How an Immersive Mindset Changed the Way I Learn Language

Even living in a different country, you can lack an immersive mindset

My feet slapped down on the wet cobblestone Hauptstrasse, carrying me into downtown Heidelberg. The old castle on the hill loomed higher behind me and the turbid Neckar river rippled beside me, flowing with me toward breakfast. My heart fluttered with a nervous excitement. It was my first day abroad, and I was elated to be in this magical old town and to try out my German. When I made it to the middle of town, the air was crisp and I could see my breath as I opened the door to a little corner cafe.

The door jingled and then slammed shut behind me. I reached the counter, puffed out my chest and boasted “Guten Morgen!” in my best German accent. Without hesitation the barista replied “Good morning sir, what can I get for you?”

A little taken aback by her perfect English, yet not dissuaded, I countered, “Ich Mochte ein croissant und ein cappuccino bitte.” Again, acting as if she didn’t hear me say anything in German, the English words stabbed, “Which croissant would you like? Plain? Chocolate?”

I walked out with a light, flaky pastry and a heavy heart. Why wouldn’t she use German with me? Was my pronunciation that awful? Did I look that out of place?

Bottom line is that after a few more English replies, I gave up on my German. I studied just enough to pass my quizzes, and when I left the classrooms I relied completely on my English. The immersive mindset was lacking.

In Beirut I was determined to have an immersive mindset

Three years later I find myself sitting in a vibrant cafe in the heart of Beirut, Lebanon. Many people are flowing in and out of its big stone arched entrance. The hustle and bustle coupled with the thumping percussion and dramatic, unfamiliar melodies from the band playing in the corner make it seem as if the whole cafe is dancing. Puffs of smoke spout up rhythmically from table to table; cards slapping down, backgammon dice rolling, laughing, eating, drinking.

I have not been long in Beirut, and to my astonishment I hear Arabic floating out of my mouth like the smoke floating from the shisha pipes around the cafe. Now the words may be imperfect, and certainly not as poetic as the lyrics of the band playing behind me, but they come with greater ease and I am getting my essential point across.

When my mind drifts back to Germany I wonder, “How have I learned this much Arabic in this short a time, when I could never get the hang of German after living there for a year?

An immersive mindset can make all the difference in your language acquisition journey

Learning a language is really difficult. But you can’t let that stop you. I learned so much Arabic by immersing myself in it and fighting for it, but you need to go about it with an immersive mindset. The amazing thing about that is, you can have an immersive mindset anywhere, you just need the technology to bring you the immersive experience!

Our software brings immersive experiences like mine to people around the world through virtual reality. To learn more about Immerse, and how it can transform your language school, or set your employees up for communicative success, go to this link to schedule a demo!

Posted on

October 4, 2018


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