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The Complete Guide to Language Immersion

The Complete Guide to Language Immersion

“Being involved, learning firsthand and observing the craft and absorbing all you can makes it easier to define what you want.” – Giada De Laurentiis

Think about how you learned to ride a bike, swim front crawl at the pool, or play hoops in your backyard.

You learned it though immersion.

This applies to nearly everything we want to learn, from cooking to starting a business, and especially learning a new language!

The fundamental concept of immersion is quite obvious as it’s something we naturally act on without much thought. Most of us learned how to speak our native language because we grew up around people (family, friends, etc.) speaking it around us. In other words, we didn’t consciously decide that we were going to immerse ourselves in a language in order to learn it, it just happened.

Immersion > Classroom setting

A study was done by researchers from Georgetown University Medical Center, where subjects were divided into two groups, and were observed using a technique called electroencephalography (or EEG), which measures brain processing.

The two groups were both asked to study an artificial language, where one group studied the language in a formal classroom setting, while the other was trained through immersion.

After five months, the results clearly showed that the immersed group displayed the full brain patterns of a native speaker. This is mind-boggling, since 90% of committed language learners are still learning a language using the traditional classroom setting (and paying a premium price for it).

The researchers also concluded that for foreign language learners to become a native speaker, they simply must think like a native speaker, adding that adults who were immersed can just as easily become a native speaker as well.

However, the same fundamentals of immersion are not well set-up for us when we try to learn a new language. This is mostly because the location we live in prevents us from being immersed in the language, due to the limited number of people speaking it around us.

4 ways to immerse yourself

1. Want vs Need

There is a big difference between want and need. While “want” is a nice-to-have, a “need” is a must-have.

“Want” can often be confused for external needs, such as impressing those around you, versus a “need” that comes from within and serves as intrinsic motivation that is longer-lasting and sustainable.

Ask yourself: Why do you “need” to speak your target language?

Then come up with at least 3 powerful reasons. These should be powerful enough to make you want to take immediate action in learning the language.

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Listening to the stories of language learners, here are some powerful stories:

Family needs:

-“Need to be able to communicate with my family members”

“Need to speak Spanish to have a deeper connection with my spouse”

-“Need to teach my child so they can be grounded in their cultural roots, before they forget the language.”

Need to learn in order to communicate with my boyfriend/girlfriend’s family.”

Travel needs:

Need to get around safely and avoid being taken advantage of as a foreigner while traveling”

Need to learn in order to have a deeper cultural experience, and make the most of my travel experience”

Need to learn so I can meet friends without worrying about being alone.”

Career needs:

Need to expand my knowledge because the world is becoming globalized, boosting international business opportunities”

Need to learn a second language to improve my resume for career advancement and additional opportunities”

Need to work with clients who speak the foreign language, or I’ll be out of a job.”

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2. Absorb all information in your target language

Start by making a list of all the sources of information you draw from throughout the day, from the moment you wake up to hitting the sheets for bed time.

Some examples include:

-Your smartphone

-Your computer

-The newspaper (during breakfast or at work)

-Radio in the car

-Movies you watch (i.e. Netflix)

-Music you listen to

netflix-streaming-file-photo

    Now think of how you can change everything into the target language you want to learn.

    You could:

    -Change your smartphone language setting

    -Watch movies on Netflix with foreign language audio and English subtitles

    -Listen to podcasts in the foreign language

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    -Rock out to popular songs (i.e. Vivir Mi Vida – Marc Anthony; for those who want to study Spanish!)

    Some changes will be small at first, but these changes accumulate into providing an immersive experience for you as time passes.

    The key to this strategy is not to go out of your way to immerse yourself in activities that you normally don’t do. Follow your daily routine to the minute, but just change the language.

    This means that if you don’t like reading newspapers, don’t go out of your way to read them. If you enjoy watching movies, continue to watch the movies you enjoy (don’t even change the genre), and use tools like Netflix to listen in the foreign audio with subtitles.

    Forcing yourself to do something you don’t enjoy is one of the fastest ways we’ll stop persisting in our learning journey, because our brain will associate the foreign language with negative associations, rather than positive ones.

    Of course, if you’re just starting to learn, this may seem confusing for you at first. But as you accelerate your learning journey with a professional coach (or another method), you’ll start to make out a few words, then a few sentences, and before you know it, you’ll begin to understand a good portion of the foreign information you’re absorbing.

    3. Keep a daily or weekly journal (or blog)

    This may seem to be mainly beneficial for your writing skills, but improving your writing skills (in any language) will help you become a more effective communicator in written and oral forms.

    If you already have a daily or weekly journal you write in, continue to write in the same frequency, but do it in your target foreign language.

    If you don’t, then start writing on a weekly basis to start with, then you can gradually increase the frequency as you feel more comfortable with the process. You can write about anything from: how you feel, what you’re most excited about, what you plan to do today, and what you learned.

    journal-011

      If you’d like more of a structure, you can borrow the five minute journal format:

      When you wake up, take five minutes to answer:

      • a. 3 things you’re most grateful for today
      • b. What will make today great?
      • c. I am… (happy, strong, fearless, intelligent, a supportive friend, a great boyfriend/girlfriend, an entrepreneur, etc.)

      Then at night before you head to bed, answer:

      1. 3 amazing things that happened today (and why)
      2. How could I have made today even better?

      *Feel free to adjust the questions as you wish. No length limit.

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      The best part about following the five-minute journal format is that you’ll not only improve your language skills, but you’ll feel happier, more grateful, and excited to explore your feelings.

      4. Work with a professional (or accountability partner)

      Language is learned with people, and used with people. This means that immersion in language learning doesn’t happen alone.

      For most of us who are not living in a foreign country, this leaves us with two options:

      1. Find someone who speaks the foreign language (and wants to learn your native language), and try to help each other out by spending half the time speaking one language and the other half speaking the other.
      2. Work with a qualified teacher online, who is 100% dedicated in helping you succeed.

      In summary, the biggest differences between the two comes down to money and time.

      Conversation Exchange

      Pros: Free

      Cons: Sucks up your time, unsustainable, and reduces learning speed.

      Conversation exchange can take a significant amount of time in finding the right partner (who is fluent in your target language, AND wants to learn your language; personality; location/time zone; time availability). From there, scheduling and keeping a consistent schedule to practice is also a big burden, and from personal experience it is rarely sustainable. You also have to keep in mind that 50% of your time needs to be dedicated in helping the other person, so in a 60-minute session, you’re actually practicing for only 30 minutes. Lastly, your conversation exchange is simply a native speaker, not a professional trained to help give you proper feedback, correct your mistakes, and guide you to the fastest way of learning the language.

      how-this-25-year-old-made-66000-in-a-month-by-teaching-an-online-course

        Professional teacher

        Pro: Faster learning, guaranteed accountability & success, and saves you time.

        Con: Costs money

        Working with a professional language teacher allows you to receive 100% attention focused on helping you succeed, a seamless scheduling experience to guarantee availability when you’re free, immediate feedback, and constant accountability.

        We’ve seen that working with a professional will not only save yourself from wasting time by accelerating your learning speed, but you can focus on what matters in your life, whether it’s your work, family, or your hobbies, instead of coordinating schedules.

        Websites like Rype, offer unlimited private Spanish lessons, with a dedicated professional teacher. You can have your lessons at home, at your office, and at any time of the day. It’s an easy way to learn without distracting you from your busy schedule.

        Through following these steps, immersion can happen within the comfort of your own home. All it takes is a little creativity, dedication, and help from a coach.

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        Published on October 9, 2018

        Evernote vs OneNote: Which Improves Your Productivity Better?

        Evernote vs OneNote: Which Improves Your Productivity Better?

        Note-taking is useful in helping improve your memory and increase your productivity at work. By writing down notes, you have something tangible you can refer back to, remember what needs to be done, and regain control of your work throughout the day.

        There are thousands of different note-taking apps you can use on your desktop or mobile device. The two most popular are Evernote and Microsoft OneNote because they are incredibly efficient and effective that each has a following of extremely loyal users and advocates.

        So if it comes to Evernote vs OneNote, how do they improve productivity?

        An overview of Evernote and OneNote

        First, an introduction to the two platforms. Evernote is an app that lets you store content, take down notes, write lists, and organize all of them. While these are stored in Notebooks, the whole concept behind this productivity app is more like a Universal Inbox where you can save everything you’ve collected so you can quickly find it when you need them through the use of tags.

        Microsoft’s OneNote, on the other hand, works very much like a digital version of the notebooks you used to carry around in school. Aside from storing all your notes and different types of content you’ve collected, you can also organize them into sections, pages, and containers.

        Each of these apps offers their users a host of features to help them improve their productivity and memory. Also, because no app is perfect, each also has their strengths and limitations.

        To get a better idea of which app will be your best choice, we’ll be comparing the two based on three key features most used by their users: collecting information, note-taking, and mobility.

        Collecting information

        Both the OneNote and Evernote come with their own web clipper extension that allows you to quickly collect and store information from different websites as you find them.

        Both give you the option to choose whether you’d like to save the entire web page as is, a simplified version without the ads, or just a section of the page. You can also add some notes before saving them to make it easier for you to remember why you “clipped” that particular resource.

        Since OneNote gives you more structure to organize your content, its web clipper allows you to choose not just which notebook to save the details, but also what section within the notebook.

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          Source: OneNote.com

          Evernote gives you the option to add tags to your web clippings before you save it, so it’s easier for you to search for it later.

          Premium users get access to Evernote’s Related Results feature located in its Options section. When you search on Google, Evernote will launch a secondary search that will show all the notes related to the keyword you used in searching for information.

            Source: Zapier.com

            This feature, according to Jeremy Skillings, President of Youcanbefound.com, is beneficial because it lets you know what information you already have stored in your notes.

            “In some cases whenever I do my research, I find out through this feature that I already have the exact information I need stored in my Evernote account. That alone cuts back a significant amount of the time I spend on projects.”

            Note-taking

            Both of these productivity apps allow you to create and format your notes to create rich documents. Among these features include changing the font size and color, adding tables, and inserting media files.

            Evernote’s note-taking features are very similar to a Word document in that it’s very structured concerning how you input your notes.

              Professionals who need to be able to build and access well-structured docs in the field make up much of Evernote’s loyal fanbase. One such 2-year user in the real estate field, Anthony Gilbert of RealFX.com, liked the formatting options, but admitted that there were still some downsides to the rigidly formatted approach.

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              While he enjoyed the features, his personal experience with using it in the field revealed that the formatting features,“mean that if you need to change parts of your notes around, it can get tedious”. He continued, “the formatting features are quite finicky, so you may need a bit of patience to get the end results you are looking for.”

              Professionals who need to be able to build and access well-structured docs in the field make up much of Evernote’s loyal fanbase. One such 2-year user in the real estate field, Anthony Gilbertof RealFX.com, liked the formatting options, but admitted that there were still some downsides to the rigidly formatted approach.

              Structuring your notes properly from the get-go can have an effect on your productivity. A blank slate can sometimes be puzzling. Evernote allows the ability to use battle-tested templates and workflows that save you time. They can provide inspiration and structure on what’s possible.

              On the other hand, OneNote gives its users more versatility and flexibility in the way notes are created. You can click at any area of the page and begin typing. If you need to move things around, you can drag and drop sections of your notes to the right place.

              On the other hand, OneNote gives its users more versatility and flexibility in the way you create your notes. You can click at any area of the page and begin typing. If you need to move things around, you can drag and drop sections of your notes to the right place.

                Source: Lifehacker

                Also, it gives you the option to create Templates that you can use to layout your page properly, so all you’ll need to do is to fill in the information.

                  Source: MakeUseOf

                  This is a particularly handy feature that stood out to many of the people who shared their love of OneNote with me. Steve Lionais, longtime user and Co-Founder & CEO of Dr-Bill.ca, claims that this feature helped him build his business by affecting his memory in a powerful and helpful way.

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                  “This [feature] is what makes OneNote great memory retention app,” he said of the templates. “I find that I remember things more when they are arranged in a certain way. OneNote allowed me to do that for my meeting and presentation notes, so I don’t have to spend a lot of time trying to find the next point!”

                  However, what really makes OneNote the winner of this round is its ability to allow you to embed media files from other sources like Youtube. In addition to including the link, OneNote launches a media player, allowing you to watch the video or listen to the audio file directly from the page where you saved it.

                    Source: Windows Central

                    Mobility

                    Evernote and OneNote can be used both on desktops and mobile devices. At the same time, they provide their users with the ability to sync the content from one device to the other.

                    Judging which of the two productivity apps is best here is quite tricky because it greatly depends on several factors. One of these is the operating software you use.

                    Many of the power users we asked were using iOS, and that put some points toward Evernote. Greg Reese of AmeriEstate.com found himself frequently using the built-in camera option (and other iOS integrations) to manage his daily duties as President.

                      Evernote’s camera also integrates with Post-It, Moleskin notebook pages, and business cards. When you take a photo of any of these, the camera will capture the information and format this for Evernote so that it’s quick to find it when you search.

                      OneNote, on the other hand, dominates the Android environment. In addition to the app, Android users will also find a OneNote floating badge on the side of the home screen. So you can take notes on the go very quickly.

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                        Source: MS Power User

                        Another factor to consider is the cloud storage you use. For you to sync OneNote across different devices, you’ll need to first set up an account with OneDrive, which is Microsoft’s cloud storage service.

                        “This is something that Evernote users like me don’t have to worry about,” according to Matt Willens, Head Attorney for Willens Law Offices. “Whether you use a free account or one of their paid plans, you can immediately sync your devices without having to get a separate cloud storage account.”

                        The drawback here is the amount of storage and number of devices that you can sync. Free users are only given 60MB of storage space and can sync up to two devices. If you need more storage space, you’ll have to get the paid plans.

                        Which app is better for improving memory and productivity?

                        The honest—and most straightforward—answer is:

                        It depends on you.

                        While Evernote and OneNote have their strengths and weaknesses, how well it will help improve productivity and memory greatly depends on what works best for you.

                        If you find that you’re able to work best and remember things more using visual cues, OneNote will be the best productivity app to use. However, if you consider the speed and ease of finding the information you need as your top priority, Evernote will be your best option.

                        Since both productivity apps have free versions, you can give both a try and see where you’re most comfortable. In the end, the right productivity app to use is one that complements the way you work and do things rather than dictating to you how you should get them done.

                        Featured photo credit: Yura Fresh via unsplash.com

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