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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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        Last Updated on August 15, 2018

        25 Most Useful Excel Shortcuts That Very Few People Know

        25 Most Useful Excel Shortcuts That Very Few People Know

        Imagine if you could use 5 simple shortcuts while working in Excel, and increase your productivity without wasting time for searching information in huge tables, writing long formulas, and sorting the data.

        Or even better:

        What if you would get 25 useful shortcuts… and each of them could simplify your work, so you could do much more every day?

        You’d definitely feel excited to read about them.

        Today is your lucky day because we are going to share with you in this article 25 great Excel shortcuts you can use in your work every day! This is your lucky chance, so go ahead and become a real professional in Excel without wasting your time.

        How important are Excel shortcuts for you?

        The most effective thing to check out if people really need something is to release a survey and look at the results. So, according to the anonymous survey, 99% of people said Excel shortcuts are critical or important for them.

        In general, there are more than 200 shortcuts in Excel. But when we have analyzed the data about how many shortcuts people know, we got the next results:

        • 26% of people know 10 or fewer shortcuts;
        • 61% of people know 10-50 shortcuts;
        • 10% of people know 50-100 shortcuts.

        As you can see, not so many people know a lot of shortcuts. Probably, some of them never think about increasing their productivity in such a simple way.

        Of course, it depends on how deep you use Excel. Some people use this powerful application just for making simple tables or graphs, others use it for everyday work to count something.

        Most of the accountants and businessmen use much more Excel functions for more complex tasks such as creating VBA macros, managing PivotTables, recalculating huge workbooks, outlining data, etc.

        But even those people who work with Excel every day very close may know a few shortcuts. Needless to say, they can do their job without shortcuts, but it usually takes for them much more time. T

        his sounds not funny, especially if you must finish a huge amount of work urgently. There is a great opportunity for you to increase your productivity in Excel and do your job faster with our useful shortcuts.

        5 Main reasons to learn excel shortcuts

        Many people don’t understand why they should use shortcuts if they can work without them. Of course, if you use Excel twice per year to make a simple table or a graph, it is probably not so important for you to know many shortcuts.

        But if you work in Excel every day, sorting huge tables and managing with tons of data, then shortcuts will help you to reach the next five goals:

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        1. Work efficiently and faster in Excel
        2. Manage big amounts of data easily and fast
        3. Stay calm and concentrated even while doing a tedious job
        4. Make your work accurately and properly without errors
        5. Get a better understanding of Microsoft Excel

        Who can use Excel shortcuts?

        There are a lot of people who can simplify their life with Excel shortcuts, and here are the groups that will definitely love using them:

        • People who work in banks, finance organizations, etc.
        • Businessmen who make tons of various reports and presentations in Excel for meetings and briefings.
        • Students who usually are lazy and impatient to make their homework because they don’t want to waste a lot of time working in Excel.
        • Private entrepreneurs who keep various data in Excel tables.

        Whether you are a student who hates Excel because it seems a time-wasting and boring application, or you are an accountant who must recalculate huge worksheets every day without making errors, we recommend reading and learning these Excel shortcuts to make your work simpler and save some time.

        With these simple but useful tricks, it is so easy to finish your job and get more time for yourself.

        25 Excel shortcuts to increase your productivity

        Here are 25 great Excel shortcuts you should learn and use for work or studying to make your job faster and simpler. Try to use them all and you will realize you were totally blind before while working in Excel:

        1. Format whatever object fast with Ctrl+1

        If you select any object in Excel – a cell, a chart, a chart axis, a drawing object – then press Ctrl+1, and you will get the Properties dialog for the certain object. This shortcut offers a very quick and easy way to format whatever object you’re working with.

        2. Use range names with Ctrol+G or F5 key

        If you use range names (which we strongly recommend to do) and you want to choose the range with a specific name references, press either Ctrl+G or the F5 key, which launches the GoTo dialog.

        If the name is simple, you can click on it in a list in that dialog. But if it’s at all unusual, Excel won’t list it; so you will need to type in the name. Then press OK.

        3. Use a range name in a formula with =sum( and F3

        Suppose you want to use a range name in a formula. For example, you want to sum the Sales range. Enter…

        =sum(

        …and then press F3.

        When you do so, Excel launches the Paste Name dialog. Just choose “Sales” from the list, press the OK button in the dialog, then enter the SUM function’s closing “)” to complete the formula.

        4. Launch Function Arguments dialog easily with Ctrl+A

        Suppose you want to check the help topic for a worksheet function. For example, you want to read about the MATCH function. In a cell, type…

        =match(

        …and then press Ctrl+A, or click the Insert Function (“fx“) button to the left of the formula bar.

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        When you do so, Excel displays the Function Arguments dialog, which might offer all the help you need.

        But if you still want to see the complete help topic, click the blue “Help on this function” hyperlink in the lower-left corner of the dialog. This technique works with all documented Excel functions.

        5. Copy stuff down the column without scrolling with Ctrl+D

        If you added a formula in a new column on the right of a huge dataset, and you want to copy that formula down without scrolling, do these steps:

        • go to the right to the column that has data (the column to the left of the new column with the formula);
        • press Ctrl+Down – to get to bottom;
        • move one cell to the right (with arrow key naturally);
        • press Ctrl+Shift+Up to select the new column, at the top of which is the formula you just created;
        • press Ctrl+D to fill down the formula.

        6. Quick access to any function with Alt+

        By customizing the quick access toolbar, you can create simple shortcuts to commands that you would otherwise have to find in the Ribbon tabs, or macros you have created yourself.

        The keyboard shortcut is simply selecting Alt+ (the number of the command you wish to select).

        For example, if you have customized your quick access toolbar to have Calc Sheet, Save, Open. To calculate sheet you would hit Alt+1, for save Alt+2, and for open Alt+3.

        A lot of people are unaware of this useful function, and it’s a great time saver.

        7. Format cells with Ctrl+1

        When you need to format cells, use Ctrl+1. Most people know this as the shortcut for the Format Cells dialog, but you can also use it to format almost anything in Excel, without a care about the state of the ribbon. Try this amazing and simple shortcut!

        8. Choose visible cells with Alt+

        When you need to choose visible cells only – use Alt+. This is the trick to copy only what you see. It is a priceless shortcut when you’re manually hiding rows and columns in the table.

        9. Use filtering

        Filtering – it is a powerful way to slice, dice, and sort through a huge table of information.

        It’s amazingly effective when you’re participating in a meeting to discuss something like a sales forecast, and everyone is looking in real-time at your spreadsheet projected on a screen (or on their monitors).

        To some people, you will be seen as the God of Spreadsheets, and this is not a joke!

        10. Insert or delete column/row easily with the Ctrl key

        Some people waste a lot of time even for simple operations, for example, when they need to insert/delete columns and rows in Excel.

        Use this shortcut to insert: with an entire row or column selected, use Ctrl+Shift ++.

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        To delete: with an entire row or column selected, use Ctrl + –.

        11. See formula results with F9

        If you want to check formula results within multiple formulas, highlight the formula and select F9 to see formula result.

        Don’t forget to undo before exiting the formula.

        12. Use ALT+Enter for more text within a cell

        If you want to add a second line of text within a cell, use ALT+Enter.

        13. Use EDATE to move a date on by a full calendar month:

        Here’s how to use EDATE:

        =EDATE(15/01/16,+1) = 15/02/2016 (15th Feb 2016)

        =EDATE (15/01/2016,-2) = 15/11/2015 (15th Nov 2016)

        14. Use EOMONTH to move a date onto the end of the month:

        Here’s how to use EMONTH:

        =EOMONTH(15/01/2016,0) = 31/01/2016 (31st Jan 2106)

        =EOMONTH (15/01/2016,-2) = 30/11/2015 (30th Nov 2015)

        15. Remove spaces with TRIM

        TRIM is a useful function known by few people. It removes any spaces at the beginning of a value. This is useful if you are pulling in values from somewhere else.

        16. Repeat commands with F4 or Ctrl+Y

        In many cases, you may need to repeat your last action. Use F4 or Ctrl+Y; you can repeat many commands like applying the same borders, format, or insert a worksheet again.

        17. Quick access to cells with the Ctrl key and Shift key

        When you need to go to the first or last cell of a worksheet, no matter where you are, use Ctrl+Home, Ctrl+End combinations.

        And here is a pleasant bonus for you: add the Shift key to select everything on the way!

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        18. Use Ctrl+ to create a timestamp

        If you need a date stamp and/or a timestamp in your document, there is no need to type a date and time! Use shortcuts Ctrl+ ; (date) Ctrl+Shift+ : (time). It works like a magic and helps to save your time and nerves.

        19. Use autosum shortcut for sum function anywhere

        Autosum shortcut – use Alt =. It is a “magic” shortcut of Excel to automatically insert a sum function.

        You can use this shortcut to sum rows, columns, or even an entire table in one step without wasting your time.

        20. Use data validation

        This is an amazing but underutilized tool in Excel, which can be used for a variety of things:

        • Create dependent drop-down lists;
        • Create drop-down lists;
        • Protect/restrict data input of specific cells (without the need for VBA macros).

        21. Use conditional formatting

        It can be used for various purposes such as color format or cell format of cells, rows or columns based on dependent cell values or formats.

        22. Use formula auditing

        This is a great tool to analyze and trace precedent or dependent cells, check errors and evaluate formulas.

        The “Watch Window” is a feature to keep a snapshot of an area of the spreadsheet, and then move to another area of the workbook – particularly valuable if you’re managing large spreadsheets or don’t have a second screen.

        23. Use Scenario Manager to generate summary outputs of a spreadsheet

        Scenario Manager (under “What-if Analysis”) enables users to generate high-level, summary outputs of a spreadsheet – without the need to replicate the entire workbook.

        It will present multiple scenarios of a spreadsheet in a succinct, high-level summary worksheet.

        24. Use INDIRECT to set up large tables

        INDIRECT makes it easy to set up tables which reference larger tables without a lot of referencing work or cutting and pasting; especially for dynamic spreadsheets.

        25. Use OFFSET for complicated calculations or formulas

        OFFSET can be useful for things like calculating YTD numbers or creating formulas that take data in rows and using in columns.

        The bottom line

        As you can see, when you have a boring or tedious job to do, the best way to do it fast is not looking for a way how to avoid it, but searching for the shortest variant to do it!

        That is why we suggest keeping in mind these Excel shortcuts that will help you to save a lot of time and nerves.

        If it seems hard for you to remember all them, you can print out the list of shortcuts and keep it on your worktable. Use it to search for some help when you need it, and over time, you’ll remember all shortcuts easily.

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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