Have you ever heard that the best way to learn a foreign language is to live in the country where it is spoken? If you have, then you will understand the idea behind language immersion.
Language immersion refers to a method of language learning where an individual is surrounded by an environment where the target language is the dominant language spoken and used for communication. This typically involves living, studying, or working in an environment where the target language is predominantly used.
To create the right environment for language immersion to be possible, summer schools understandably have the upper hand over mainstream education. With such a limited amount of time, language teachers around the world face a big challenge in maximising the amount that their students can speak the target language in regular term time. The demands of language curriculums are rigid and full, as teachers cover essential skills to prepare students to succeed in exams.
Whether a student is part of a challenging class, or their favourite English-speaking tv series are dubbed, there can be obvious barriers to preventing more exposure to the language.
Language teachers work hard and creatively to simulate speaking situations for their students to practice, but nothing can substitute that same test of character as asking for help from a stranger, or sharing who you are with people you’d like to know, in a land that is not your own.
The benefits of immersion can reach far beyond language ability, as through being immersed in another language students are also being immersed in another culture, and as a result can broaden their ability to think critically and their ability to empathise.
The challenge of becoming bilingual is unique in that it also boosts cognitive development, through the constant challenge of having to think quickly, and summon new acquired knowledge. To meet the demands of this endeavour is a test of character, and a real test of a young person’s ability to embrace the unknown, which is why at Summer Boarding Courses our summer programmes are a fertile and nurturing environment to allow immersion to grow, in safe inspiring surroundings where young people can make English feel more like their own.
Why UK summer schools are ideal for language immersion
With students often coming from more than forty different countries, there is little wonder why summer schools are an incredible option to be immersed in English. Back home, the chances might be that you’re surrounded by classmates who share the same mother tongue, but at summer school, speaking English isn’t so much a rule, as it is a necessity to communicate, as sat around the corners of your desks could be students from four different corners of the world. Whether you’re attending a General English class or building your knowledge in a fascinating subject such as Archaeology, Medicine, or Psychology, there is a strong likelihood that your class could be as cosmopolitan as a UN summit.
Not having the safety net of your mother tongue may initially feel quite daunting, but with fascinating subject matter and always having an engaging reason to speak in English, there’s every chance that those nerves will quickly fade away.
Another compelling reason why summer schools are ideal for immersion, is that they are full of ritual and routine. For example, before summer school, you may not have asked for food in English at a canteen before, but after two weeks you’ll feel more than confident to order food at a restaurant or café.
You also may never have listened to a lecture, done a presentation, or worked in small groups whilst speaking and listening only in English, but after a fortnight of these tasks, what may have previously felt very challenging, will start to feel much more like second nature, making it perfect preparation for university and beyond.
The benefits of language immersion
Being part of a summer school can have immediate and long-term benefits for improving levels of English. In the short term, students have the chance to put into practice the different areas of the language they have been studying throughout the rest of the year, as well as acquiring new vocabulary to help them with their future studies.
Receptive skills such as listening and reading, which many students frequently tend to score lower at in exams, are tested in fun activities from everything from taking part in quizzes, museum guides, to scavenger hunts. From having to constantly have their successes measured by scores and grades, language learners in a nurturing summer school environment can practice the very same skills without fear of failure.
The long-term benefits of language immersion through summer school, have everything to do with confidence. How less challenging should an oral exam feel, if you’ve already flown to the other side of the world and socialised with new young people of the same age? And stood up in front of new classmates and shared findings from your group project?
Summer school can set a benchmark, in terms of reminding young people the brilliant things they can do when speaking another language. Through the power of positive summer school experiences, students can gain that added reassurance that English is theirs and can be part of their path to leading an extraordinary life.
Whereas mainstream education focusses more on theoretical aspects, summer school immerses and inspires learners through total edutainment and socialisation. What is the point of grammar and notepads filled with new words, if they’re rarely given real world application? Through group projects and interactive classroom activities and games, summer school gives learners a platform to show what they can do with the language knowledge they have, providing the perfect environment for students to be more courageous with the language, and to take it on to new levels.
As mentioned before, the benefits of language immersion reach far beyond your final grade. Being confident in another language can have a profound impact on each part of your life. Not only will it help you feel more like a seasoned traveller, a more confident and well-rounded person, but it will ultimately help you stand out in the crowd when it comes to meeting future employers.
Having the opportunity of total immersion, allows your language abilities to grow far beyond what is required learning at school, and a chance to feel truly fluent.
Why Summer Boarding Courses is an excellent choice for language immersion
With more than a decade’s experience as a summer school education provider, Summer Boarding Courses have welcomed more than 14,000 students from around the world from more than 152 different countries. With an outstanding record in receiving industry accolades and impeccable scores across all areas of performance, our record really does speak for itself.
But what makes Summer Boarding Courses stand out is that we are a closely knit team with a real passion for building learning communities, where students can experience total immersion in English with total comfort and ease.
As a family-orientated company with a passion for academia, languages and travel, we know exactly what it takes from a summer school environment to help students thrive, and it is this passion and cultural awareness which allows us to continually evolve and deliver the very best in the industry.
Through our belief in being part of a global learning community, at SBC across each of our campuses we create a platform in which cultures from all around the world can quickly make new friends and grow together in their chosen academic subjects.
All of our staff are carefully selected and trained to ensure they match our values. We purposely choose the friendliest and most capable staff who can immediately make young people feel at home. Many of our team come from a language-learning background, speak other languages and know exactly how challenging it can be in being in a new environment away from home.
Nothing helps language immersion more, than an academic and social programme that is a whirlwind of fun. After classes have ended each day, students have a dizzying array of activities to get excited by, which provides students with motivating reasons to interact and listen to one another. Just as many students may get totally immersed in speaking English whilst playing video games online, our activities programmes whether it’s a talent show, an arts and craft activity, a quiz, or a murder mystery provide students with total engagement where language usage is at the very heart.