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Language immersion through fun activities

By Antonio Gabola through Unsplash

For many adults, learning another language represents a long and often difficult journey. This process will likely start off in a classroom setting where hours are spent trying to use the correct conjugations and cram long lists of vocabulary. 

This seems pretty unnatural when you compare it to how we learned our first languages. As children, how much effort did we really put into understanding grammar and picking up new words?  It was just that we were constantly immersed in a world where the language was all you would hear and use. Being surrounded by the language was enough to make us fluent speakers.

Then, as an adult, is immersion still helpful? And is there a way to master a foreign language the way we did when we were younger? 

The answer is yes; for adults, language immersion still offers benefits that cannot be found within a typical classroom. A way this can be done is by partaking in high intrinsic value activities.

We will tell you more about high intrinsic value activities, how to use these effectively to learn a language and the benefits of this learning method.

What are high intrinsic value activities? 

In short, an activity that brings forth a feeling of high value for you is a high intrinsic value activity. An example could be playing your favorite sport, spending the afternoon trying out baking new tasty recipes, or playing a fun board game with your friends. 

How will they help me learn a language? 

The way to learn a new language is to be presented with comprehensible input. This means you receive input from the target language you understand that is slightly above your own level. When a high intrinsic value activity is combined with receiving comprehensible input, it’s a great method for learning new information and skills, including a new language. 

For this to work, there are a few important factors to take into account:

A good practice environment

The environment for practice should ideally be a safe space where people allow each other to speak clearly and slowly. A place where you feel comfortable making mistakes will help with the learning process. This is precisely what Dutch Language Café offers, a low-stress environment where people have fun.

Making use of skills and techniques

During the activity, certain skills and techniques make the learning process easier. First off, remember to be creative when communicating. For example, when you can’t find the words to say something, find other ways of expressing yourself through sign language, drawing, or explaining the word itself. Then, try to avoid using your native language and make sure your conversational partner likewise doesn’t switch to another language. Also, don’t refrain from informing someone when there’s something you don’t understand. Simply ask if they can slow down a bit or repeat the sentence. Finally, yet importantly, stay confident, optimistic, and curious! 

Work with a coach

If possible, having a coach who can provide guidance and feedback is great for further improvement and staying motivated along the way. At Dutch Language Café, we offer a personalized coaching system for those that want to experience the ultimate benefits of language immersion. 

What are the biggest benefits?

Practicing speaking while doing activities that you would likely already do in your free time is a huge timesaver. It’s also effective; you learn more about the type of activity while also picking up the language. Moreover, probably the biggest benefit is its fun factor. High intrinsic value activities are something that you enjoy doing. You’ll associate this happy feeling with the language you learn, which will help you improve faster and stay motivated.

At Dutch Language Café, we take this method at heart. We promote learning Dutch by offering a relaxed environment where members can organize and attend their favorite activities. As a result, we are home to a community of happy and motivated people. 

Take a look at the upcoming activities at Dutch Language Café and register for a try-out!

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