Why you need a Community to learn a Language: Your Guide
Languages strongly connect people from all over the globe. They give us the power to share our experiences, our history and our future. Learning a new language creates a new way of thinking and a different perception on how to see this world.Thus, it influences how we react in varying situations, the way we communicate to each other and how we live together in a community. Therefore, learning a language is part of a self-involving process in a community, and the best way to actually learn a new language is through a community. You are not sure what community-based learning means?
Have a look at the 6 benefits we‘ve collected from our students at Colombia Immersion.
» The social aspect: Connect with other students in your language school
1. A problem shared is a problem halved.
At the beginning, learning a new language may feel like a near-impossible task. It seems to be much easier to give up than to climb to the peak of the mountain. But, the good news is, you are never alone. Every rookie gets to this point and the best way to motivate yourself is by communicating with others that share these experience and feelings. Also, it’s not only good to know that you are not alone, but it is also helpful to just discuss it over a cold beer in a bar.
2. Find lifelong friends and travelmates
Humankind is a member of a pack and to be fair, don‘t we all prefer fun over work? To manage your studying efficiently and to cope with the ups and downs,the road to success is to uphold a proper work-life balance. That means to start your weekends and time-off with fun activities with other people. When you are learning a language while traveling in a country you will receive various opportunities for group activities, as well as the possibility to travel to further destinations together.
»On the weekends we always do an acitvity around Medellin together. Most of the time we visit the different national parks, neighbourhoods or Colombian communities. It’s great to have a community to share all the amazing memories with.«
3. Numerous opinions about how to really learn a language
Every individual has developed their own style of studying. Some may experience the advantage of subtitled Netflix to improve their understanding – and as a pleasant side effect – learn some swear words. Some may write endless vocabulary lists in their notepads. And others may just need to be motivated by the challenge of flirting in a foreign language over coffee. While every person has their own method of studying, all can benefit from sharing experiences and tips about experiences. Someone will always know which phone applications are best to use, which tandem and intercambio groups to attend, which newspapers to read or how often to repeat grammar and vocabulary. You already found the best strategy? Share your handy tips and gain some karma points!
» The cultural aspect: Connect with natives – Between teachers, local friends and host families
4. Bridge the gap between classroom and real world
Attending class every day, learning the rules of grammar and repeating important vocabulary is indispensable for studying a language. But yet, the real world is no classroom and people on the streets won’t repeat themselves more than a few times. Genuine slang and a fair speed doesn‘t make it easier. Use communication with locals as a tool and learn more than just basic grammar rules. After a while you will be able to imitate native speakers and integrate a respectable use of the taught language more rapidly. Furthermore, you will discover a new kind of humor, cultural values, specific characteristics and personalities. Always a good idea: Tandem partners, community acitivities offered by your school or a night out with friends in a typical local bar.
»Alejandro is my Spanish professor in class – when we go out together he is an amazing friend. On one of our trips we went to the village where he grew up and had a great evening. I talked to his family and childhood friends – claro, solo en español.«
5. Explore local culture up close
Being constantly confronted with the language enhances your studies. Therefore, the more integrative and less ´gringo´ your community, the better your results. If you decide to live with a host family you can make the most out of every day as it will introduce you to their daily acitivities and cultural habits. You will deal with unusual situations while they feed you with delicious local specialities and welcome you into the colourful cultural life of their neighbourhood. And the best part is: you will definitely find a second home on the other side of the world.
»I have a wonderful family at home and I am mother myself. Still, my Colombian guest family became my home in Colombia and we are having a wonderful time. For my birthday they waited with a big surprise party and a delicious cake – which took my mind away from the fact that its my first birthday without my kids and husband.«
6. And last but not least: An unforgettable experience
The ability to communicate beyond cultural borders is far more than just a tick on the bucket list or another skill on the CV. The process of sharing your learning experience with others will be a memory you’ll never forget. You will make new friends, hear interesting stories from people all over the world and share your own stories. No application, no computer and no book will ever give you the same feeling as a funny joke, deeply moving story or simply, a new friend on the other side of the world.
»We enjoy our time-off with spontaneuos activities in which everyone can participate. To laugh together and not aside is one of the most beautiful things we experienced in Medellin.«
Colombia Immersion provides the necessary foundation to learn Spanish along with the right amount of fun and efficiency. Our core philosophy is to involve you in a community to improve your learning experience and to make your stay unforgettable.