Learning a language in the classroom versus immersion

Posted by
Michael Stein
22 Aug 2019

Learning a language in the classroom versus immersion

Studying a foreign language in a classroom environment is the first essential step when starting out on the road to learning a new language. Learning languages such as Spanish, French or German at school is standard across Ireland but there is also another way to learn a language – immersion through a study abroad programme. In this article, we discuss the differences between learning in a classroom environment at your school compared with learning through immersion with a study abroad programme at a language school in Spain, France or Germany.

Why learn in a classroom? 

Classroom language learning is a key part of language education. A classroom environment is a good way to start when learning the foundations of a language such as language structure and vocabulary. It gives students the opportunity to practice listening skills and speaking skills in a controlled environment with fellow students of the same level. It is a good way to build confidence ahead of being immersed.

Why learn through immersion?

Firstly, what do we mean by immersion? In the context of this article, immersion means going to a place where the language is spoken – living and studying there and being fully immersed in the local culture. With our programmes, students study French in FranceSpanish in Spain or German in Germany.

Immersion encourages students to carry out their day to day life communicating in the foreign language they are learning. So ordering in restaurants, asking for directions, talking to host families around the dinner table or even chatting to new international friends met at the language school. On all our programmes, speaking the language you are learning is encouraged at all times. Immersion exposes students to new words and vocabulary and forces them to use what they have learned even if it does sometimes take them out of their comfort zone.

Combining language classes and immersion

With our immersion study abroad programmes, we recognise that classroom-based and immersive learning are best carried out together. You’ve learnt the basics at your school and now it’s time to take your language skills to the next level.

All our courses include intensive time in the classroom at a top language school in SpainFrance or Germany. Students are encouraged to speak the language as much as possible, both in the classroom and outside the classroom when socialising with their new friends. Many of our programmes involve staying with a local host family which is a great way for students to converse in the language. There is plenty of free time and excursions for students to get out an about to see their destination and experience the local culture.

In conclusion, an immersive language study abroad experience will take what you’ve learnt so far in your classroom at school and improve on it. It will combine an intensive classroom environment at a top language school with plenty of opportunities to converse in the language in everyday situations.

Click here to see our full range of exciting study abroad courses that can be taken during TY or school holidays.


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