“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.Advertising
Listening to the stories of language learners, here are some powerful stories:
-“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.”
–“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.”
–“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.”Advertising
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:
-The newspaper (during breakfast or at work)
-Radio in the car
-Movies you watch (i.e. Netflix)
-Music you listen to
Now think of how you can change everything into the target language you want to learn.
-Change your smartphone language setting
-Watch movies on Netflix with foreign language audio and English subtitles
-Listen to podcasts in the foreign languageAdvertising
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.
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:
- 3 amazing things that happened today (and why)
- How could I have made today even better?
*Feel free to adjust the questions as you wish. No length limit.Advertising
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:
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
Last Updated on December 9, 2019
10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track in 2020
The success of our day is largely dependent on the quality of our planning. Not to miss out anything in their to-dos, some people prefer to make a list of upcoming tasks in a notebook, while others have long started using digital technology solutions.
Calendar applications are some of the main tools that are worth using to organize our life and plan your time carefully.
Many people have switched to specific tools; however, there are still some who do not use calendars on a daily basis. They may find some applications uncomfortable to use, non-functional, or expensive.
In this article, we are going to check out the best calendars apps to help you stay organized.
1. Cal Calendar
Cal Calendar has recently appeared on the market of mobile applications (Android, iOS). It is the brainchild of the development team of Any.do that features impressive functionality and well-thought-out design.
The application comes with many great features, including support for Exchange and Google Calendar, widgets, voice recording, and many more.
Cal Calendar has direct integration with Any.Do To-Do List, which gives you a unique tandem of two applications.
Apart from its extended functionality, Cal Calendar is easy to use. The creation of events is very simple and fast.
What is more, depending on the name of the event, the application automatically adds contacts and geolocation data to the entry description. You can even import your lists and entries from Any.do.
Cal Calendar is a great option for any type of user. It is very convenient and doesn’t overcomplicate the mode of display.
Another good thing is that this tool is available for free, so you can use it without spending a dime for the software.
2. Google Calendar
Google Calendar is the official calendar for Android devices that has been tested out by many users around the globe. If you are right now trying to get away from it, consider changing your mind.
Since this application is installed on most Android devices by default, many users think that there is nothing special in this program. They are wrong.
Google has been updating its calendar for quite a few years, and now it comes in Material Design with advanced event features, direct integration into other Google services (for example, supports reminders and Google Now), and comes with Exchange support.
The program is super easy and will not cost a dime for you. It is a good thing, right?
3. Jorte Calendar
Jorte Calendar is one of the most popular calendar applications in the Google Play store.
The program features a wide range of configuration options, with many design alternatives. You can adjust display mode to your needs and view calendar entries sorted by month, week, or day (by hours). It is convenient for quickly picking the desired date, using task bars, and setting reminders.
Apart from its ordinary information storing function, this application can be a special cloud service, Jorte Cloud, allowing you to synchronize calendars, schedules, and task lists on multiple devices. The application also supports data importing from Google Calendar.
For those paying attention to the program design, there is also Jorte Store, where you can buy styles and icons to personalize the calendar. This feature makes Jorte is one of the brightest calendar applications.
A basic version of the app is free of charge, so if you do not want to spend money on a calendar application, it is a good option.
4. Business Calendar
Business Calendar is geared towards people who use their calendar for work purposes and business task planning. It offers different modes with wide configuration capabilities.
The application gives a default view mode by months, and events can be marked in different colors. Display modes/ sorting can be adjusted to your needs (by month, day, year, or events).
You can also set a multi-day viewing mode to see how things look for the next few days. Scrolling up and down moves you by month, and if you check a few days, they will be shown in a more detailed form.
The day display mode offers hourly scheduling, and the schedule mode provides a detailed schedule for a single event.
Business Calendar is a great tool for planning/ scheduling cases, tasks, and events. There is a support for recurring events, which can be set up in just a few clicks.
Having purchased software, you can use it to import and export other calendars, delete, copy, or move several events at the same time.
Android Business Calendar application may seem somewhat chaotic, but it works fine and is easy to work with if you play with it for a while.
A full version of the application is available for $4.99, but you can also find a free version for the app test drive.
Calendar is a relatively new app. It works as a web app and for both iOS and Android devices. It is an intelligent app that learns your contacts, schedule and tasks. It also helps you schedule and arrange meetings according to your available time slots.
A good thing about Calendar is that it allows you to sync up with other calendars you use such as Apple Calendar and Google Calendar. And so you can manage all the calendars you have in one place.
Calendar also gives you analytics of your meetings, giving you a clear picture on how you can improve your time management.
aCalendar opens our collection of top 10 calendar applications available on the market today. With its appealing design, easy navigation, and great functionality, it is one of the most popular calendar apps in our list.
Some of extra functions include color schemes for each case type (48 colors to choose from), different types of demonstrations, different widgets, moon phases, and much more.
Taking into account it functionality, aCalendar is a reliable calendar application that has an easy-to-navigate interface with three display options. Scrolling from side to side allows you to switch between the display modes of the month, week and day.
When scrolling down and up, you are moving through the calendar at intervals in accordance with the selected display mode.
Apart from its time planning feature, aCalendar synchronizes photos from contact lists or social networks to remind you about birthdays, anniversaries, or any other special dates.
The program also supports data transfer through NFC and full-screen widgets, which eases your work with any data.
The program is available for free, but you can also get even more features if you buy the extended version of software for $4.99.
7. DigiCal Calendar
DigiCal Calendar is very similar to Cal Calendar in the fact that the application focuses on design more than on its functionality. However, this doesn’t mean that the application doesn’t serve the purpose.
With this calendar application, you can synchronize all your calendars and view them in different ways.
Along with the basic functions, this program comes with support for Google Calendar, Outlook, and includes some unique and interesting features. You can match keywords to the image or set up a dark theme.
The app can even show you the weather forecast for three days. There are many other features that deserve the attention of people who really like to use calendar applications.
SolCalendar can be called a universal application. It claims to be an all-in-one digital solution having a basic calendar functionality combined with some other advanced features, such as weather forecast for a specific day.
The application supports Google Calendar, as well as tasks, widgets, lunar calendar and even Foursquare.
Those searching for a calendar application to cover just everything in its functionality, SolCalendar is a program to consider. There are a lot of interesting things in this application; the program does an excellent job working in “all-in-one” mode.
Test SolCalendar – the application is available for free. You can test it out without purchasing the service.
9. Today Calendar
Today Calendar is one of the most hip and edgy calendars in our list. The solution was one of the first ones that really embraced Material Design and remains one of the few that adhere to the neat style.
The calendar application offers bold colors, simple controls, and great functionality. This is not as heavy an application as many others; it will not eat all the memory of your device.
If you are not searching for something complicated and over-functional, Today Calendar is what you need. You can always test the application before paying for it – the program is available for free.
10. Calendar Widget: Month
Sometimes people do not need a heap of calendar applications. They would prefer to have one efficient calendar widget.
Calendar Widget: Month perfectly fills this niche and meets all the needs of a modern user. It has some features of an ordinary calendar, but the real great thing about this software is that it has 80 or more themes in its library.
The design of the application is great; the themes are perfectly tuned. There are options for almost any theme of your smartphone. The only drawback is the fact that the widget memory is not too large, and you should be ready for it.
This simple calendar widget was created in the image and semblance of widgets from Yahoo. The widget window displays one calendar month with the ability to go to the previous and move to the next one.
If you need a simple and affordable calendar to plan your tasks and affairs for one month, this widget is ideal for you. Calendar Widget: Month is so simple that it does not even have Google Calendar support.
At the moment, it does not have the function of connecting any third-party calendars and services. Developers allow the possibility of introducing support for Google service as an addition to the widget, if users request to have this opportunity.
Searching for the right application to manage your various calendars and plan your busy day can sometimes turn into a streak of obstacles.
Most of us need flexible applications that can be easily used to manage our tough schedule. The application should have all necessary time planning functions and be intuitive.
Stylish design and limitless compatibility also matter. It is not always easy to find such a program.
The above digital calendar solutions fall under the category “worth” of being used. They are modern, multifunctional, easy, and easy. Pick the one you like!
More Productivity Apps
- 40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone
- 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools
- 24 Best Habit Tracking Apps
Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com