Experts agree: Language immersion – living surrounded by people and experiences that encourage constant speaking and thinking in another language – is the most effective method of learning.

Immerse yourself like a local with HomeExchange

Immersion works wonders.

Said Jim Pickell, previous HomeExchange President and co-founder of online language school,

Language acquisition correlates directly to the hours that are spent immersed in that language, which is why my wife speaks to our children exclusively in her native Italian.

He also believes that equally meaningful for people, like so many HomeExchangers, are the amazing interactions that happen during the immersion process – one-on-one experiences in restaurants, shops, on the beach.

Yes, you can definitely gain by online or classroom reading. But actually doing it? That’s unbeatable!
Manel and Cristina on their home exchange in Vancouver

Manel and Cristina, a young blogger-couple from Barcelona, have embraced this idea wholeheartedly. In April 2016, they elected to go on a three-week home exchange in Vancouver, Canada, to improve their English skills through both academic training and cultural immersion.

Live like a local in Vancouver

We’ve been extremely lucky,” they wrote. “In addition to English classes, the neighbors of our exchange partners have been very kind with us. Every day, they recommended places to visit, and George (the neighbor) has become our teacher and guide. He’s shown us lots of things in the city, and joined us walking and even cycling!
Dianne sharing some pictures of her latest home exchanges

Author and award-winning freelance journalist Dianne Hales also approached her language adventures with the idea that:

Don’t just spend time wishing that you could speak the language, make it happen!
Anna learning english in Boston during her home exchange

"Make it happen" is what Anna from Barcelona did. She had been studying English for a long time, but was ready to put her knowledge into practice.

I saw the opportunity of home exchanging as a way to travel affordably and improve my English skills. So, I looked for an exchange anywhere within the United Kingdom or the United States, and after a few emails, I managed to organize two back-to-back exchanges in Boston for a month.
Two families who met in Chamonix during a home exchange

For the Bajeux and Baumann families who met during a non-simultaneous exchange in Chamonix, language immersion has been happily embraced. The families became such good friends that the two Bajeux daughters were welcomed to Wisconsin by the Baumanns, staying for several weeks to improve their English (and probably to compare French and Wisconsin cheeses, too!).

❝If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.❞
‒Nelson Mandela

Why make the effort to learn another language? Here are a few reasons:

  1. Avoid painful mistakes! For instance, in Italian, the word ‘latte’ means milk. In English, it’s a coffee drink. In German slang — um, you’ll need to look it up! And definitely don’t tell a Spanish speaker that you are ‘embarazada’ by your mistake – that means you are pregnant.
  2. What if you meet the person of your dreams in Rio? It would be fabulous to to tell him so in his own language (which would then truly be the language of love).
  3. When traveling, it isn’t always possible to find movies, live entertainment or even books in your language. So immerse yourself! There is nothing like listening to the opera Aida in its original Italian; seeing the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in Mandarin, or reading Baudelaire’s Fleurs du Mal in French.
  4. If you are in the Algarve in Portugal, release your fears of language and natural experiences, and just go for it! Toss your shirt in the air and, in your newly acquired Portuguese, say “Eu estou olhando para a praia de nudismo mais próximo, por favor.” You will almost certainly make friends.

It’s real life. Anything is possible. Get immersed. Discover HomeExchange.

Travel with HomeExchange