I remember the first time I did a full immersion course abroad. I was so excited. I spent 3 weeks in Valencia learning Spanish and it was one of the best three weeks of my life. I grew in confidence and motivation, I was actually speaking in Spanish. I went out to bars, I socialised with classmates from all over the world, and I made myself a promise: I would continue studying Spanish when I got back to England. I bought myself a grammar book and I promised I would email my classmates in Spanish. I was motivated, I was ready to continue my learning journey beyond my full immersion course.
The reality, however, was that after a week or two my motivation began to drop and my grammar book remained on my shelf staring at me every time I entered the room. It was a clear sign of my own guilt…I had broken my promise.
Every year, I return to Valencia for another 2-week Spanish course and each time I promise myself that this time will be different, that this time I will continue my learning journey after I leave…I never do.
But why did I break my promise? Why do I continue to do so? Well, I’ve reflected on that many times and my answer is because I could never recreate that feeling of being immersed in the language, of being in a classroom with students from around the world and needing to rely on a single shared language to communicate. When I did join a class in my country, we all shared the same language and that need to learn something new in order to communicate just wasn’t there. I could so easily rely on my first language and frustratingly I always did.
I’ll bet there are many EC students who have felt this way over the years with their own English language studies. But things are changing, since 2020, EC has created an entirely Virtual Reality English school. With EC Virtual, you can join students from around the world from your laptop. Hundreds of students have joined our live online English courses with new arrivals each week. In January 2022, EC launched Simmula, the first entirely VR English school and students will have the opportunity to socialise and study in a completely virtual environment.
With these new additions, the options change for the language learner. In this new world, I could go on my fully immersive trip to Valencia and then return home and sign up to a VR school where I continue learning in an international environment a few nights a week; where I can meet other learners from around the world to play virtual golf and practise our shared language. I no longer need to feel guilt because of my dusty grammar book staring accusingly from the shelf because now, I can continue to learn, practise and progress; continue to immerse myself in the language from the comfort of my own home…until I’m ready to try full immersion again. It’s a brave new language-learning world.