Whether it’s already in the works or still just a dream, a total immersion program is an excellent way to learn English. In case this concept is new to you, total immersion usually involves going to and staying in an English speaking country for a set period of time. There are a few important things to consider before doing so.

Watch a lot of TV and listen to the radio/podcasts/etc.

English in class is much different from English in real life. By increasing your listening of more natural situations, you will get a better feel of what you will soon experience.

Get your finances and paperwork in order.

Passport? Check. Visa? Check. Plane tickets? Check. There’s quite a big checklist when you move abroad temporarily. Make sure you have it all covered. If your program and schooling is already paid for, don’t forget to bring money for living expenses and pocket money for souvenirs. A big mistake many students make is thinking things cost the same in the place they are headed to.

Prepare yourself for culture shock.

Going to a different country on vacation is one thing. Going to live is another. More likely than not, it will be very different from what you are used to. The lifestyle and culture, no matter how much you read or watch TV, is going to be strange and exciting. It also might be shocking and hard to deal with at times. Mentally prepare yourself for both reactions.

Take full advantage of the opportunity!

You are going to learn, and learn you should! But this is also an opportunity to experience a different place and culture. Make up your mind to meet as many people as you can, go out as much as you can, and eat and speak your way through your time. Enjoy it, and know that it is a unique situation that you need to take full advantage of.

About the Author

Yvette Smith is an English teacher currently in Vietnam. She has taught in China and Mexico as well. She enjoys writing about the ESL field and thinks everyone should take the chance to travel abroad at least once in their lives.

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