore the language.

That is why being truly immersed in a foreign language helps you to learn. They say that you need to come across a word five times to assimilate it – and be able to re-use it. Being immersed hastens this learning – think about the words Maxie memorised in Italian?

So, a great idea for the summer holidays? Absolutely, but did you know schools recognise the power of immersive learning too?

One of our local secondary schools has asked us to organise a residential trip for students learning French – and why a school in France is asking us to the same with students learning English. Both asked for an authentic experience of the language. 

We are increasingly being asked to help with this immersive approach and are seen as experts at VICI, where we believe learning a language should be fun, and what better way than allowing a culture to embrace you?


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